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Harley Dawn Diner is a sustainable stop for any road trip

L C

  • Food & Drink

If you ever find yourself a little peckish near where Routes 73 and 322 come together, have I got a great place to stop. 

The Harley Dawn Diner in Folsom offers a huge menu of diner staples coupled with an upscale flare, pleasant service, full bar and a focus on local sustainability.

It’s pretty tough competition being in the diner biz in Jersey. Dubbed the diner capital of the world, the state boasts more diners per capita than anywhere else in the nation.

By the way, if you’ve ever wondered why that is, there’s many reasons. 

We have our share of highways that have lots of hungry travelers that don’t want to vere too far off the path for sustenance. Jersey sits on the well-traveled route between New York and Philadelphia. Not to mention the fact that in the 20th century, New Jersey was also the diner manufacturing capital of the world. Suffice to say, we quickly cornered the market on dining on the corner.

Amidst the clamor of 500 or so other diners in the state, it’s important to stand out. The crispness of the fries or and the freshness of the coffee are usually more important to the proprietor than the environmental impact of the place.

Not only does Harley Dawn pride itself on its freshly prepared meals, but also on its sustainability. With the aid of their geothermal system, solar panels and an aquafer tap, HDD does, among other earthy things, produce all their own electricity.

But enough about electricity. Because the Harley Dawn (named after the owner’s daughter) is really cookin’ with gas! This family-owned, airy oasis is perfect for quick bite or big family dinner.

As soon you walk in the door, you know you are in for something different. 

It’s not your usual diner. With modern design, minimalist décor and an earth-toned pallet, you won’t be seeing any red vinyl counter stools or checkered floors here.


We were greeted promptly by a server smartly dressed in black from head to toe. I like to sit at the table by the glass fire element by the window. Shortly after being seated, he brought us a basket of complementary pumpkin bread and butter.

We opted to start with the Three-Bean Chili. It came out in a cast-iron skillet topped with cheese and jalapeño slices accompanied by cornbread. 

 


The chili had a deep, rich, layered flavor and quite a kick. It may have been left under the salamander a speck too long making the top dry. It was a very healthy portion that was pleasantly plated. Definitely try it.

I am a huge fan of cornbread. But our serving was oily like it had been deep fried. It tasted good. But after the yummy pumpkin bread, this side was a lackluster second act.

For our main dishes, we had the Mango Chicken Wrap and The Goat Cheese Chicken Wrap. 

Now wraps are offered at most, if not all diners. But can you name another that gives you the option to substitute your side of fries with ancient grain quinoa? 


This was a very nice wrap. Everything tasted fresh and the mango salsa was very tasty. In case you were wondering, we stuck with the fries. They were good too.

The salad was very flavorful and fresh. I enjoyed the combination of spinach, bacon, berries, nuts and goat cheese. It is something that I would definitely order again over the summer when you want a light meal.


Of course, Harley Dawn has the usual diner suspects on the menu like waffles, meatloaf, burgers and turkey clubs. Breakfast is served all day. Everything is homemade and you can taste the love.

They have a selection of homemade desserts and ice cream. You can buy local wine by the bottle or the glass. There’s also a spirited cocktail menu for your enjoyment.

I haven’t had a bad meal here. I’m confident you won’t either. 

The food and service is top notch. Plus, you will find both the food and drinks to be reasonably priced.

If you are tired of the same old eggs over easy, you need a stop between A.C. and Philly, or you want to support a sustainable local business, try the Harley Dawn Diner.

author

Michelle Tomko

Michelle Tomko is a classically trained performer with a bachelor in fine arts, a five-time winner of Atlantic City Weekly’s Nightlife Award for “Best Comedian,” a North to Shore grantee and a Stories of Atlantic City Arts fellow. She is also an accomplished home chef with years of restaurant, catering, bartending, wine and cocktail experience.

Sunday, June 16, 2024
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