Crystal or Parkside — which diner is better?

If you’re from New Jersey, chances are you have a diner. Anyone that heralds from this amazing state can give an answer to the famous question, “What’s your diner?” While in South Jersey, I live closest to the Starview Diner but prefer the Philly Diner.

College and high school students gather in diners across the state to catch up with friends, hang out over a cheap cup of coffee or to nurse a hangover. Without 24-hour diners, where would we be?

College students in Ewing have two main choices – the Crystal Diner and Parkside Diner. Each is conveniently located near the College; Parkside is located on North Olden Avenue in Ewing and Crystal is located on Brunswick Avenue in Lawrenceville.

Parkside Diner

Parkside Diner’s charm is in its greasy fries. If you like the maximum amount of grease in your diner food, you’ll love Parkside’s blend of grease – and sometimes there is even some food in there. Parkside’s prices are consistently cheaper than the Crystal Diner’s and their servings are just as large.

The waitstaff at Parkside is generally kind but a little gossipy. The last time I was at Parkside, I got the inside scoop on the drama between the waitresses.

Parkside’s menu offers a vast amount of diner favorites at great prices, including the Reuben, a large selection of omelettes, grilled cheese, chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks. Another side of Parkside Diner’s charm is the interior’s old school style stool seating and a register with numbers that roll.

Crystal Diner

The Crystal Diner has a small disadvantage in that it is perhaps five minutes farther from the College than Parkside. However, this diner experience is worth the trip.

Established in 1987, this historic building draws in patrons with its shell-covered fountain and wonderful waiting staff.

If you ever do go to Crystal Diner, make sure you sit in the smoking section and ask for Najma because she is one of the best waitresses in the history of diners.

For the coffee lovers out there, Crystal Diner’s coffee is more addictive than crack. You go in with the intention of not having any coffee because it’s 2 a.m. and you end up leaving with three cups in the belly.

Another diner staple that Crystal creates with near perfection is its eggs. Any way that you want them, they’ll make them and even give you some toast and home fries on the side for the perfect meal.

Crystal’s location is larger, offering more space and making it seem less crowded than the narrow Parkside Diner.

“I feel that the service as well as the surroundings provide for a better eating experience at Crystal Diner,” Meghan Dismuke, an advertising design major at the Fashion Institute of Technology, said. “Also, Crystal Diner doesn’t have anyone working there with a coke nail like Parkside does.”

“Parkside’s food is really greasy,” Dismuke added. “If you’re wasted at 3 a.m., Parkside’s food is really good but at any other time, Parkside’s food tastes like ass.”


Parkside’s prices are overall more reasonable than Crystal’s but Crystal’s meals give you more for your money.