We have seen the Blue Benn referred to as a “gourmet diner”; but Roadfood die-hards need not worry. This is not the sort of reborn streamliner in which an ambitious chef recasts the image as a retro-chic eatery serving New American cuisine. An original Silk City diner manufactured in the 1940s and planted on its current site along Route 7 in 1949, the Blue Benn remains a true-blue hash house.
Yes, you can eat all sorts of interesting (and very good) dishes that are not expected fare in a stereotypical diner, from Syrian roll-ups to vegetarian enchiladas. But the traditional diner food is what we like: pot roast, turkey dinner, meat loaf and mashed potatoes. And, of course, breakfast, which is served all day.
The Blue Benn seems always overpopulated with customers; and its walls are plastered with a virtual confetti of hundreds of signs listing arcane and modern specials from creamed chipped beef on toast to soya sausage. The commotion is presided over by a team of waitresses whose dexterous repartee cheers on customers to greet the day. It’s hypnotic to watch the coffee-pot-armed professionals maneuver the confines behind the counter and among the short line of wooden booths of the creaky old monitor-roof diner.
And oh, what a joy it is to ease a fork into a steamy slice of corn bread French toast or a stack of crunchberry pancakes with turkey hash on the side. And don’t tell anyone, but we love to greet the sun with Blue Benn Indian pudding, a primordial cornmeal and molasses samp that is, technically speaking, dessert … but makes a salubrious morning cereal when served warm and dolloped with cream instead of ice cream.
While the counter is a classic, music-lovers might want to choose a jukebox-outfitted booth where the song selection ranges from country classics (Patsy Cline) to the theme from Sesame Street.