Memorable | One of the Best
Review by: Maggie Rosenberg & Trevor Hagstrom
New Jersey takes great pride in diners, so it’s an honor to be considered one of the best in the state. Some diner aficionados consider Mustache Bill’s of Barnegat Light the very best. The James Beard Foundation declared it an American classic.
It’s a long drive to the North end of Long Beach Island, but it’s a righteous pilgrimage for any serious diner lover. Those already living in this upscale fishing town seem to know how good they have it, too; the diner stays full from open till close.
It is named for Bill Smith, a mustachioed gentleman who took over the old diner decades ago. Bill is known for an obsession with quality and for artistic flourishes like making doodles out of pancakes for regular customers. His menu spans the gamut of diner classics plus a few extra fish dishes thrown in, reflecting the location.
The diner is particularly well regarded for pancakes and omelet breakfasts. These aren’t fancy meals. They are soulful diner cookery made with reasonably good ingredients.
The menu’s lead omelet comes overstuffed with blue crab meat, fresh mushrooms and Swiss cheese. Its eggs are tortilla-thin but with fluffy ends: a perfectly executed omelet.
Pancakes are fluffy with a good rise and just the right level of sugar. For those who want protein with their ‘cakes, Bill will make a “cyclops,” which features a fried egg in the middle of a flapjack. He even is known for sometimes creating pancake portraits using squeeze bottles full of batter.
For a taste of the lunch menu, we decided to challenge Bill’s diner supremacy by ordering a dish that almost every diner does poorly: salad. The grilled chicken salad comes in a oversized bowl with tender slices of freshly grilled marinated chicken on top. The greens are fresh and crisp. The vegetables are local, including vine-ripened Jersey tomatoes. If Mustache Bill’s can do a diner salad well, chances are it can do most everything right.
We couldn’t leave without trying the tempting thin fries that seemed to be on every table in the place. They are not perfectly crispy fries. Rather, they are long, soft oily shoestrings fried to a pale brown.
Directions & Hours
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesday: Closed
- Wednesday: Closed
- Thursday: Closed
- Friday: 6:00 AM – 3:00 PM
- Saturday: 6:00 AM – 3:00 PM
- Sunday: 6:00 AM – 3:00 PM
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch|
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|