Glad to hear the diner is continuing a culinary tradition at this location.
It's the University Diner on North Avenue right next to Kean University. Very good diner food including their matzoh ball soup.
The diner (physically in Union, not Elizabeth, even though most folks think it's in Elizabeth) is built the site of the old Townley's Restaurant, an old fashioned restaurant. When I went there as a kid, and until it was demolished, it was owned by Al Zimmerman (I went to school with his son, Bobby). A guy named Irv was his expediter in the kitchen. Basic "full service" restaurant meals, and a cocktail lounge where one of the county judges imbibed every night. A 'nice' place for quiet drunks. Food wasn't bad, given the times (1950s-early 60s). The only reason I knew all this is because my Dad operated a refrigeration service business, and Townley's was one of his many commercial customers; many a time I lugged my Dad's tools and gas tanks to the basement to fix one of Al's units.
It's at Townley's that I learned about some new foods, like shrimp. I saw it on the menu and wanted to taste it, so the waiter (George, OMG I remember his name!) brought me one tiny fried shrimp on a huge otherwise unadorned steak platter.
I attended many a reception or Sweet Sixteen at Townley's. (They catered my Bar Mitzvah; I think we paid for it in trade.)
Around the corner from Townley's, on Morris Avenue heading into downtown Elizabeth, was a brown-and-cream Army surplus bus outfitted as a donut shop. They made the best donuts I've ever had (childhood tastes are difficult to overcome). Only two varieties: plain and sugared. Really fatty deep fried cake donuts; had to have been done in lard. Whenever we went there, my parents who send one of us to get the donuts, because the baker always gave the kid an extra donut. I think the "donut man" survived into the 1970s.
I remember Kartzman's on, I believe, Mill Road in Irvington just over the line from Union. I went there as a kid occasionally -- you took a ticket and went to the counter, just like at Katz's. Lots of salamis hanging from the ceiling. I continued to go there during the early 70s, when i worked as a young reporter at the Union Leader nearby. One of my colleagues loved their roast turkey legs. Although I don't remember this, I think Kartzman's was located on Lyons Ave. in Newark before moving to Irvington.
Edited by rlibkind, 02 March 2004 - 09:15 PM.