Friday, May 8, 2009

Bring Your Appetite to the University Diner in Union

By Millicent K. Brody

To-die-for chicken soup with matzoh balls. Spinach pie filled with feta cheese layered with crispy phyllo dough. A freshly tossed Greek salad with grape leaves, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, onions, lettuce, and calamata olives. Sole Francaise done with a light lemon-butter sauce. These are just some of my favorite dishes at University Diner in Union.

University Diner is owned by George Makras and his brother, chef Peter Makras. The brothers have been in the diner business for over twenty-nine years. Because of the popularity of their matzoh balls, the place is frequently touted as the “Matzoh Ball Diner”. The diner is also known for its hot turkey sandwich with gravy, homemade mashed potatoes or French fries, and cranberry sauce.

Aside from locals who visit on a regular basis, the University Diner is home to regulars who come from as far as Staten Island, Connecticut, and the Jersey Shore.

“Our retirees always return for our matzoh ball soup, and one of our best selling dishes, our lemon chicken,” says George Makras.

“Our lunch specials are extremely popular,” adds Greg Makras his son. “Selections include a half sandwich of white meat chicken salad, tuna, or egg salad, or grilled cheese, each arrive with a cup of house made soup. You may order Yankee bean, lentil, beef barley, minestrone, pea, and of course, matzoh ball soup.” ($4.95/cup).

If your tastes run more towards sandwiches, the diner also offers more than twenty different wraps and paninis for $8.95. The sandwiches all come with a cup of soup, drink, and dessert.

Of course, they also serve breakfast. Along with specialty omelets, steak and eggs, Belgian waffles, and pancakes, the breakfast special includes juice, 2 eggs with bacon, sausage, or Taylor ham, coffee, and toast for only $5.95.

Don’t leave without ordering dessert. My favorite is their house-made cherry pie with delicious vanilla ice cream. Folks also love their rice pudding. I’ve seen customers pour at least 6 or seven small creamers on top of their rice pudding, which always arrives with whipped cream. If that doesn’t do it, then order the bread pudding, which also arrives doused with whipped cream.

Although you’ll probably go home with more than enough food to feed a neighborhood of doggies, the average dinner bill for two is no more than $23.00, (not including tax or tip). In these times, that’s a deal that’s hard to pass up!

University Diner
580 North Ave., Union
FYI: Major credit cards accepted. Gift certificates available

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