Restaurant Review: Mastoris Diner

New Jersey is known for a few things: the shore, Bruce Springstein, highways, and its diners.

When I tell people I’m from Bordentown most draw a blank until I specify that it’s near N.A.D.E. (the huge auto action lot off of 206) or Mastoris Diner. Upon the mention of Mastoris the first response I usually get is, “I love their cheese bread!” A fairly reasonable response since the cheese bread is Mastoris’ crown jewel on top of a dinner menu that boasts almost 100 different sandwich choices among a whole slew of other entrees, sides, drinks, and desserts.

First things first: the appearance

When I entered Mastoris on my most recent visit it almost felt like I stepped into a time machine back to the ’80s.

            

The drapes around the windows as well as the hanging light fixtures scream out loud with their kitschiness and tacky aesthetic. The waitresses’ uniforms are certainly reminiscent of the 1980s version of the “female power suit” for the woman in the business world who wants to be taken seriously. However grotesque the aesthetic might be it’s something I’ve come to expect in most diners around the central NJ area. In fact, if the decor didn’t make me nauseas and my waitress didn’t sound like she smoked a pack a day I think my dining experience would be severely altered.

A gigantic marlin oddly adorns the wood lodge themed room.

The pre-meal bread

The cheese bread is amazing. Along with the cheese bread comes the equally delicious cinnamon bread. Both were warm and stuffed full of the contents that make them so tasty. My only complaint about the bread is that there were three of us eating it and only two pieces, one of each flavor, came out. A handful of months ago when I ate at the diner they sent out a huge plateful of bread. They appear to have cut back on how much they give out to their customers.

Cheese and cinnamon bread.

The sides

With my sandwich came a side of fries, coleslaw and a pickle. I’m a sucker for pickles and this one was nice and crunchy. The fries were unsalted and very soft. I prefer my fries to be skinny, fried to a crisp, and extra salty. As for the coleslaw – it left a lot to be desired. Coleslaw is a tough side to perfect. Everyone has their own twist on it and I’m a either “love it” or “hate it” person when it comes to coleslaw and I, unfortunately, hated it. It was too sweet and too watery.

   

The sandwich

I ordered the number 24, “let’s talk turkey”: a sandwich with carved turkey breast, swiss cheese, bacon, coleslaw, and thousand island dressing on white bread that’s been fried in butter.

Despite my distaste for the coleslaw on its own, it blends really well into the sandwich. The sandwich itself is massively layered with turkey. Everything comes together and the hint of bacon is what really makes it delicious. Obviously, this sandwich isn’t for those trying to watch their weight. I took half of it home to eat the next day and it was somehow even better cold.

The dessert

Upon entering and leaving Mastoris, you have to walk through the pastry shop. It’s essentially the Willy Wonka Factory of baked goods – from Snickers flavored cupcakes, to black and white cookies, to cheesecake and everything in between, it has anything someone with a sweet tooth is looking for. This time around I didn’t get anything because of the immense guilt I had over my dinner but I would highly recommend their eclairs.

   

Mastoris is what I’d consider the quintessential Jersey diner. I’d recommend it just for the typical diner experience as well as the cheese bread, the menu that has options for everyone, and the desserts.

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Farnsworth Avenue is astir as thousands gather for the annual Bordentown Cranberry Festival

Farnsworth Avenue, the main road that runs through Bordentown City, has been blocked off completely as thousands of people gather in the streets to sample the crafts and food the annual Ocean Spray Cranberry Festival vendors have to offer.

Cranberry Festival entrance

“It’s [The Cranberry Festival] one of the only juried crafts shows in New Jersey,” explained April Sette, head of public relations for Downtown Bordentown, “and by that each of these artisans have to submit in their pieces and pictures and they have to be approved by a board in order to participate.”

Sun River Arts, maker of women’s jewelry

“If you walk down you’ll see everything’s handmade. We do food, we do Jersey fresh wines, and the crafts are all handmade,” said Sette.

Bordentown Guitar Rescue displays a variety of handmade or repaired guitars by luthier Micheal Virok.

The items that line Farnsworth Avenue being sold by vendors range from jewelry, to clothes, to wines, to homemade sauces and soaps, to country style home decor, to baked treats for pets, as well as a wide variety of other merchandise that appeal to anyone who is interested in unique handmade items.

Woodchuck Wood Designs’ wine holders are designed to ergonomically stand when balanced with a wine bottle.

For those not interested in shopping the festival also offers plenty of options for food as well as a corner for kids where they can make crafts, get their faces painted, or take a pony ride. Charities also line the street in the hopes to fund their programs such as adoptions through Bordentown City Cats and the Spc. Benjamin G. Moore Education Scholarship that helps raise money for those graduating high school who wish to become firefighters or EMTs.

Spc. Benjamin Moore Education Scholarship fundraising tent.

A car show can be seen on the way into the festival as well and live music can be heard playing throughout the day.

Antique cars line up for those interested in their outsides as well as what’s under their hoods.

Jackie Reed and Patti Desantis have lived in Bordentown their whole lives and are the two women responsible for organizing the Cranberry Festival. Reed has been integral to the planning of the event since its beginnings 23 years ago.

“Three of us ladies that had businesses here were sitting in one of our friend’s homes drinking wine and trying to figure out how we could get more people to come to Bordentown to shop,” said Reed, “and since Ocean Spray was the biggest business here everybody wanted to emulate them.”

Ocean Spray had been, up until recently, located in Bordentown City but with its recent upheaval and relocation many questioned whether or not the festival would continue.

“Absolutely,” said Desantis, “there will still be a Cranberry Festival.”

The Cranberry Festival continues tomorrow from 11am to 5pm.