Somehow, whenever talk occurs over Diners, folks always mention THE RITZ in Livingston. Finding ourselves on Mt. Pleasant Ave., one early Thursday morning, we stopped in for breakfast. WOW!
You have to believe, The Ritz Diner Rocks. Merely check-out the parking lot. By 9 a.m. on a Thursday morning, visitors are forced to scrounge around for a parking space. Once inside, it’s not that easy. Quite frankly, where do you look first? Sure there’s a counter filled with folks having breakfast, but there’s also a huge bakery area which is chock full of chocolate and raisin Babkas, Danish Pastry, Rugalach, cookies, pies, Cheese Cake, Canolis and who knows what else? And as you’re being led to a table, you’ll not be able to resist checking-out plates filled with giant-size slabs of homestyle-thick, French toast, ($6.10), homemade Blintzes, in flavors of cheese with a soufflé of blueberry and sour cream, and an unbelievable German Apple Pancake, ($9.85)
And yes, you’re welcome to try their eggs, any style. Having been privy to breakfast in a variety of places including South Florida, you’re not exactly getting the “Daily Special” at the Ritz. It’s more like the Super Daily Special, and you’re surely able to tell the difference.
I asked proprietor George Mazzucco of Clark, who owns The Ritz Diner with Marion Feldman of Livingston, what makes their breakfast really special, and he replied, “Whatever we serve at The Ritz, is the best quality. Our eggs are extra large, and our coffee is delicious.”
Once known as a Bagel Man, folks hailing from Newark, New Jersey, (in the so-called “Olden days”), might recognize George, for he was a fixture at Watson Bagel Factory located on Clinton Place.
“I was responsible for all the baking, and in fact opened all of their bakeries,” he said. “Long about thirty-five years ago, my partner Marion Feldman and I passed a diner on Mount Pleasant Avenue, and decided we should own it. Together we bought the former Heritage Diner...changed the name to The RITZ, and worked hard to become a fixture in the community."
I’ve come to believe that many of their patrons are known as “regulars” who camp out for breakfast, lunch, late afternoon snacks, dinner, late evening coffee-and, and a really early morning “Cup of Joe”. The Ritz is always known for fresh seafood, and salads, particularly, Marian’s Chopped Salad, served with sesame chicken, portobello mushroom, fresh mozzarella cheese, cucumbers, carrots, sliced almonds, with a choice of dressing, (Lunch, $9.90; Dinner: $15.40.), Tuna, Chicken, and Chunky Shrimp Salad Sandwiches are equally as popular. Patrons are also welcome to order triple decker Club Sandwiches featuring turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato, ($9.30) or a hot open-faced roast beef sandwich with gravy and French fries, ($11.95)... or believe it or not, a Deli Sandwich packed with corned beef, chopped liver, cole slaw, and Russian dressing, ($9.15)
Offering a variety of Daily Specials, General Manager David Feldman says, “All of our seafood is fresh and delivered six days a week." And seafood is one of the specialties of Chef Librado Pavia.
“Folks love our Poached Salmon Scampi over sautéed spinach, ($17.95), and our Jumbo Crab Cakes filled with baked crab meat in a tomato basil sauce over Angel Hair pasta,” he said. ($16.95). “They also can’t live without our Pasta-less, Homemade Vegetable Lasagna,” ($14.50).
Desserts are huge and prepared in house. You’ll love the Country Apple Pie, ($2.95), Sugar free Cheesecake, ($3.75), Chocolate Babka, ($3.25 (a hunk), and of course the famous Blackout Cake, ($3.10).
For sure, you’re bound to meet someone there you haven’t seen for ages. I always do...and that’s what beckons me back to The Ritz Diner.
What: The Ritz Diner, 72 East Mount Pleasant Ave., Livingston, New Jersey
Hours: 6 a.m. to midnight, Monday to Thursday; 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday to Sunday
FYI:Major credit cards accepted. BYOB. Casual dress. Parking on the premises. Call ahead for take-out. Handicap accessible. All baking done on premises. Order your Thanksgiving pies and Christmas Desserts.
Please, if you have a favorite diner or restaurant, cafe, pub, deli, or trattoria, let me know. Email your favorite place to: Mkbrody@aol.com. I’ll be sure to give them a call, and perhaps pay them a visit!