Review sites are always hit and miss with me.
I love looking at them to get ideas, but if you look too closely, you’ll see all of the less-than-favorable reviews and have second thoughts about visiting a new restaurant.
They can also be utterly confusing. Take the Americana Diner in New Berlinville, for example.
On Yelp, the restaurant is listed twice: one listing with a Bechtelsville address, the other New Berlinville (it’s in neither, sitting between the two in Colebrookdale Township).
One listing averages 4-stars. The other, 2-stars. It’s as if one page is for those who enjoy the restaurant and the other is a place to gripe after a bad experience.
For me, the only thing to do was to try it for myself.
The Americana Diner looks impressive from the outside. The large stainless steel structure is impressive. Shining in the sun, it almost looks out of place against the grittier storefronts along Route 100.
We arrived a little before 9 a.m. to find the parking lot nearly full — always a good sign. Thankfully, there was a booth for two waiting for a couple just like us.
Our waitress arrived quickly to take our drink order. She returned in short order to take our order. Like all busy diners, the goal is get the customers in and out as fast as possible so our server was very attentive to us.
It was hard to choose from among the many and varied menu items. I usually go with French toast, but I wanted to do something different this time. I saw the skillet menu and one, in particular, caught my eye: the gyro skillet.
The gyro skillet was advertised as gyro meat, potatoes, peppers and onions, topped with eggs (scrambled, for me), and served with a side of tzatziki sauce and pita bread.
I was a little thrown off when it arrived with white toast and no sauce. Julie was able to flag down our waitress for me and I got my sauce.
“I don’t sell too many of those so I wasn’t sure what it came with,” was the response I got. She was friendly enough about it, but wouldn’t you double-check if you weren’t sure about something?
Then she said, “people have said it’s kind of bland.” Without the tzatziki sauce, yes.
Gyro meat (it didn’t specify if it was lamb or beef, and I didn’t bother to ask) is generally blander. Potatoes, onions and peppers aren’t exactly enough to make up for it.
The problem with the tzatziki on the side is it was chilled so it added an awkward coldness to the piping hot skillet. I would have much preferred if they would have drizzled the sauce on top, beneath the egg to let everything soak in that creamy flavor.
As it was, it was still a good breakfast, a hearty breakfast, but nothing special.
Julie’s choice was much simpler: an order of two pineapple pancakes.
The pancakes were almost plate-sized and topped with a heaping helping of pineapple topping, with two cups of Smucker’s breakfast syrup on the side.
I’m a traditionalist so I always prefer the glass dispenser to the little plastic cups. Not that it changes the taste, but I’ve always found the syrup cups make the plate look cheap.
The pineapple topping was good, but I’d rather eat it on an ice cream sundae than on pancakes. Julie enjoyed it, though she was expecting fresh fruit, which would have been a nice touch.
One thing we couldn’t complain about was the price. With our two breakfasts and my glass of OJ, we still only spent $17 for our breakfast.
I can see why the reviews are mixed for Americana. The food is good, not great. The service is fast, but a little rushed. Our waitress made a mistake, but she made things right and was always pleasant.
But you should never let reviews (even mine) influence your opinion of a place.
In the end, the only experience that matters is your own.
Bechtelsville, PA 19505