I have always enjoyed a good diner, but I’ve found that I appreciate them even more since becoming a father because I know they are a safe bet for a night out with my son.
Diners always have plenty of seating (including high chairs), the service is quick and there are always kids options on the menu.
So when we were struggling to decide on a place to go for a family dinner on a Sunday in December, my mind went to diners. And that’s how we ended up at the Temple Family Restaurant.
It had been years since Julie and I last visited Temple Family Restaurant – at least five because we hadn’t been back since Berks County Eats became a thing. We had always enjoyed it, but with so many places to visit, it had fallen off our radar.
Julie, Jakob and I arrived around 5 p.m. and found the restaurant to be busy, but not crowded. The dining area is very large with booths lining every wall and free-standing tables in the middle.
Our waitress was very attentive, arriving at our table within moments of being seated. She was happy to help as we worked to keep Jakob occupied – providing us with an extra menu for him to entertain himself with and also ensuring that his applesauce arrived with our salads.
The menu is large and varied, but all of the “American Classics,” “Pasta Specialties,” and “Steaks and Chops” are served with a choice of soup or salad.
The salads were simple, mostly greens and croutons topped with shredded cheese, onions, green pepper slices and cherry tomatoes. It also came with more than enough salad dressing – at least twice as much in the cup than we usually see with diners.
Our meals were also served with fresh rolls and butter. The rolls were served warm and were very good. They also came with a pile of butter packets (I think I used half of a packet for mine).
For my entree, I chose the chicken croquettes. I have always enjoyed the fried chicken dish, but it’s not something I order very often. I was, however, very glad that I ordered it here.
The croquettes were delicious. The breading was nicely seasoned and the chicken had a great flavor to it. And as simple as it was, the bed of mashed potatoes the croquettes were served on were a perfect complement. And the croquettes were huge. I decided to save one for later rather than overdoing it at the restaurant.
Was it a steak dinner at a five-star restaurant? Absolutely not. Was it delicious comfort food? Absolutely.
Not taking the time to study the menu as much as I should have, I ordered potato filling as a side – even though the meal already came with mashed potatoes. (Full disclosure: when I was a teenager, I would do this on purpose when we went to diners. That was not the case here). The filling was fine, but nothing special. I actually enjoyed the mashed potatoes a little bit better.
Julie had ordered the chicken Parmesan (both of our meals were listed as “homemade” in the menu and had pictures to further sway us on our decisions). It, too, was very good. The chicken breast had a crisp breading on the outside. The sauce was a little sweet and a little thicker than some places. But I thought it all came together very well.
And it was also huge. The chicken breast covered nearly the full length of the oblong plate. Julie didn’t even attempt to finish the whole thing, bringing home half for a later meal.
Her meal also came with a slice of garlic toast. It was not as good as the dinner roll. I thought it tasted more like Texas toast. Either way, it was completely unnecessary given the size of the chicken breast and the fact that we already had bread at the table.
The kids menu isn’t huge, but there are enough choices to keep most children happy. Jakob was pleased with his personal pan pizza. It didn’t look like anything I would eat, but Jakob finished every bite so I guess it served its purpose well.
He did not want his applesauce, though, so I ended up giving him my buttered corn, which he happily ate for me.
At the end of the meal, having saved a little bit of room, Julie decided to splurge for some rice pudding for her and Jakob. It came topped with whipped cream and was dusted with cinnamon. Rice pudding is not my favorite – it’s a texture thing for me, mostly – but Julie loves it, especially at diners. Jakob didn’t have much interest in anything other than the whipped cream so I ended up eating most of his share.
We certainly got a lot for our money during our meal as our two entrees, kids meal and rice pudding cost us $31.
It was an enjoyable meal, and kid-friendly at that. Mommy, daddy and Jakob all enjoyed our food and were happy with our decision.
Diners are once again moving to the forefront for me. And Temple Family Restaurant has earned a place near the top of our list.
Food: Good to Very Good
Service: Very Good
Price: Very Reasonable
4949 N. 5th Street Hwy
Temple, PA 19560
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