SARATOGA SPRINGS — Compton’s on Broadway is probably not the first place that comes to mind when you’re thinking about Saratoga Springs restaurants. Someplace swanky or an upscale coffee joint, with sidewalk seating perhaps, but not this small diner.
It’s worth a closer look.
Compton’s is a down-to-earth, dependable diner with friendly staff and what a nice contrast that makes to the rest of Broadway.
WHERE: 457 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 584-9632
WHEN: 4 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Monday to Friday, 3 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
HOW MUCH: $21.50 before tax and tip
MORE INFO: Cash only. Not wheelchair accessible. On street parking or parking lot behind building near back entrance.
We love trendy, glamorous Saratoga Springs, but let’s face it: you pay a premium to eat there and sometimes it’s a bit too stylish. This is where Compton’s comes in, a refreshing, sensible contrast to pricey gelato, coffee and small plates.
Mom and I stopped for lunch, but it could have been breakfast because they serve it all day. They open before the bars close and wrap things up by 3 p.m. We were lucky enough to get the formica booth in the front window to keep an eye on Broadway. There was easily room for four more people.
“I love your nails,” our server said to Mom by way of introduction. “That’s my favorite color. Can I get you something to drink?” She scribbled down our drink orders and left us with menus.
Breakfast takes up most of the menu. Two eggs with home fries, toast and coffee is $5.25. You can get a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich for $4.25. Omelets are between six and seven bucks, and come with home fries and toast. There are pancakes and french toast, but nothing too fancy. Really, what more do you need?
Have a cold salad plate, like tuna salad ($7.25) for lunch. Or a burger ($7.75 for double cheese, with french fries), or grilled sandwich like the turkey melt ($6.50). There are a few platters, with french fries and cole slaw.
“They got real stuff, ” was Mom’s New York City-inflected observation of the menu. She approved of our napkin dispenser and the rows of cleaned booths, mostly empty now.
The floor is carpeted, and there’s an ATM. Compton’s is cash only.
Their tomato vegetable soup ($2.50 a cup) is also real stuff, tomato-based, with lots of tomato chunks, celery, carrot and onion.
Mom really liked it, and I did too. So did the server. “I LOVE that soup,” she said when she placed it down. “Real homemade,” said Mom.
The soup is homemade, except for Tuesdays when it’s Campbell’s tomato and comes with grilled cheese as a special.
If you haven’t had a club sandwich in a while, Compton’s is a good place to get a proper one. The turkey club ($7.75) is layered with tender meat and tasty, crispy bacon, and the toast is cooked just right, and by that I mean it’s brown. The triangles are held together with frilly toothpicks and there’s mayo, but not too much. Somehow Mom finished it.
We both liked the fries, skinny dusted with salt crystals and served right on top of the sandwich. They were piping hot, and still delicious after they cooled. I spritzed a puddle of ketchup on my plate from one of those red plastic squirt bottles and helped Mom out.
I was quite pleased with my tossed salad with chicken ($7.25), and though I expected grilled chicken breast, the sliced fried tenders were way more delicious. The coating was crisp and tasty and the filling soft and light. Compton’s get points for crunchy, pale and fresh Romaine and for the reasonably red tomato, sliced thin.
Mom ate the black olives and cucumber slices, and we both liked the Italian dressing. The only quibble we had was with the fresh carrot, sliced thick and hard to eat in contrast to the rest of the salad.
They don’t have dessert, but will happily point you somewhere that does. We might have had a milkshake ($3 for chocolate, vanilla, strawberry or coffee) but had no room.
Our server dropped the check on the table: Lunch, with two sodas, came to $21.50.
We really liked Compton’s, with its basic menu and super friendly staff. Nothing fancy, just real stuff.