“I had a pink poodle skirt like that!” I squealed as we walked on the black-and-white checkerboard floor between chrome tables and chairs.
Reminders of the carefree ’50s were on the red-and-black walls — Elvis, Mortimer Snerd, Marilyn in the famous pleated white halter-topped sundress that “just twirled up.”
Two years ago, Anita Kyratzis and her husband were forced to move their diner across the street to the former Kem Cleaners in Scotia. Friends and patrons helped decorate by donating many of the retro objects.
WHERE: 114 Mohawk Ave. (Route 5), Scotia. 372-9776 and on Facebook
WHEN: 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $33.80 before tax and tip
MORE INFO: Parking lot. All major credit cards accepted. Accessible.
But one cannot live on nostalgia alone. How was the food at the Scotia Diner, we wondered?
Trish and I seated ourselves in a booth against the far wall, surrounded by memorabilia. Our aproned server Nicole handed us menus and took our drink order. My tea arrived with a glass carafe of hot water and a small blue bowl of thick lemon slices.
It was a blustery day with flurries — a cup of chili ($4) kind of a day — but alas! They were out. I was glad I ordered the mozzarella sticks (five of them) to share. The sturdy marinara dipping sauce alone was worth the price ($5.25).
The small piece of bay leaf I pulled out was a clue that the sauce was made in-house. The sticks were hot and crispy on the outside with a warm molten core.
It was Friday, a day for a cup of their New England Clam Chowder soup special ($2.75). The steaming blend was creamy but not chunky, chock full of potatoes and clams with a hint of garlic.
There were nearly 60 sandwiches listed: club, hot, cold, wrapped and all served with cole slaw, macaroni or potato salad and pickle, some with fries. Trish chose the turkey club on rye ($7.75) while I was hankering for a tuna melt on whole wheat ($7.25).
The sandwiches were standard diner fare and more than adequate. Trish’s was essentially a three-tiered BLT with turkey. Her fries arrived on their own plate nicely browned and not greasy.
“How many places do you go where the fries come on their own plate because there is no room on the sandwich dish,” she marveled.
I wish either our server or I had thought to ask what kind of cheese I wanted on my melt. The tuna salad was fresh, the bread nicely grilled, but I would have preferred almost any other kind of cheese to the American, which melted into a thin, tasteless film on the tuna.
The accompanying onion rings were perfectly fried and plentiful.
Accompanying salads were way above average. My chopped cole slaw was slightly sweet and crunchy. Trish’s potato salad was studded with bits of carrots and celery, adding more texture and flavor than potatoes alone.
To add to the already colorful nature of the Scotia Diner, food was presented on what appeared to be modified Fiestaware by our caring server, who brought extra napkins and refilled water glasses without being asked.
We decided to bring home some of our meal in order to save room for dessert. There were about 20 to choose from, many of them slowly spinning in a carousel-like glass showcase.
Trish had her heart set on tapioca pudding with whipped cream like her Mom used to make her when she was a little girl. I substituted an excellent slice of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for Greek rice pudding which was unavailable that day.
While my goal is generally to choose something unfamiliar or out of the ordinary, I had no complaints with the moist walnut dotted dessert.
The diner’s menu also features complete breakfasts and dinner (from $6.25 for ziti with sauce to $10.99 for a strip sirloin steak or pork chop dinner), as well as salads and platters.
Names of meals are as kitschy as the décor. Imagine feasting on Volcano Mike, Buffalo Chick, Cred or Da’ Fish. A kids menu for $5 is also available, although the separate menu sheets were at the printers the day I was there.
Besides the 20 or so booths and tables in the main section of the diner is a separately decorated space called the Las Vegas Room. It is here that an Elvis impersonator entertains at a $25/person dinner once a month.
Owner Anita explained that the room seats about 70 people and is generally sold out each performance. The next special Elvis Experience is April 18.
A family restaurant, the Scotia Diner possesses a menu, service and lively décor to suit almost anyone.