Thornwood Coach Diner

09 Dec



 50 Kensico Road 
Thornwood, NY 10594 (Map)
(914) 769-8844

A rainy Sunday screams for comfort food, and nothing says comfort like a diner. Yes, we at the WBC are well aware that we’ve been on a serious diner streak lately. But the food has been comforting. How did the Thornwood Coach Diner rate? Read along with us.


Attendees: Sylvia, Shelley, Reid, Jeff, Meghan



Looking through the breakfast offerings of the Thornwood Diner (2 pages), it looked like the usual, except a few combos which were just slightly out of the box, but not really.  There were quite a few offerings that were more dessert oriented breakfast items (several of which came with ice cream). 

In the name of research, I stuck to my usual fare of spinach and mushroom omelette with a side of cinnamon toast.  The nice thing was, for an extra $1.50, I could substitute the potatoes for either broccoli (which I chose) or salad.  Healthy!

The omelette was a diner omelette and with it came some boiled (or steamed, couldn’t tell) broccoli in three large chunks.  After spending some time cutting up the broccoli into more manageable pieces it was actually a good amount of broccoli.  The food was bland.  I don’t usually take to the salt shaker, but this time I had to.  I prefer too bland to over-salted.  You can fix one, but not the other.  The broccoli was on the cusp of being overcooked.  It started getting that yellow tinge to it, but it wasn’t mushy. 

The cinnamon toast was somewhere between Eldo’s 1 and Eldo’s 3 in cinnamon distribution. 

They charged me for the broccoli substitution but not the cinnamon toast substitution. 

The czar says:  A pretty solid diner serving the Thornwood area.  My family and I used to go here once in a while when we wanted to change it up a bit.  Service was friendly and the coffee was flowing, what else can you ask for on a lazy low key Sunday morning?

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At the Thornwood Diner I ordered my typical diner fare: a Western omelette with wheat toast. Thornwood Diner gets lots of points in the “pro” column for evenly distributing the ingredients within the omelette (so many places have let me down in this respect). I also enjoyed the home fries very much because they were hearty pieces of potato and were not at all greasy. This was one of the few instances where I (pleasantly) didn’t finish my meal with a greasy residue left in my mouth.

I have to say, though, where I think the Thornwood Diner really stood out was the service. This was a busy Sunday morning and the diner was at full-occupancy, but our waitress was extremely pleasant, patient (as it took awhile for our entire group to assemble), and served our food with a smile. Our meals came out promptly and water and coffee refills were regular. This made my experience at the Thornwood Diner one of the best diner experiences. I’ll be back.

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The Case:  The Thornwood Coach Diner v. The Westchester Breakfast Club

The Venue:  Kensico Road in Thornwood

The Facts:  I don’t really feel like I can fairly judge the Thornwood Diner, at least not on the basis of this visit.  I mean, I got a waffle with strawberry ice cream: Absent intentional malfeasance, there’s really no way to mess that up.

So, instead of the food, let me talk about my “Grand Theory of Diners,” which I developed many years ago while sitting at the Thornwood Diner.  In short, my Theory posits that as the number of items on a diner menu increases, the more likely it is that the average diner will end up purchasing a burger.  This is somewhat counterintuitive–one would think that probability would dictate that with a greater number of options available, fewer diners would select burgers. However, this ignores the well-studied human tendency toward “analysis paralysis.”  As the number of options goes up, the human capacity to decide amongst those various options goes down.

This expresses itself in the diner context as follows.  The typical diner diner, faced with, say, five choices, will likely only have one option that appeals to him at that particular moment.  On the other hand, faced with approximately 128 quintillion choices, like one gets at the Thornwood Coach Diner, one will likely have two or more options that sound quite appealing.  However, it will often be difficult to decide between these two (or more) options. 

“Well,” the diner might say, “I’d really like a good meatloaf sandwich, but am I going to like the gravy that comes with it?  Stuffed scallops sound good, but can I really trust the scallops I’d get from a diner? And what about lasagna? That picture looks awfully tasty.”  At some point during this deliberation, the waitress will come over and ask to take the order.  Panicked, with no ability to choose between these exotic options, the hungry eater will simply settle on the reliable favorite: the burger.

I would point out that the theory does not apply when choosing breakfast foods, where the decision matrix is really one dimensional along the savory vs. sweet continuum, leaving less room for analysis paralysis.

The Verdict: I haven’t been able to test my theory emperically, but I expect my NSF grant proposal to go through any day now. 

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I’ve dined at the Thornwood Diner a few times before, but never with the WBC.  I like it here.  It’s a standard diner, but the service is good and the coffee service is fast.  I like that they leave a small carafe at the table.  At the rate I drink coffee, I’m not worried about it going cold.  I ordered some poached eggs over corn beef hash.  The hash was good, but the eggs were a little over done.  I think they poached the eggs right, but left the dish under the heat lamp for too long, cooking the egg yolk all the way through.  Other then that, the experience was fine. 

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So, after many years of being a fan I was finally able to score an invite to the WBC. We went to one of my favorite diners, the Thornwood Diner, and I felt really bad because not only was I running late but I needed to dash quickly after eating to get to another event. I finally got to meet Reid and Shelley, and it was fun exchanging banter about upcoming visits to psychic mediums and the conundrum of how a childless Jew should write a letter from Santa to a child for a Toys for Tots charity. I was impressed with Reid’s choice to get his waffles ala modie (Little Miss Sunshine anyone?) and  Sylvia inspired a great idea with her multiple substitution omelette: build your own omelette (local breakfast establishments take note!!!). Jeff got some bangers and mash and was whiney about his egg consistiency, and I can’t recall what Shelley got. I guess that’s why they write about their own dishes!

I got the quesadilla burger. I ordered it medium rare. It came out medium well. Oh well. The dish does not come with fries but it was HUGE! I don’t know why despite it being a QUESADILLA burger I expected it to come on a bun. But upon the placement of this massive dish that would inspire Adam Richman to come up with some challenge I praised myself for not getting the fries and dug in. I got salsa and sour cream on the side and there was plenty of guac and cheese in the burger. My only complaint besides it being overcooked was that since it was so huge, by the time I neared the end it was cold. As many know, I’m the president of the clean plate club. So many minutes after the rest of the gang had already finished their meals I finally conquered the beast that is the quesadilla burger. I was full the rest of the day and did not have room for any food later that day. This NEVER happens.

I had to dash shortly after eating but I hope my guest appearance and write up (albeit very overdue) will score me another invite.

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