When the Nazareth Diner closed last year for renovations, the restaurant added a full-service bar to its offerings and reopened its doors to reveal a transformed everyday dining spot.
The three-month renovation took into account every detail. New tables, booths and chairs sparkle; even the seats at the counter are upholstered in fabric that matches seating throughout the diner. A wood-looking floor adds character.
But it's the decor that really sets this restaurant apart. Glass panels portraying one tree branch in silhouette contribute an artistic sense, and colorful panels in a large dining room add a tasteful touch.
My favorite part of the diner's new look are the paintings of angels in ceiling panels above the well-appointed salad bar. It made me think more of Rome, Italy, than Nazareth, Pa.
The fare remains decidedly diner-like: burgers; classic sandwiches; wraps; triple-decker club and hot open Reuben sandwiches; homemade soups; Italian specialties; fresh seafood platters; steaks and chops.
Breakfast served all day features omelets, pancakes, French toast, waffles, creamed chipped beef and various egg platter combinations.
New items on the menu include paninis and sandwich melts, baskets of fried shrimp or chicken with french fries, various stuffed chicken breast creations and "french fry creations" — fries with toppings such as bacon chips and ranch dressing or tzatziki sauce feta cheese crumbles.
Complimentary with dinner, the salad bar, which closes at 11 p.m., offered lots of variety. The usuals are here: lettuces, cucumber, carrots, green pepper, onion and mushroom slices, and grape tomatoes with assorted dressings.
What I especially enjoyed, though, were the prepared homemade salads — broccoli cheddar, couscous, potato, macaroni, three bean, European pasta and carrot — along with the more unusual additions pico de gallo and hummus.
That diner standby — an open face roast sirloin of beef sandwich with homemade gravy ($10.99) — was standard fare. Fine, creamy mashed potatoes were the real thing; a side of broccoli was cooked way beyond al dente.
Tasty chicken and waffles ($11.99) featured grilled chicken with chicken gravy. Grilling the poultry in this rendition added good texture, and the waffle contributed sweet notes to the comfort food classic. A cup of good clam chowder (included with dinner) was full of clams.
A typical roundup of diner desserts is available. I opted for rice pudding ($2.99) made in the diner's kitchen, and was well rewarded. It was light and creamy, with the perfect balance of sweetness and texture.
The "new" Nazareth Diner offers great diner ambience and a menu that's varied enough to satisfy anyone's appetite.
Dinner for two totaled $35, including tax and tip, but no alcoholic beverages.
Susan Gottshall is a freelance restaurant reviewer for Go Guide. Gottshall attempts to remain anonymous during restaurant visits. All meals are paid for by The Morning Call.
248 N. Broad St., Nazareth
•Hours: Open 24 hours daily.
•Prices: Appetizers: $4.29-$10.99; sandwiches: $2.79-$8.99; entrees: $9.99-$23.99.
•Credit cards: Major cards accepted.
•Bar: Full-service bar.
•Accessibility: Premises and restrooms wheelchair accessible.
•Location: At intersection of Routes 191 (Bethlehem Pike) and 248 (Easton Road). Parking in lot.Copyright © 2015, CT Now