By JIM WILLIS
We’d never been to Edie’s Luncheonette on Rumson Road in Little Silver – yes, shame on us – so when PieHole popped in for lunch this week, we weren’t sure quite what to expect.
In an era of focus-group-vetted lunch menus and corporate-approved hostesses, places like Edie’s, with their throwback lunch counters and morning-to-3 p.m. operating hours, are the unicorns of the restaurant scene – and we thank our lucky stars that we’ve got two standout specimens on the Green: Edie’s and the InBetween, in Red Bank).
PieHole was joined by frequent lunch companion Brian McCourt, as well as local food truck operator Johnny “Pork Roll” Yarusi. There are a dozen or so parking spots behind the restaurant, and at 12:30pm on a Thursday we were easily able to get a spot. Inside, we saw two-top tables and a few booths (very large parties, beware); with three of us for lunch, we opted for a booth instead of the counter.
The grilled roast beef with bacon and Swiss on white bread at Edie’s. At a lesser place, this would be a dry, cotton mouth inducing disaster, not so at Edie’s where the roast beef was tender and moist. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)
There didn’t appear to be a host/hostess, and it seemed that we were on own when it came to finding a place to sit and eat. We stood milling around at the entrance for a while until a booth became available. Some patrons might be put out by this: if you prefer the explicit instruction of traffic lights over the more self-regulating traffic circle, you might feel slighted at not being acknowledged when you walk in the place.
The menu is extensive with breakfast options – omelettes: $7 to $9; pancakes and French toast: $4.75 to $6) – and lunch fare (burger with fries: $8; turkey club with fries,$10.25). The chalkboard menu behind the counter just goes on and on.
Our table went for some hot options: grilled roast beef with bacon and Swiss ($9.50); grilled cheese on rye with tomato and bacon ($7.75); and a hot corned beef on rye with Swiss and mustard ($7.50). At the suggestion of our waiter, we ordered the seasoned Edie’s fries ($3.75) for the table. Edie’s website dates the origin of these waffle-cut fries to the early 1970s, when Edith Bacigalupi bought the restaurant, gave it her name and came up with her french fry recipe.
Everything was right about this lunch. We’ve been disappointed by many a local diner’s sandwiches: dried-out meat, lousy bread, soggy fries. Not so with Edie’s. The grilled roast beef on white had juicy meat and a nice grilled outside. The grilled cheese was perfect, and the corned beef had nice thick slices of tender corned beef on a dense, chewy rye.
And the waiter was right about the fries: crispy waffle cut with a tasty pepper-based seasoning.