Tequesta’s “Restaurant Row” got two new additions, both owned by the same New Jersey-based family. One is a reopening (Alberto’s Famous Family Trattoria) in the Publix Plaza and the other, in the space formerly occupied by a seafood restaurant, is the Time To Eat Diner. Both are recently opened, and for now, it’s time to see if it’s Time to Eat at the Diner.
The interior is newer, cleaner, yet still simple, with wood-table booths, a myriad of clocks on the walls (hence the diner’s name) and some stainless steel accents to give the feeling of the old diner interior, while not pretending to be one. The place was busy on a recent Friday night, as families and seniors kept coming in, stopping only to stare and salivate a bit at the bakery counter, filled with mile-high cakes and sizable pies, many of which were already missing slices. The restaurant lists 40 dessert choices, and says all are made in house.Not all are available every day, but it’s still a commendable list of choices.
And speaking of choices, the regular menu runs nine pages, plus a page of specials. Breakfast is offered all day, and ethnic choices include Greek, Hungarian, Italian and Polish food. It can take some time just to peruse the full menu, which was needed on this night, as the house was short-handed, explained server Crystal. Fortunately, Crystal literally turned out to be a gem, right down to her running shoes. She was quick, polite and got things right.
Breakfast includes all the classics: omelets, French toast, waffles, topped with any kind of meat, vegetable or fruit you can imagine. One unique combination is the Black and White Pancakes, made with bits of Oreo© cookies.
Lunch and dinner more your style? You can have salads, wraps, burgers, pasta, seafood, steak, or the diner classics, including meatloaf, open-faced hot turkey, chicken pot pie, liver and onions or roast ham. It’s impossible to use enough space to disseminate all the items on the menu. For some, this may be a case of overload: too much to read, too many decisions to make. For others. it’s a joy to come to a family-style restaurant and have so many choices. Prediction: in time, the menu will likely be pared down a bit as slow-selling items are removed. That’s not a bad thing; it means the kitchen can do an even better job on fewer dishes. Not that there were complaints about what was served. The onion soup was a small portion, but the broth was sweet-salty-meaty, the cheese thick and pull-worthy and the onions still had a bite. The Buffalo tenders wrap was spicy and filled with a nice amount of lettuce and tomato, and the Deli Duo (corned beef, pastrami, coleslaw, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing in pita bread) was more than any duo could finish in a sitting.
The prices are a big reason the crowds are coming in: breakfast platters are almost all under $10, sandwiches, salads and wraps (including house specialties) are $7 to $12 and entrees $12 to $18. Portions are very large, but if by chance you have room for dessert, that will add between $3 and $5 to your bill. Noise levels are very comfortable, even when the place is full. Tables are well-spaced and the busboys are just as quick as the wait staff, refilling water and getting extra bread, plates and silverware when needed.
Although we are in the so-called “summer slow” season, the Time To Eat Diner may have to rethink the idea of slowing down. Extra staff for those busy nights is needed. The food, prices and family-friendly atmosphere will keep people coming in, regardless of the weather.
Time To Eat Diner, 716 U.S. Highway 1 North, Tequesta, FL. Phone (561) 747-4263. Hours: Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Children’s menu available.