Address: 401 Fayette St, Conshohocken PA, 19428 (484-351-8029)
Rating: ★★★★★ (5) out of 5 stars
Style: American cuisine
Food: Traditional American Diner food, plus much more
Atmosphere: Spacious yet intimate, dimly-lit dining area
Parking: Yes, parking on 4th & Fayette streets
Service: Fast, Helpful
Price Range: $$
Unique Feature: Breakfast meals available throughout the day, wheelchair accessible,
I’ll be the first to admit that I was saddened when the pride & joy of Conshy, The 401 Diner, mysteriously closed last year. Granted, it wasn’t necessarily the greatest dining experience you’d ever have (think of greasy diner food, a few impolite waitresses, and an outdated pink décor that reeked of the late 80s). Yet, whenever you wanted a hearty breakfast (R.I.P. 222), or wanted a late-night meal after the bars closed, the diner was open and waiting for you to peruse their jukebox. So once I heard that The 401 Diner was reopening in September with a new owner (and menu), I couldn’t wait to stop by.
As we approached the entrance of the restaurant, it appeared as though not much had changed; the fluorescent lights were still glowing and the time on the clock facing Fayette St. was still wrong. It wasn’t until we walked into The 401 Diner that we were stunned at the overhaul that had taken place. Simply, the diner has been completely transformed. The linoleum has been replaced with hardwood floors, the lamps with modern light fixtures, and even the coat hooks on the booths have been handcrafted; the new management certainly has an attention to detail, which did not go unnoticed.
We arrived at 5:15 on a Sunday evening to find The 401 Diner moderately busy. We were seated as soon as we walked in and given very detailed menus. The first thing I noticed (besides the vast assortment of entrées) was how fresh the meals were prepared. Almost every selection on the menu had either “organic,” “local,” or “free-range” it its description…three phrases I’ve never seen within miles of a standard diner menu.
To start, we decided on sharing a cup of Organic Veggie Chili, as well as the Spinach & Roasted Artichoke Dip. Brought out within five minutes, the Chili was served piping hot, chock full of black beans, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, and prepared with just the right amount of spices. As for the other appetizer, we were both impressed by not only the toasted pita chips, but also the fresh ingredients within the dip itself; unlike many spinach & artichoke dips, this was full of large artichoke hearts that had clearly just been chopped. The garlic was also freshly sliced and the creamy texture was perfect and not too greasy.
As we finished our appetizers, the waitress made sure to check on us whenever she thought that a drink might be running low. For some reason, there are so many restaurants that just don’t utilize this simple gesture which normally always results in a satisfied customer (and a healthier than normal tip); fortunately, the waitstaff at the new and improved 401 Diner has been trained well.
Within another 10 minutes, our entrées were served. Though breakfast is served all day, my girlfriend decided on the Salmon Burger with Side Salad and was more than satisfied. When she was originally ordering her entrée, the waitress mentioned that someone had ordered the same sandwich earlier in the day and the customer had complained that it was ‘fishy.’ Though we appreciated the heads up from the waitress, and agreed that salmon should indeed be ‘fishy,’ we were a little apprehensive but still ordered the meal. The entrée was a patty of nicely seasoned fresh salmon topped with aioli, freshly roasted red peppers, greens, red onion, and tomato, presented on fresh brioche; also, the fresh side salad with white balsamic vinaigrette complimented the sandwich properly.
After deliberating for a good 10 minutes, I ended up ordering the Red Hot Sandwich with Fries. If the picture doesn’t do justice, let me just say that this is a HUGE sandwich, so much so that I took more than half home with me as leftovers. Also served on brioche, the Red Hot is a chicken patty drenched in Frank’s Hot Sauce and covered in bleu cheese crumbles, tomato, and lettuce; the fresh-cut French fries were a great side order too.
By the end of the meal, we left completely full with to-go boxes in hand and overly satisfied, all within the matter of 40 minutes. I simply cannot wait to come back and try more of their organic meals, specifically, anything and everything from their breakfast menu. Welcome back 401 Diner, Conshohocken is glad to see you again.