Some places aren’t showy. Mary’s on the Corner, a diner located just east of Norwich on Route 23, is so very not showy.
If it weren’t for the cars in the parking lot, we would have driven by and continued on our merry way to Oliverea, in the Catskills.
But we noticed some life, eventually saw the small sign board out front, and walked on in. Even inside, the place is very low key, and way too low-voltage. There are three ceiling fans with minuscule lights attached to them, and the diner is very dark inside. There are some table lamps on some of the dozen or so booths or tables, but not on every one.
Sometimes that means you don’t want to look too close. And sometimes that spells trouble. But at Mary’s, everything was quite clean and the food turned out to be very good.
We sat at a booth with a lamp, and directly behind me was a tiny TV set with CNN talking heads (who were muted) talking about Michael Jackson’s death. The music playing in the diner, though, was Barry Manilow and other golden oldies. An odd juxtaposition.
The food was straight-up, and good. Terrific home fries accompanied my eggs, my wife’s omelet with peppers and cheese was done just right, and my daughter’s blueberry pancakes were light and fluffy. A good value all around.
The counter with the classic stools was one of the lowest I’ve seen. You don’t slide on to these stools, you sit down, and down, and down. But the gentlemen at the counter didn’t mind, and the conversation was flowing throughout the place on this particular Friday morning.
Don’t be fooled by the low-key nature of Mary’s. It is worth stopping if you are at the corner of Route 23 and East River Road. You can find it here.