Going crazy over Herkimer diner

I received a great e-mail Monday.

Peter wrote that the day before he was riding through Poland and Russia. Of course, he was talking about the Poland and Russia  in Herkimer County. He was winding his way south along West Canada Creek and ended up in the village of Herkimer.

He writes: “Knowing your preferences when it comes to diners, I just had to show you what I found there.” So he attached this photo:

Empire Diner in the village of Herkimer

Empire Diner in the village of Herkimer

It’s the Empire Diner in the village, and Peter says it must be placed on everyone’s “Places You Absolutely Must Eat” list. He  points out that Herkimer is a great halfway spot between Albany and Syracuse if you’re ever driving along Route 5 or the Thruway.

He says the diner, now actually called Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner, is operated by a young couple from California who bought the place a couple years ago to restore the classic stainless steel eatery with the Art Deco touches. Mission accomplished, they now deliver outstanding food on a daily basis.

I haven’t been to the Empire in years. We used to drive quite a bit between Rome, where my in-laws used to live, and Schenectady, where we used to live. We’d stop at the diner occasionally, but we were usually too full to eat because while in Rome we usually had feasted on pizza from The Plaza (now closed) or eaten at the fabulous Franklin Hotel (thankfully still open).

In fact we just passed the diner as we were driving up to Dolgeville for a stay at a bed and breakfast.

Peter, it’s on the list for another visit.  Thanks for the e-mail and photo!


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