If it were possible, I’d encourage any UrbanCorning reader with a tow truck to go to The Diner in Horseheads, steal it, and bring it to Corning. Sure, we have our own diners like Donna’s on Market St and Jelly Beans in Painted Post, but I can’t resist a classic boxcar diner. It’s an atmosphere hard to replicate when it’s done well, and I love seeing what the cooks can pull off in their limited space. The experience at The Diner in Horseheads does not disappoint.
The interior is small but they manage to squeeze in 5 (maybe 6) booths, as well as a good amount of comfortable counter seating. I prefer the counter because half the fun is watching the cooks work their magic. It would be easy to get flustered, but they are masters at what they do. Chatting with the cook I could tell he loved his job, from our discussion about other classic diners to the way he talked up the menu.
The menu at The Diner is a one-pager, and is supplemented by a daily specials board above the cooks. Having closed out The Cellar the night previous, my brain was in the mood for a burger and fries; it was excellent. My special lady friend ordered the special corned beef hash… also excellent.
The Diner has a local history: it was located in Elmira prior to the flood of 72, at which point it was moved to Horseheads. Previously known as Sullivan’s Diner, the new owners spent nine months on renovations, retaining the original woodwork and cool sliding entry doors. It’s a fun atmosphere to take in, and well worth the short drive to Horseheads.