Saturday, January 3, 2009

River View Diner, North Bergen

River View Diner
7850 River Road
North Bergen, NJ 07047
Cherry Pie, $3.20
Coffee, $1.45

We had the inevitable conversation yesterday. With all the pie disappointments, would we expand our horizons to improve our chances of getting a great slice of pie? Would we buy cherry pies from reputable bakeries and eat them at home with a cup of our freshly ground brew? Would we take the PATH to New York City and try our luck across state lines? No... and No. We still believe a New Jersey resident ought to be able to stay in state and enjoy a truly satisfying slice of pie and a cup of joe.

And so, we found ourselves at the River View Diner in North Bergen. Our table did not have a river view, it had a view of the parking lot. Maybe the dining room has river views, but we were at a booth, and it seems the kitchen is located on the river side. Hmm... In another sense, our table did have a river view. You see, the tabletop was a custom made laminate with a panoramic photo of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline surrounded by inlays of advertisements for local businesses: unwanted hair removal, divorce lawyers, oxygen tanks - these kinds of things. Now these advertisements on paper place-mats are expected at Jersey diners, but literally laying them into the table takes the cake (pie?)! In fairness, at least it's an eco-friendly approach, but I wish I'd had a choice about looking at that model's armpit.

Ah, the pie. Relative to the other slices of pie we have sampled, the River View offers only a half-slice at an inflated price. Still, this pie was mostly pleasing. The cherries were flavorful, juicy. They managed to stand out sufficiently against the very gelatinous matrix. We even said aloud, "don't cherries just taste good?!" And tonight was our first dramatic encounter with the dreaded cherry pit. (No one was injured.) Still, the same incomprehensible crust - shiny on top, bready, with that refrigerator taste. At least the bottom crust was not soggy, whatever else it was. Our server didn't offer to warm our pie up, and perhaps this was the key to our success this evening. The decaf was a bit thin but not off-putting, and the waitress offered to refill our cups even though we were only there for pie. We're really not so hard to please, but our search for cherry pie must go on until we find a truly outstanding piece.


Kate Forster said...

I'm beginning to picture this search as something of a film noir documentary with heavy, portentous music. Let's call it, "Jersey Pie." Windshield wipers barely keeping up with the rain, you drive to North Bergen. You try to keep hopeful and cheerful, to have, say, the audacity of hope for the pie you are about to encounter. You pull up, keep the engine running for a moment, then with your courage sufficiently ramped up, you enter The River View Diner, look around. Other diners turn to regard you, then turn back to slouch over their cuppa joe. You are seated, and we have a birdseye shot of --gadung--the laminated advertising table. This does not bode well. On the other hand, I just watched a pbs special about the Cinema Exiles from Nazi Germany who came to America in the 30s and 40s. That could explain the vision. Onward, ever onward in your noble search.

Kendal and Jennifer said...

Hey there Kate! Thanks for your comment. Sometimes noir, or chaplinesque, onward to better pie. Any depression worth its salt ought to bring us greater attention to smaller delights and a decent blue plate special!

Mia said...

From the sound of it, you may need to change the URL of this blog to

There is a decent pie out there...I just know there is! And I hope I'm with you when you find it. Mmmmmmmm!