The Post-Standard already did a nice job of writing about the Rise N Shine diner, but I just have to add my three cents’ worth. Dave and I have decided it’s our new “our diner” for a number of reasons:
We’re musicians. While the style of music we currently make, flamenco, has little in common with the music you hear at this diner, we just love all the pictures of Syracuse-area bands from decades ago that are hung on just about every available bit of wall space (see pictures here). Some of you may know that Dave has been playing in bands of various styles for many many years:
Listening to the tight harmonies and luscious slow tempos of the doo wop music they were playing while we ate a delicious breakfast was surely one of the sweetest ways to start a day.
Another reason we love this place: the people! The waitresses (they’re not “servers” in a diner, okay?) are unfailingly pleasant, helpful, and attentive without being intrusive. When I asked for extra butter and orange marmalade for my English muffin, I got them both – a minor miracle in most diners, where harried waitresses tend to forget such details. And get a load of this. You tea drinkers understand that you simply cannot re-use a tea bag, any more than you can re-use coffee grounds. Well, these waitresses understand it, too. A refill comes in an adorable carafe with a fresh tea bag. Also, the customers all seem to either know each other or just enjoy being there. And you know there are going to be a few geezer musicians among them.
But mostly what is great about this place is the food. I generally dislike diner food as it’s often uninspired at best. But the chef here is putting thought into the food he serves. Where else can you get mushrooms in your omelet that are not only cooked correctly, they’re actually delicious? He has a secret ingredient that he cooks them with and that also goes into his mushroom soup, but you’ll have to go there to find out what it is.
Today Dave just wanted the 2-2-2-2 breakfast: two perfectly cooked bacon strips, two sausages with a hint of rosemary, two eggs that he said were done just right, and two slices of French toast. But I had to build my own omelet, so it was ham, sauteed onions and provolone cheese. Much to my surprise, the ham wasn’t the usual square bits sliced off a pre-packaged ham steak from Sysco, but rather chunks that came from a ham roast. Imagine ham that behaves and tastes a lot like pulled pork. This was a completely different and much better taste than I’ve ever had in an omelet. The attention to small culinary details is what makes this diner stand out above all the rest.
What does not make it stand out is its entrance. Even if you’re looking for it, it’s easy to miss because it’s located smack dab behind the Valvoline on Thompson Road, doesn’t appear to have its own driveway, and doesn’t even have a sign out at the road. I’m fully convinced this is one of the only reasons this place wasn’t mobbed on a Saturday morning. So here’s how to find this gem: taking the Thompson Road NORTH exit off I-690, go about 1.7 miles and look for the Valvoline on the left. Turn into the driveway to the left of the Valvoline and continue straight past that building, right into the Rise N Shine parking lot.
Here’s the building you’ll see back there, stolen from their website:
Rise N Shine Diner
6393 Thompson Road
Syracuse, NY 13206
Hours: 7 days a week, 6:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (breakfast only on Sundays)