Just up the street from my hometown, the Liberty Diner II located on Route 130 in Bordentown is the setting of many of my childhood memories, as it has been for many families in the area for the last 30 years.
As soon as I walked through the doors, the owner, Aladdin, greeted me and asked where my father was this evening, knowing that we usually visited the diner together.
He brought me to my usual table and the strong smell of coffee drifted towards me as I settled into my usual booth in the top left corner.
Liberty II is set up like most diners in New Jersey. Rows of booths line up and down the store front, cracks ran through the worn red leather seats that stretched from either side of the table. A counter lined the back wall and waiters talked idly as they brewed another pot of regular and stacked cups.
“I used to love coming to this diner with my family when I was little,” commented Elizabeth Diehl, a life-long Florence resident as her boyfriend nodded absent-mindedly on the other side of the table. Her eyes scanned the menu again and again as she narrowed down her choices.
Arguably, the best part of going to Liberty is that their breakfast menu is available all day and has plenty of options.
“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid, probably around 15 years,” said Diehl, although it had been many years since she last visited the diner she revealed.
Everything looks exactly the same, aside from being decorated for the season. The mirrored pillars in between booths reflected the orange lights that had been hung from the ceiling. Bright orange pumpkins glittered in the front windows, they cast a soft glow on the tables that stretched ahead of them.
Just then Diehl’s food had been brought to her table and I guess it’s true when they say that great minds think alike because we had ended up ordering the same meal: French toast with chucks of fresh strawberries and bananas, topped with sweet piles of whipped cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
“My favorite memory of coming here was on one Thanksgiving morning, when we decided to head to liberty for breakfast with the whole family,” said Diehl, gazing down at the steam rising from her plate.
When I bit into a thick piece of Texas toast it was soft and the bits of strawberry and banana complemented the faint taste of cinnamon perfectly. Mounds of whipped cream slipped to the edge of my plate as I poured sweet maple syrup over the remaining slices.
“It’s good,” Diehl said as she savored a bite of chewy toast with a slice of banana. “I’m definitely going to become a regular again after this.”