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Style · July 13, 2012

Review: Classic Frost Diner tempts palates 24/7

Frost Diner has served rib-sticking meals around the clock since it opened in 1955.
Here we go again: Warrenton Associates of Fine Dining (WAFD, as we call ourselves) is on the prowl, and I’m here to report on what we ate.

Perhaps no Warrenton eating establishment is more frequented by high school students than Frost Diner. At 55 Broadview Avenue, and tucked away in a manner that one could drive by a hundred times without noticing it, the 24-hour diner finds itself constantly playing host to post-game, post-theatre practice and plain-old, post-school get-togethers. As every WAFD member has enjoyed a Frost meal at some point, it was an obvious choice for our next review.

For starters, Frost Diner looks the part of a classic ’50s diner. It is not, however, a glossy remake of an American culinary icon, something akin to a Silver Diner. Instead, the diner is the real, genuine deal, with both an interior and exterior that scream authentic diner, not chain look-alike. As far as spacing goes, the inside is cozy, but not unpleasantly so, and whenever we have a group of at least four we always try to grab one of the two corner booths. If you’re flying solo, the traditional-looking counter is the place to go, and it offers a great view of the kitchen preparing your meal.

For those unfamiliar with Frost’s menu, it is an all-day affair, replete with everything from pancakes and eggs, to burgers and fries, to clam chowder and fried oysters. I’ve found that everyone invariably finds his or her favorites. My friend Jonathan, for example, swears by the BLTs. The accompanying fries are certainly good, but not really different from everyone else’s fries.

I always go for the cheese steak with fried onions. Frost does this better than most, and it sticks with you when you leave.

My other friends, William and Jake, order chicken-fried steaks just about every time. The quality of the food is probably exactly what you would expect coming in. My dad and his friends, by contrast, always do breakfast at Frost – pancakes, eggs and bacon, and that’s just the first course. They don’t talk about it much, but they keep going back. I haven’t tried their breakfast yet, but I will soon.

Remember, it’s diner food, not white-table cloth food. But it’s not low quality. Every time we have been there, the food has always been to our liking. In fact, the only thing on the menu that’s ever put a bad taste in my mouth is the fried oysters. So perhaps don’t go in expecting exceptional seafood (although my friends tell me the clam chowder is actually quite good).

For my part, cheese-steak sandwich, side of onion rings, and I’m good to go — preferably with some form of exercise afterwards, because both the cheese-steak sandwich and the onion rings are really, really good.

If the food is good, the killer ambiance of the place is what seals the deal. We’re talking about authentic jukeboxes at every table, framed newspaper clippings tracking the diner’s history, and waitresses who aren’t afraid to tell you to finish what’s on your plate. As one should expect, the staff is friendly and colorful without being obnoxious and as punctual as you need them to be.

The decision to remain open 24 hours a day also adds a layer to the ambiance. There is the story, for example, of one of our teachers grading papers at Frost into the wee hours of morning (we’re talking like 2-3 o’clock). If it’s true, I hope the coffee was really strong.

All in all, you know exactly what to expect from Frost the moment you walk through the door. It’s an authentic diner, with authentic diner food, and doesn’t do anything else. But what it does do, it does very, very well. So gather some friends go to Frost, stay a long time, and tip your waiters and waitresses as if you knew their parents.
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