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The Best Diner in Town

Photo: Philip Kamrass, Times Union

The food, plus the people and environement make this diner the best in town. With a diverse, but traditional menu, paired with their award-winning desserts and cheesecake, Blue Ribbon Diner is a highly successful family-owned business that shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. I am a frequent visitor of the homey restaurant, and if you have not had the Blue Ribbon experience yet, you are completely missing out.

Conveniently located on State St., Blue Ribbon, owned by the Menagias family, opened its doors in 1977. For over 30 years, they have been serving the Capital District and leaving them with full tummies and happy faces.

The diner has three main rooms: when you walk in there’s the hostess desk, and behind them is the casual part of the restaurant. One side has booths and the other has stools and a counter for quick, ultra-casual dining. Across from the hostess desk is a wide, short transitioning walkway which leads into a bigger, more intimate room with booths. After another walkway is an even larger room with booths and tables. It’s a little bigger than most diners, but the sizing is perfect and can easily accommodate a lot of people at once, which is good since they are always packed. A lot of the regulars are elders, as they love close-knit family restaurants where they can get a variety of food anytime of day.

The Menu

Blue Ribbon serves all meals, including breakfast, which you can order at anytime during the day, even for dinner. They have all sorts of drinks, including flavored teas (the raspberry iced tea is the best!), coffee and juices, all of which include free refills.

For breakfast, they offer cereals, eggs with toast, home fries, bacon or sausage, omelettes, hash and ham or steak with eggs if you’re especially hungry. Other choices include pancakes, french toast, and miscellaneous items: bagels, rolls, muffins, danishes and cinnamon buns.

Lunch and dinner dishes can be ordered anytime as well, and any dinner or dinner special entree comes with soup AND salad. What other place do you know that gives you both?! FYI- Blue Ribbon’s soups are out of this world. There’s always two to three soup du jour’s in addition to French Onion, which is always available. You could probably just order soup and be set because it is that amazing. Their traditional house salads are also delicious, along with the fresh bread (available only at night).

If you’re in the mood for something light, Blue Ribbon has all sorts of cold and hot sandwiches, including deli meat, cold salad sandwiches, reubens, meatloaf sandwiches and meatball subs. Burgers, hot chicken sandwiches, wraps and triple deckers are also up for grabs. Sides include pasta, fries, onion rings, potato salad, cole slaw and a vegetable.

For heavier meals and dinner, there are daily specials in addition to the large menu. There are entree-sized salads, such as cobb, Greek and chicken salads, along with melts, pita’s and Philly steaks. There are also about a dozen Chef’s Creation choices, including Shrimp Margherita, Ziti, Pasta Primavera, Chicken Amore and my favorite Grilled Chicken Stir Fry. I always say I will get something different but this dish is way too delicious to pass up. It’s enough food for about three meals, and is a mixture of linguine, chicken, and vegetables which are stir-fried and finished with an oriental sauce. You can also have traditional pasta with meatballs or sausage, ravioli or stuffed shells, and even veal, chicken or eggplant parmigan.

Photo courtesy of blueribbonrestaurant.com

If you’re not in a pasta or chicken mood, Blue Ribbon also offers steak and pork chop dishes, along with traditional favorites; roast turkey, beef sirloin, friend chicken, meatloaf, lamb, pot roast and beef liver. Greek dishes Moussaka and Spanakopita are also on the menu.

Wait, I’m not done yet! They also have seafood dishes. Choose from shrimp scampi, scrod, sole or one of the many other choices available.

Don’t forget about dessert! Blue Ribbon has award-winning first prize cheesecake. They have been winning cheesecake contests since 1980, so they must be doing something right. In addition to their many different cheesecakes, they also offer other cakes, fruit pies and cream pies, as well as ice cream, jello, pudding, fruit, pastries and eclairs and more!

They also have take-out options available for everything.

The waitresses are professional, prompt and so friendly. They don’t overwhelm you with kindness which is nice. They are real, down-to-earth people who give great service. Everything at the diner is delicious and very reasonably priced, which makes for a great visit that will result in return.

If you’re looking for some place different try Blue Ribbon. I promise you will NOT be disappointed. There’s something for everyone, no matter how fussy you are or how strict your diet is. Go to Blue Ribbon right now, today, tomorrow. It will change your life. Now that I’m hungry thinking about all their wonderful food, I must go to my job as a waitress, which unfortunately isn’t at Blue Ribbon!

Blue Ribbon Diner is located at 1801 State St. in Schenectady. Their hours are as follows:

Sunday-Thursday: 6 am-11pm, Friday and Saturday: 6 am to 12 am

Blue Ribbon is closed only two days a year: Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

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