Search Results for: diner

Demetris And The Roadside Diner

Demetris Gerakaris, Owner, The Roadside Diner, 2014

This January 1, I’m thinking about a diner.

The Roadside Diner, near the Route 34 and Route 33 circle in Wall Township, NJ, in particular.

I happened to be in the area a couple of weeks back, picking up a Christmas gift, so I swung into the parking lot to see how they are holding up.

Not good, it seems.

It was closed. Parking lot empty, note on the door, not saying when they’ll re-open.

The Roadside Diner, 2020

Pandemic casualty.

Before I left, I shot a couple of photos through the window. Who knows when I’ll get inside again.

The Roadside Diner, 2020

The Roadside Diner, 2020

For 10 years, my New Year’s Day tradition was to stop into the Roadside Diner for breakfast before heading down to Asbury Park to shoot the Polar Bear Plunge.

Ever see the cover of Bon Jovi’s 1994 CROSSROADS album? It was shot at the Roadside Diner.

Bruce Springsteen’s video “Girls in their Summer Clothes” was filmed in part at the diner.

John Sayles’ movie “Baby It’s You” was shot in part there.

It’s on of NJ’s oldest diners, and yeah, it’s got history.

Often, on January 1, I’d be the only person in there besides a waitress or two. Sometimes, others would come in to grab a booth or a seat at the counter as I was finishing up my two over easy and hash browns.

In January 2014, I had it in my head to do a portrait of the owner, or at least the gent who I thought was the owner. As I was sitting there, I saw him come out from the back, white apron on, wishing customers a Happy New Year.

I slid out of my booth and went to the counter where he was standing. I extended my hand, introduced myself and gave him my photo business card. He told me his name was Demetris (Gerakaris, I’d later find out)

Demetris Gerakaris, Owner, The Roadside Diner, 2014

I chatted with him for about 15 minutes or so, he was smiling the whole time, then I asked if I could shoot a quick portrait. He was a little surprised, I think, but said yes, sure. Asked me where I wanted him to go.

The whole place had some nice light. When I do these things, though, I don’t feel it’s right to take up a lot of my subject’s time. Gotta get to it bang bang.

I asked him to just step out from behind the counter and sit on the swivel chair at the counter. I wanted to get some of his environment and atmosphere in the shot.

I kept chatting with him to loosen him up a little. He told me the restaurant business has been his life’s work, been at it 42 years. He’s owned this diner for 16 years (at the time). We talked about his hometown in Greece, and if he got back much.

As I started to shoot, though, a strange thing happened. While chatting, he seemed shy. Wouldn’t look at me while I was shooting. Kept looking away off camera.

We chatted some more, he told me a little history about the diner. I promised him I’d drop him off a print of his portrait the next time I can swing by (and I did. For years afterwards, he’d thank me again for the print.)

Took a while but I got a smile on the last snap.

Demetris Gerakaris, Owner, The Roadside Diner, 2014

So, yeah, thinking about The Roadside Diner today.

Hoping they can get back on their feet in 2021 and that their history will live on.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2021

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Weekend Shot: Roadside Diner

(c) Mark Krajnak / JerseyStyle Photography_RoadsideDiner_clr1024_IMG_1946

Seriously, that’s what this place is called.

Roadside Diner.

Authentic from the 1940’s, I head to this place as often as I can. Last weekend, three days before Christmas, me and the kids stopped by on our way to the beach.

Burger for them. Turkey club for me.

That’ll Be The Day by Buddy Holly playing while we ate.

Another time, another place.

This time, this place.

Here’s the B&W version of this image. I can’t decide which I like better.

Which do you like better?

Canon S95 + Nik Tonal Contrast filter + old-time diner = This Weekend Shot.

Weekend Shot(s): Diner Time

It was another hot, humid weekend here in the Great State of New Jersey. Seems like that’s the title for this summer, with a subtitle having something to do with the strong storms that lash across the state.

Saturday, I had two of the three Kraj Kids so I took them out on a paddle boat at the Turkey Swamp Park Lake. Wasn’t as good of an idea as I thought because, man, it was hot out there. And I was doing all the paddling – well, pedal paddling.

After de-boating, we still had a good time, walking some of the trails, looking at all the creepy crawly things. Then it was off to lunch at a diner that was on the way home, the delightfully retro JB’s Diner.

There are some diners that are just plain old in New Jersey. They are retro without even trying to be. JB’s was built in 1980 so while it’s been around, it’s not like it’s been there forever. Still, it was a pretty fun little joint.

If you’ve been coming around these JSP parts for awhile, you know I love doing the diner thing with my kids, first Olivia, and now Chase, too.

Liv always fits right in, being a little goofy but generally getting it. Chase, well, he’s taking a little more work. Not bad, mind you. Just have to keep your eye on him a bit more.

JB’s was fun, though, definitely steeped in the retro tradition. Working jukebox playing Buddy Holly, shelves lined with models of hot rods, James Dean posters. More kitschy than classic, but fun.

The kids split some chicken fingers, I had my standard triple-decker turkey club sandwich. We all split the fries and the pickles. And the camera was out, documenting this time with my kids.

Good times…

© Mark V. Krajnak 2012 | JerseyStyle Photography | All rights Reserved

At The Roadside Diner With A Jersey Girl


Not quite two months after saying I don’t want to bore you with “Dad photos”…what am I going to do?

Potentially risk boring you with “Dad” photos!

But really, though, these aren’t just “Dad” photos – this is some (I hope) photojournalism or reportage to these images. These photos document one person’s foray into a local cultural experience – the New Jersey Diner scene.

See, New Jersey has often been called the Diner Capital of The World. I don’t know if it’s true and I’m not here to argue it. But last weekend, as me and my little girl headed down to Asbury Park for the afternoon, I knew it was time. Hey, she IS going to be three next month – some things can’t wait.

“Want to go out to lunch?”

“Um…sure.” (standard response.)

“How about we go to a diner?”

“Sounds great, Dad!”

So, halfway down to AP, on State Route 33 & 34, I pulled into one of the most classic NJ diners in the state – The Roadside Diner.

The Roadside Diner has been in this spot since the 1940 and everything is still original in it – booths, stools, and the sliding train door that lets you in. I could have spent all day in the joint just shooting it. And not just because it appears in Springsteen’s Girls In Their Summer Clothes video or on the cover of Bon Jovi’s Crossroads album. It is just classic in every sense of the word.

I’ve been on a high ISO kick lately so everything I shot was between 500 and 800, usually either f/4 for f/5 and a +3. I really wanted to take advantage of all the great light streaming in through the windows.

I also wanted to keep my camera low and my focal length around 17 to 24mm. While she enjoyed her grilled cheese and milk, and I tucked into my turkey club, I kept shooting….

My other dirty secret about these images that I have to confess: In the effort to get my camera in a new place….I was shooting from the hip. Hardly looked through the viewfinder for most of these. I kept the 50D around table level on autofocus. When I heard the beep, I clicked.

Maybe that’s the secret for me…shoot blind more often.

© Mark V. Krajnak 2010 | JerseyStyle Photography | All rights Reserved
Unless otherwise noted, images captured with a Canon 50D, SanDisk digital film, finished with PS2 or PSE6 and Nik Software.