After a few years of staring at an abandoned restaurant site, North County folks have a diner to die for.
The Lighthouse Diner reopened this month, and locals are already filling the place, and coming back for seconds. And forget the “Olde” in the previous name. There’s not much old about the new place.
The exterior of the structure has not changed; it’s still the plain white box of a building it has always been, but the “Open” sign is lit and a lighthouse-shaped sign is now affixed to the building. But the better to show off the inside: lots of black and white and chrome all over. It’s not the slightly run-down, dowdy diner of your youth.
The interior is a platform for the ambitious menu. There's a lot of comfort food meets are-you-kidding-me ingredients. You get the diner classics, like burgers, meatloaf, fried chicken and all-day breakfasts. But you can have Reuben sliders, tabbouleh, roasted root vegetable combos, "hard" shakes (made with alcohol), beer from Tequesta Brewing Company, omelets with everything from catfish to chili mixed in, fried okra salad and BLTs made with things like fried green tomatoes, brisket or fried chicken. The menu goes everywhere you can think, and there's something for everyone.
And then there are the portion sizes. A single waffle or pancake covers the entire plate. A recent order of an omelet and hash browns with toast turned into two meals for one diner who admits rarely being defeated by any quantity of food. If you walk away from this place hungry, it isn't because of skimpy servings.
And then there’s the staff. They want you here; they’re happy to see you and service is fast. Servers are always checking to see if you want anything else, keeping things clean, refilling stations. And check out Frank at the soda fountain counter. A character suited for a diner, he can answer five questions at once, mix fountain beverages, restock supplies, and keep your kids entertained as they twirl on those classic stools.
The Lighthouse Diner has an innovative menu, refurbished interior, attentive staff, and after several years and many people missing the diner experience, a landmark is back, and the dining scene is better for it.
Lighthouse Diner, 1510 N. U.S. Highway 1, Jupiter, FL. Phone (561) 529-2883(561) 529-2883. Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, beginning Monday, April 28. Hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. until that date.