By GABBIE WATTS
At Princeton, we don’t get out much, but we should. And the number reason why we should is Mastoris.
To quote from a local New Jerseyan, Mastoris is the quintessential New Jersey diner experience. Buses full of old timers travel miles down 295 to eat there, and high schoolers rowdy-up the dining rooms. Which are numerous: there is a room with a marble floor terrace, a room styled as a traditional diner with swivel chairs at the bar and checkered tiling, a smokeless smoky barroom with a giant moose head…and then, there are the less-than-exceptional rooms like the one they seated my friend and me. But you can’t have everything. Our room looked like a Holiday Inn lobby with an Ikea painting of a ship on vapid waters and with these huge booths that made it impossible to see any other tables. Carrel-like perhaps? My friend proposed that they were designed so that no one around you could see how much food you ordered and actually ate. Which was a disgusting amount. No shame.
So, we sit down, get a giant menu that includes more than 100 different sandwiches, and then the waitress brought us small cups of water and plate full of dessert. I guess one could call it “bread,” which isn’t that weird to have pre-meal, but one loaf of bread was filled with cinnamon and the other was filled with a grated-up cheesecake substance. That makes it sound horrible but it was delicious in a gross, self-hating sort of way.
But regrets did not stop after devouring the two loaves. Oh no. They were just the beginning. Next came our soup: vegetable broth with vegetables. Very standard “I got this is a box and heated it up” sort of thing. Ate that. Started feeling full. Then I thought, shoot, I still have a burger coming that is served with coleslaw, french fries, and a pickle. And I wanted pie. Hmmm.
Burgers: horribly amazing. My friend ordered the “breakfast burger,” which is like a breakfast burrito but a burger. It consisted of mad meat topped with cheese, egg, and bacon. I had the “Amish burger” because why the hell not. It had similarly mad meat, Canadian bacon (but, real talk, are there Amish people in Canada?), cheese, and a singular tomato slice. So, clearly, that with slaw and fried potatoes made a healthy meal, right? I felt like a Norse lord after the hunt with the grease from multiple layers of meat dripping down my chin, only to mop it up with a french fry. I didn’t actually eat it like that but it is good imagery.
About a quarter way through the burgers, my friend and I promptly keeled over and died a sad, sloppy death. But, if we hadn’t had died, we might’ve order a piece of peanut butter chocolate cake to go and ate it later despite the fact that the burger still sits with me to this day.
Mastoris: go there but be prepared i.e. don’t expect to leave the multiple dining rooms alive. Also, request to sit in a cool room.