Two years ago my husband and I were visiting family in Elmira, NY when our 1999 Ford Taurus shit the bed. Instead of making the 250 mile trip back home as planned, we were forced to spend an extra day in good ole Western New York. I was thrilled, and by thrilled I mean pissed. I was trying hard to make lemonade out of lemons, so I put a smile on my face and said, “lets get breakfast!”
Getting breakfast in Elmira is much easier to do when you have a car. Luckily, the car shop was right next door to Sullivan’s Diner. At the time, Sullivan’s Diner was a rusting tin box. I was very hesitant to try it out but, needless to say, I was not overwhelmed with options.
Sullivan’s Diner turned out to be a pleasant surprise! The food was average and greasy, but the comfortable atmosphere offered us a nice refuge from the stress of our car problems.The place was so small that there was almost no option but to talk to other diners. Like any typical New Yorker, I usually prefer to be left alone. On this day, however, friendly conversation is exactly what I needed!
Since that rainy day in 2011 Sullivan’s Diner has changed hands and “Sullivan” has been dropped from the name. The new owners have cleaned the place up and it looks better than ever! The metal is nice and Shiny, and the wooden edging that outlines the booths have been refinished. I’m sure the old regulars could care less about these alterations, but we visitors like them lots! My favorite addition to the interior is the marker for the water level of the Elmira flood of 1972.
So many residents were effected by this travesty, including my mother in law who was pregnant with her first son at the time. She lost many personal items in this flood and has many a story to tell about the event. This marker is a subtle reminder of the strength of the Elmira community.
The new menu is more sparse than the original, but you can still find all of the foods that you expect at a diner. My biggest critique is that there is no fruit on the menu. Nothing! Nada! Nein! But like I said before, the attraction of this diner is not the food. It is the experience of being welcomed into a community of friendly people (who don’t eat fruit).