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Change is good at Gram’s Diner in Adams


ADAMS — Gram’s Diner has been a fixture in the heart of downtown Adams for many years.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside. It doesn’t look like much from the inside, either.

Plain and simple, Gram’s Diner is old and dated. The handmade sign out front has been there since the ’60s. The carpet and tile on the floor are overdue for updating. The naugahyde booth seats are worn. The dark brown ’70s paneling is clean and shiny … but old and dated.

We got there just before the lunch hour got into full swing. Hangers-on from breakfast were still there, clutching their empty coffee cups.

By noon, the place was quickly filling up. Seniors. Families. Workers on their lunch break. Teens out of school on spring break. Customers going table to table, chit-chatting with their friends and neighbors.

And us. Like three people who just dropped in from outer space.

But we got the same smiling attention from our server, Monica, that the locals did. “Do you need menus?” she asked, as though we were regulars and had our favorites in mind.

It’s a relatively simple menu with all the diner necessities: classic sandwiches like hot beef or turkey, grilled ham and cheese, egg salad and tuna salad. Salads and homemade soups. Deep-fried favorites. Burgers five ways. Potatoes five ways.

You can even get sides like spaghetti with sauce, vegetable of the day and, on Fridays, mac and cheese.

We got a bowl of the soup of the day, vegetable beef. The stock wasn’t as beefy-hearty as we would have liked, but there were plenty of vegetables including carrots, green beans, celery, potatoes and zucchini, and a smattering of beef cubes.

Homemade beef barbecue was delicious. It came on a large bun, the meat and sauce and coleslaw flowing onto the plate. The red barbecue sauce was slightly sweet and very tasty — reminded us of Dinosaur Barbecue’s Sensuous Slathering Sauce that we like very much.

A side of freshly made potato salad contained lots of green pepper, celery, egg and onion but very little seasoning, so we felt it was generally bland.

Bacon cheeseburger consisted of a 6-ounce char-grilled patty with three strips of crispy bacon sandwiched between two pieces of American cheese. It comes standard with “the works” — lettuce, tomato, mayo, onions and pickles — and potato chips.

As is the case with most diners, we were not asked our preference of doneness of the meat. While we might have liked it cooked less than medium-well, it was still a juicy and nicely seasoned hamburger.

Tuna melt consisted of flavorful tuna salad and yellow American cheese between two pieces of deli bread that had been uniformly grilled with lots of butter. Excellent! A side of homemade coleslaw was equally good.

Portions were more than adequate. A smart eater would have asked for the check right about now. But in the interest of fair and accurate and complete reporting, we ordered dessert.

Nutella mousse pie had a homemade-looking chocolate crumble crust filled with Nutella (hazelnut chocolate spread) whipped into a mousse-like filling — not exactly light and fluffy like one would expect from a mousse, but nonetheless very good.

Monica talked up the homemade brownie and offered it three ways: plain, with vanilla ice cream or as a sundae with ice cream and hot fudge sauce.

We ordered it plain with chocolate sauce on the side. It was a very good brownie, large-sized with a bonus — chocolate chips in the mix. For a chocolate lover, a delightful dessert.

Carrot cake was also a large rectangular hunk, about an inch thick, that appeared to be cut from a sheet tray. The super-sweet classic cream cheese icing was half as thick as the slab of cake — causing us to scrape some of it off to be able to enjoy the moist, yummy cake underneath it.

Most of our desserts wound up in to-go boxes and were enjoyed equally well at home the next day.

Lunch for three came to $42.97 before tip.

Overall, the place was clean and homey. New owners, previous employees, took over Gram’s the first of the year and have plans to update the dining room and the bathrooms (sorely needed) as time and money permit.

Monica was a gem, congenial and welcoming. She has worked there for quite a while — before and after the transition of ownership — and knew everything about the menu.

The dated appearance of the restaurant aside, the food was solid. They also serve breakfast (eggs, pancakes, french toast, omelets) and a dozen dinner selections that include steaks, Italian specialties, chicken and seafood dishes.

Breakfast begins at 7 a.m. and is served until noon. Lunch begins at 10:30 a.m. Dinner selections are available from noon until closing, around 8 p.m.

New ownership doesn’t always mean changes for the good. But the near standing-room-only lunch crowd indicates that they’re doing something right — Gram’s was the village meeting place before and it continues to be now.

You can contact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via email:

Gram’s Diner

13 Main St.

Adams, N.Y.


A classic diner with solid food and a folksy atmosphere.

HOURS: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday

7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Closed Sunday (for now…)

OUR PICKS: Beef barbecue sandwich, tuna melt, carrot cake

RATING: 3 forks

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