Last weekend, the boy and I had another boys day out. We’ve been planning to go to a big toy show out in Warminster for months, but before heading out to Bucks County, we decided some sustenance was in order. We had actually planned to just have some crappy McDonald’s breakfast since we were planning to drop some cash at the convention, but when we got to Ronald’s place the lady at the counter advised me that they “weren’t serving breakfast today” (at 8:00 in the morning?!?). No problem…we’re out! So instead, we drove down the street to a little shopping plaza diner that I pass by every day and have always wanted to stop at – Jem Restaurant.
Jem is a 50’s-themed diner with the checkerboard floor, vinyl chairs and booths, and photos of classic cars, old movie stars, and lots of knick-knacks on the walls. They’re located in the Swede Square Shopping Center and they’re actually really easy to miss if you don’t know they’re there. Which makes this place the perfect hidden gem.
And anyplace that hangs a sign like this in the dining room is cool with me 🙂
Jem was pretty packed the entire time we were there. A constant, steady stream of families and obvious regulars came and went with smiles and full bellies. It was really, really nice to see. I don’t think I’ve experienced the homey diner feel quite like this since exploring PA’s eateries. The owner, Tony Bello, even came and introduced himself with a handshake as soon as we were seated (he had no idea I was there reviewing the restaurant). He was a cheerful fellow, the kind of guy you’d imagine that runs a place like this. He told us they had been around, and in fact in that very spot, for 43 years! Jem is a family-run restaurant, with Tony’s wife, kids, and other family members all working hard to make sure their customers are comfortable and happy.
Jem serves breakfast and lunch, pretty much classic diner fare. Nothing too fancy on the menu, but they definitely offer enough variety to keep folks coming back. This was just page one of the breakfast menu. They also serve a full line-up of pancakes, French toast and waffles.
Our server was cheerful and friendly, and very likable. And she left a whole pot of diner coffee just for me! Talk about service!!
The boy has been on a S.O.S. kick lately, so he ordered Debbie’s Creamed Chipped Beef ($7.50). The large order included two slices of toast (he chose wheat) covered with a pool of creamy chipped beef goodness. They do have a single slice order for like a dollar cheaper, but he’s a growing boy, ya’ll. It came with his choice of shredded hash browns or diced redskin home fries.
I love having breakfast and spending time with my best little buddy.
I ordered a plate from their specials board, the Bacon & cheddar omelette w/hash browns & toast ($6.50). it appeared to be a 3-egger that was nicely cooked, and the hash browns were yummy as well.
I appreciated the fact that they used properly-cooked, semi-crispy bacon pieces to fill my egg blanket. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s rubbery, under-cooked bacon in an omelette. It definitely could have used a little more cheese (IMO), but overall it was really good.
I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Jem Restaurant. Like I said earlier, this place just has a certain charm about it that I’ve been missing. I think Mrs. Grub Guy would really like the environment here, not to mention the awesome folks and the good food. Since it’s so close to home, I’m sure we’ll be back. This is the kind of place I could become a regular at.
Pro Tip: Jem Restaurant is cash only, so don’t forget to hit up the ATM before you get here (but if you do forget, there’s an ATM inside!)
Jem Restaurant is located at 2931 Swede Rd, Norristown, PA 19401 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Friday, 6:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Saturday, 7:00 AM – 2:00 PM, and Sunday, 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM. For more info about Jem Restaurant, check out their Facebook page HERE.