The Park Wood Diner in Maplewood
Monday, September 23, 2013 • 7:13am
I’m beginning to think there is a general return to Diners. Years ago, there were lyrics to a song conveying the great food you’re served in a diner as: “Dinner in a Diner, Nothing could be finer.”
And that’s why you should plan a trip to the Park Wood Diner in Maplewood.
The nicest folks are there to greet you at the Park Wood Diner in Maplewood. Purchased some eight years ago by Proprietors Fifi and Pete Kikianis of Fairfield, and Pete’s brother, Head Chef Tommy Kikianis, you owe it to yourself to find your way to this remarkable dining spot.
Both Pete and Fifi began their dining careers as managers in a variety of Diners throughout New Jersey. “Pete not only served as a manager, he earned his stripes as a head chef as well,” said Fifi Kikianis who serves as a Manager, and overall “Can-Do” person at the Park Wood Diner.
Fifi began working at Holly’s Diner in Hackensack. “It’s now known as The Coachhouse,” she said. “I began as their hostess, then took the job of scheduling the staff. And all the while, I was attending William Paterson University. Believe it or not, I actually left school to foster my Diner career. I really loved working in Diners.”
“Pete and I met at a diner in Nutley where we both served as managers. I worked all day, and he worked all night. We managed to work together on Saturday night.”
When asked how they found the time to be together, Fifi replied, “When you find the right person, you find the time to be together.
We married in April 1993. Ten years later, we began the search for our own business.”
“Someone told us about a diner that was vacant in Maplewood,” she continued. “We were dismally distressed when we saw how really unkempt it was, but actually realized it had potential. We decided to assume ownership of the abandoned facility.”
“It took three months to accomplish a complete interior renovation. We kept the tables, changed all of the kitchen equipment like broilers and grills, and did an enormous amount of cleaning.”
”We officially opened, May, 2005. People did not come right away. It was a very slow start. But one-by-one as they visited, “Word-of-Mouth prevailed. Our restaurant received great reviews, because people really love our food!”
Their salads are remarkable. Just follow the Munchmobile and Peter Genovese of the Star Ledger, who, believe it or not, visited the Park Wood Diner this past summer. “Our favorite was the Popeye, with spinach, mushrooms, prosciutto, bacon, and mozzarella,” he said.
My personal favorite is the John’s Salad, a mix of baby greens, tomatoes, feta, fresh strawberries and mango in a balsamic vinaigrette. ($10.25).
But the Park Wood Diner is composed of many favorites. First off, order an enormous bowl of Chicken Noodle soup with a gigantic Matzoh Ball, and vegetables, then move on to stuffed Baby Salmon with spinach and feta cheese. Enjoy Catfish with Vermouth, and a broiled Seafood Combo with scallops, baked stuffed clams, shrimp and salmon. Then there is fresh filet of Lemon Sole with lemon butter sauce, and Swordfish steak. Guests are also welcome to feast on Burgers, Italian Club Sandwiches with French Fries, Quesadillas, Turkey many different ways, and whatever else your heart desires. (Soups: $2.75-$5.50). The Park Wood Diner has it all!
Yes, there is a Kid’s Menu for children under 12, and it is served with ice cream, jello, or chocolate pudding, and milk.
But no matter what, please do not leave Park Wood Diner without dessert. From Apple Pie or Chocolate Cream Pie, ($3.25 each), to their famous Carrot Cake, and New York Style Cheese Cake, it’s all worth every bite.
Yes, they offer take-out, but do yourselves a big favor and take family and friends to the Park Wood Diner. You’ll be impressed!
What: Park Wood Diner, 1958 Springfield Avenue, Maplewood, New Jersey
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. 7 days a week
FYI: Parking on the premises. Major credit cards accepted. Casual dress. Great place for small parties. Wheelchair accessible. Call for take-out and catering menus.
Reminder: Believe it or not, Thanksgiving will soon be here. Do order a selection of Chef Tommy’s pies. I’ve got my order in for a Lemon Meringue and Blueberry pie. I do believe there are none better!
Dinner for 3: $47.00 (includes tax and tip)
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Best for a great week~
Millicent K. Brody is an award-winning writer and photographer and a resident of Westfield, New Jersey. Contact her at Mkbrody@aol.com
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