Chef DiBari Opens Eugene’s Diner in Port Chester...Hot Damn, This Aint No Average Diner

Kristin L. Wolfe
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Connecticuters! Time to cross the border….No walls to be found over there in Port Chester, New York where you’ll find a truly stellar diner serving up some out-of-this-world, groovy meals. When you walk in, especially if you are my age (eh hem 40 something something), you’ll be transported back to the days of wall-to-wall paneling and all the rust and brown your heart desires. With rugs on walls, aquariums, and I-swear-that’s-my-grandma's wallpaper, somehow the 70s just look better in the noughty oughts. 

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Photo: Andrew Dominick

When you shake yourself from the timewarp, you’ll sidle up to the counter--truly the best seat in the house-but it will not be your everyday diner affair. It is, as the brand describes itself,“diner-inspired.” So what that really means is, yes, you can get breakfast all day and yes, there are regulars at the counter, and yes, they even have spinning cake cases, and lots of clinking silverware, but the similarities end there. This is a diner where a truly experienced Chef and creative team come to play, be inspired, and frankly, knock your socks off. So, you want pancakes? They’ll present you with pancakes in a plump piled stack like you’ve never seen, and should you be feeling a bit bougie, you can get them with a side of foie gras. No joke. You want French Toast? Just try and bite into these pillows of deliciousness without gasping. Something besides lego-my-eggo waffles? Sure, have them with some Marrow AND butter. Toast and eggs? Well, of course, but I’ll take mine with caviar, thank you very much. That’s how they do it over the border at Eugene’s Diner.

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Chef David DiBari is no stranger to creativity in the kitchen. He has already garnered quite the following with his list of restaurants like The Cookery, DoughNation Pizza Truck, and more recently, The Parlor. As he told me at the counter, while I slurped their Flamingo Beach cocktail, a truly sassy version of the much talked about Aperol Spritz of late, DiBari explained that he wanted to have a place where anything goes and where creativity and spectacular ingredients reign supreme. Well, uh, Chef, you’ve mastered that in spades.

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Photo: Andrew Dominick

My first dive into such splendor was the matzo ball soup. No, this wasn’t the tired grey dense little balls that fall apart at a corner diner in the city. This was a massive pillow that was herby and full of texture in a broth that tasted like it was on your Bubbe’s stove all day.

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Then, I swear I ventured into a galaxy of eggs never traversed before. I am drooling as I type this….over eggs for gosh sake!? Yep, the Crispy Salt and Pepper Eggs with ginger and scallion were Everything. Crunchy, salty, velvety. If it wasn’t for the fact that I needed to spread my palate to other dishes, I would have been happy with that. Who knew eggs could blow my mind?

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Those few things are already reason enough to race to Eugene’s, not to mention, this happening place is named after DiBari’s grandfather who used to take him to a diner every Sunday. [Insert heart emojis]

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Now, I’m not much of a hot dog gal, but always up for an adventure. These are super long, lean and, like everything on your plate at Eugene’s, made in house, so the innards are, well, describable. I loved the crunchy onions and the housemade, potent mustard for sure.

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Who doesn’t like a meatloaf, especially if it’s topped with the richest dark gravy and foie gras? This is deep, it’s full-bodied and there’s no way it can be used as a hockey puck, like the many meatloaves that assaulted our youth.

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These are just a few of the tasty items you will find at Eugene’s Diner and with even more worth your attention. The decor is out of this world, the service it top notch, and surprise, surprise the food is drool-inducing.

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Eugene’s Diner in Port Chester...It’s Dy-No-Mite.

Eugene’s Diner
12 N. Main St., Port Chester, New York.
914-481-5529