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Oakhurst Diner

I’ve lived in the tristate region all my life and have sampled many of its pleasures but the area still offers up surprises. I encountered one just last week.

I had visited the Harney Tea Shop in Millerton and was looking for lunch. Finding all my favorite places closed, I wandered over to the Oakhurst Diner. Quelle surprise! s The modest-looking 1950s Silk City Diner offers a rich and varied menu that draws rave reviews from patrons.

One woman lauded omelets that were “so light and fluffy” while another was overcome with enthusiasm for the “Little Buddy”—a dish crafted from kale, diced bell peppers, sausage and bacon, topped with American cheese and two sunny-side up eggs. “The kale kind of scared me,” the reviewer wrote but reported he finally ordered it on his second visit. “So glad I tried it,” it he enthused.

And that is the attraction of this unassuming little eatery with its retro vibe. On the afternoon we visited (well past the usual lunch hour), it was jammed with diners ordering their favorites from a menu that offers both standard diner fare as well as more exotic dishes. It is vegetarian friendly and features a number of Asian dishes. After all, how many diners serve hand-rolled vegetable spring rolls?

The diner, owned since 2010 by Paul Harney, Justin and John Panzer sources local and specialty foods from premier producers such as Ronnybrook Farm and Herondale beef. Such quality might be expected from owners of their ilk.

Paul Harney is the son of John Harney, a former Salisbury restauranteur and founder of Harney’s Fine Teas. Like his father Harney travels extensively for business, enjoying the process of trying new products and tastes. Thus, each table is furnished with bottles of such condiments as Clancy’s fancy hot sauce—ooh-la-la, is it hot! — and Grama’s sweet sauce from Thailand, while Justin Panzer, a former chef at Lutece and Craft in New York City, has influenced the menu offerings.

The diner is open Thursday through Monday during winter months.