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D E S O L A T I O N   D I N E R

Life is uncertain, eat dessert first --Anonymous

Ocean Circle/Ritz Diner, Neptune, New Jersey

explored & photographed by: Shady


On the Seaview Square traffic circle, in Neptune, sits this apparently abandoned diner that I happened to spy during a day trip I took once in NJ; I was just driving around aimlessly when I spotted the place and pulled into the lot to check it out...

I found various signs with two different names for the place- the Ritz Bakery & Restaurant, and the Ocean Circle Diner. The place must have changed hands a few times over the years, it does look like it's been here quite awhile. The building itself is fabulous- total classic retro diner style in all it's glory. Even though it's deserted, it still looks great. The soaring arches and geometrical lines of the architecture are wonderful, even in it's lonely state

diner023.jpg (103675 bytes)

Would you like a table in the Desolation Diner? The sign says "Open 7 Days, Breakfast Lunch Dinner"... somehow, I am doubting that. The parking lot is crooked and pitted with cracks, and weeds are poking their way through the crumbling concrete. Signs from the diner's past incarnations lie strewn both inside and outside of the restaurant

I could close my eyes and almost hear the echoes of clinking silverware and smell the fresh-brewed coffee. Inside, you can see how nice the diner was; now everything has been left to accumulate layers of dust. Dead leaves piles up around the edges of the empty parking lot, and a broken, discarded refrigerator lies out behind the building.

Hopefully, someone will save this neat-o diner and give it new life; it's a really cool building and it would be a waste to see it forgotten or destroyed...


*V I S I T O R   C O M M E N TS

Our pal Gene writes, "The Ritz Bakery was very successful and I don't know why it went out of business. It was famous for its NY style cheesecake and we used to go there on Sat. nights after the movies for a piece."

Ted writes in, "This abandoned diner was originally known as the L & M Diner (never found out what the initials stood for). It was built in the early '70's, and was quite a popular place to eat, as it was always packed. In later years it changed owners and became the Ritz, a busy place too...until the mid to late '90's, when it just fizzled out to become what you see today"

Tom R  has these fond memories of the place, "I live in San Jose California now, but I grew up in Monmouth County N.J. I was looking through the "abandoned" locations websites, & when I saw this diner I immediatly recognized the L&M Diner that is located right by the Seaview Square Mall on Hwy 35. My Dad used to take us there years ago. I remember a Greek decoration scheme, & blue sparkle upholstery on the booth & counter seats. I remember that the food was good. I havent been to a good diner since I was in NJ about a year ago. You just cant beat the food in that area. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!"

And Lou shares the following, "...we use to go there all the time, the bakery was my best part of the dinner, it was separate from the dinner and you could take out from there, everything was fresh and so good, dinner food was also very good with a large menu and was alway busy not sure either why it went out of biz, its located on the Asbury Circle in Ocean Twp"

MMM, sounds delicious... wish we had had the chance to sample that cheesecake for ourselves! Thanks for the info, you guys! -Shady

Do you have any background information or stories to tell about this abandoned site?


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