There is something sacred about an Average Joe and his diner experience. The solitude and confidence that come from sitting at the counter of a diner by myself has grown exponentially as I’ve got older. Whereas at one time the thought of eating a meal by myself was panic inducing, now it is a welcomed event. Nestled at the top of Hoosick Street in Troy is one of the most consistently delicious diners in all of Rensselaer County. It sits beyond the shopping plazas and the car dealerships that I always forget are there until I drive by. At one point I thought I had driven passed the restaurant until the tiny establishment careened into view. With nothing but a cow on the sign that plainly reads Duncan’s, many unsuspecting consumers wouldn’t give the place the time of day, but once inside all that fades away because you become consumed with the aroma of the homemade fresh baked breads that are made daily.
Duncan’s won’t win the awards for most stylish or contemporary, but it will be remembered for the sense of family. Upon entering I took a seat around the large counter that takes up most of the restaurant, with a dozen or so tables looming in the back. After checking the menu momentarily, a waitress was right over to the counter to make sure I was being waited on. Behind her many other women wove in and out of the small cook space carrying hot plates and ringing out customers in a steady rhythm. The dynamic behind the counter adds to Duncan’s charm because you can feel the pride the family has for the restaurant, opened since 1939. Their playful bickering fills the air and the customers seem to appreciate being let in on their little jokes.
I ordered an omelet with American cheese, side of bacon and rye toast. More importantly, I ordered chocolate milk and shamelessly blew bubbles into it with my straw immediately. My food was served within minutes and the portions were anything but small. The omelet oozed with cheese that was actually melted instead of slapped on and while the bacon had crunch, it wasn’t overcooked and flavorless. The rye bread was my favorite however. Buttered to perfection it brought the crunchy taste of the bacon and the warm omelet together for a perfect sandwich.
While eating I couldn’t help notice how many people were ordering loafs of bread from the counter. Making and selling their own bread is something Duncan’s prides themselves on, and they should – it’s delectable.
After not being able to finish my breakfast I had to see what all these people were obsessing over and I bought a loaf of raisin bread to share with my family over the upcoming holidays. Although I’m pretty sure I already know how it will taste.
The prices are more than fair, especially for the portion sizes available and the small town atmosphere is a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of city life that is present just down the hill.
If you’re looking for a great place to eat – you better get there quick, Duncan’s closes for the winter. Their last day is Sunday, December 23rd. Afraid you won’t have time, don’t worry, they open early…like 4:00 a.m. early.
Duncan’s Dairy Bar is located at 890 Hoosick Road in Troy.