Town & Country Diner is reopening today since the pandemic closed the Bordentown restaurant. They will be offering outdoor service under a tent and takeout from an adjusted menu. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Indoor dining will resume on July 2, limited to 25% capacity, per state reopening guidelines.
The local diner placed at the fork of Routes 130 and 206 in Bordentown has some new improvements despite its sign still displaying its long-standing name – Town & Country Diner.
In May of 2019, new management took over the diner and has brought major changes to the quality of food and hospitality.
This move was more than just a business decision. The Pamuk family that now owns and runs the location has been involved in the food industry for years, bringing with them a wealth of experience, and their daughters who manage the local eatery.
Mehmet Pamuk, the new owner of Town & Country, has been in the restaurant business for nearly 40 years. His son, Saban, runs Pandora Diner, on Route 206 in Mount Holly, 15 minutes down the road from the family’s new purchase.
Pamuk’s three daughters, Nuray, Senay and Gulay, and granddaughter, Ece, are in charge of Town & Country’s daily upkeep and running. Having been at the location for little over a year, the family has come to settle in and learn the ins and outs of the established diner.
“We just wanted to get everybody together, a big family all working together,” said manager Senay Pamuk.
The family has been residents of Mount Holly, in Burlington County, for over 30 years. Before that Senay’s parents originally immigrated from Turkey close to 40 years ago.
The Pamuks managed a small restaurant in Philadelphia before taking over Town & Country. Her father wanted to do something for the girls, Senay said. He went through about a year-long legal process of acquiring the diner locale for them.
“It’s like a family atmosphere actually,” patron and Hamilton resident Joe Piscopo said. “They have the daughter and everybody working here. The owner…he comes by and shakes my hand all the time. I think that’s really cool.”
Although the managerial work and decisions are left to the Pamuk daughters, Mehmet comes in nearly every afternoon to greet and speak to customers and see how everything is going.
His dedication to the diner goes beyond getting to know the clientele. He’ll come around to shake customers’ hands frequently and then other times he’ll be out cutting the grass, Piscopo said.
The family decided to keep the well-known name and plans on updating the interior as time goes on. From changing out rugs, to landscaping and cleaning, the diner continues to inch along with its alterations.
Tidying the place up and then focusing on what people really come in for – the food.
“Slowly but surely we’re going to do cosmetics…but that’s going to take a little time of course. It’s learning the place, learning how everything is going, that’s what we’re doing first,” Senay said.
Although this change in hands may not be visible by the décor yet, other significant changes have been noticed by customers.
“We get great service, we really do, and the food has totally changed…for the better,” long-time patron Judi Pollard said.
Other than sticking with the diner’s name, Town & Country decided to keep the original staff allowing them to uphold a rapport with the location’s regulars. With the addition of the accommodating Pamuk family and upped quality of food, the friendly wait staff remains a staple at the diner.
Even if there’s a wait for a specific server, customers are invited in for a cup of coffee and made to feel comfortable and at home, Hamilton resident Pollard said.
“We’re more alert,” Senay said. “We care more. We make sure that they’re getting the best service that there is.”
A switch of distributor and the fact that most of the menu items are made on the premises have allowed the diner to increase its quality of food, enough to draw the attention of other locals who had previously written the place off as a dud.
Bordentown resident of 16 years and two-year Yelp Elite reviewer Glenn Sherman and his wife have been all over their area in search of a diner. Having previously settled on one that was relatively far, Sherman decided to give Town & Country one more try when he noticed an “under new management” sign.
They had been let down before by the diner when it was under other management over the years but weren’t willing to give up on the close-by establishment.
The couple was welcomed in by friendly staff and greeted by the owner at one point during their visit. The food was so much better that they have frequented the location nearly every week for lunch since revisiting it.
“The people there…they make the place too,” Sherman said. “They’re great. Like everyone who waits on you, they can’t be friendlier.”
Sherman has written about 200 Yelp reviews on restaurants everywhere from Manhattan and Jersey City to Philadelphia and around his hometown. He wrote a rave review on Town & Country after revisiting it back in January.
“Town & Country is our new favorite Jersey diner hands down,” Sherman said in his online review. “The classic new modern diner atmosphere is perfect. The staff is super friendly and fun. The food is just delicious. The baked goods and cakes look incredible.”
Sherman has spread the word online and by word of mouth to friends that Town & Country’s improvements have earned it a second chance.
It’s not only customers that have experienced a difference. Server and hostess at Town & Country for almost 10 years, Katie Burdge has recognized the new owners’ efforts to better the establishment. When they first came in, she could tell that the Pamuks were “diner people” and “knew how to run a restaurant.”
Burdge explained that the multiple previous owners weren’t the right fit for the diner. Now working with the Pamuk daughters, she has realized their dedication to the restaurant.
“You can tell they really care,” she said.
The new managers have expressed that they have received positive feedback from their customers and hope to continue to provide a heightened level of hospitality.
The owner’s granddaughter, Ece, works as a hostess, at the cashier and helps design the welcome board and cake counter. Starting in mid-October last year, Ece likes to put her creative touch on the dessert case and more, bringing yet another layer of attention to detail.
“I think they [customers] really like us,” she said. “I think they know that the quality has went up. I really like hospitality. It’s something that I actually genuinely enjoy.”
The Pamuk’s friendly and accommodating ways have added a new allure to the diner. That along with the quality of food has certainly put the diner back on the map.
“I think they [customers] can tell I’m genuine and that we’re all genuine here,” Ece said.
Town & Country Diner is located at 177 US-130 in Bordentown Township.