Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hilton Family Restaurant

Hilton Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon
52 Hovey Street, Hilton
Written by Tyler
(Image courtesy of rochester.metromix.com)
As we stated in The Situation the Hilton Family Restaurant (HFR for short. Thanks, Mr. D’Amico) is basically our standard for how we judge restaurants. We grew up eating there, and it feels more and more like home each time we go back.

It’s the quintessential small-town, greasy spoon, enter-cliché-here diner, with nothing fancy about it. And we love it.

Aside from the old non-smoking section being opened up to all diners once New York State law banned smoking inside restaurants, no major changes have really occurred at HFR, it seems.

It has basically been the same since its inception in 1986. If you’re from Hilton, you will probably know more than half the people in HFR at any given time, and it seems like most Hilton residents consider themselves regulars, which provides for a great, tight-knit, small-town atmosphere that we look for in the restaurants we visit.

Families pour in after church on Sunday, and students fill it on half days or off days from school. Actually, the restaurant is fairly crowded most days, but especially on weekend mornings, though there is plenty of seating and I don’t think I’ve ever had to wait to be seated.

The prices are very fair, meaning a lot of “bang for the buck” as we call it, the service is always very efficient and the staff is very friendly.
As for the food – HFR has good dinners, from my experience. Some people say their dinners are inconsistent, though I personally haven’t had a bad experience. The Super (double) Cheeseburger is a popular pick and has left me satisfied every time I’ve had it, especially when complemented by the home fries, which I’ll address momentarily.
To be honest though, I get breakfast at least 90 percent I dine at HFR, so I can’t really say too much about the lunch and dinner choices. But, yeah, the breakfast is that good.

We’ll start with the home fries – greasy, but crispy and just the right size. Basically, you have to get them if you order breakfast (or any meal, I suppose) here, and they do come with most breakfast entrees. I’m not completely sure where exactly the crispiness comes from, but it really sets these home fries apart from the rest of the pack.

My dad has said for years these are the best home fries he has ever had. We have had good home fries at other restaurants, but nothing has quite matched that of HFR’s. Put salt, pepper, ketchup or whatever you want on them, but these home fries taste good no matter how they are topped.
Another popular choice is the breakfast sandwich ($3.25), which comes with eggs (made to order), choice of meat (either of the three – bacon, ham or sausage – are all safe bets) and cheese on either a hard roll (my preference), bagel, toast, croissant or whatever else you can think of that makes sense. It’s the perfect balance of each of the components of the sandwich, and did I mention it comes with home fries?

The many omelets (usually $4-5), with just about any option you can imagine, are frequented by several of my friends, always to satisfaction. The pancakes and French toast never disappoint and the toast is a great complement to any breakfast. Nothing kicks off a great breakfast like a delicious chocolate milk, by the way.
One thing that bothers me is when people around town, usually kids, refer to HFR as “the family diner” or “the diner.” That’s false; it’s the Family Restaurant. I guess that does show how regularly people visit HFR and makes it seem like it’s something that’s a given among Hiltonians. I guess I can live with that, though I prefer the proper name.
Contrary to another review I read, HFR does have takeout available. It’s like bringing home a slice of home, if that makes any sense.
They don’t take credit or debit, cash only, but there is a conveniently located ATM next to the register– perfect for some of our buddies who don’t normally have cash on hand (cough … Jay Clifford). It’s just another thing about HFR that has never changed, which I commend them for.
Are we biased? Absolutely. Many of these things aren’t much different from other family restaurants, but, again, this place makes us feel at home. No other restaurant can possibly have that authentic home feel HFR does, and that’s why it is the ‘A’ standard for all the places we dine at.

Ratings:
Service/Atmosphere- To reiterate, the service is excellent (friendly staff, orders ready quickly) and we feel at home whenever we come.
Food- Typical diner menu, but, at least from my experience, consistently good. I’ve never been disappointed by an HFR meal. Greatest home fries on Earth. Awesome breakfast.
Value- One of the more affordable places around, with great portions for the price. The standard for our emphasis on “bang for the buck,” you get the best value for your money.
Overall- Consistently good food, with the value and atmosphere, especially, putting it over the top. The standard for what we like in a restaurant. A place we really don’t think twice about going to when the opportunity arises.
Grade: A-
















Note: A new version of the menu has recently been introduced. Some of the prices have changed slightly and there are a few new items.

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