444 North Avenue, Hilton
Visited May 21, 2010
Written by Drew
After getting out of school at 10:30 a.m. because of a half day, I thought it would be fitting to meet Tyler somewhere and cross yet another place off our list.
We found ourselves two miles north of the Village of Hilton at Jo’s Diner, and two miles south of the Lake Ontario State Parkway, on the corner of Route 259 and Curtis Road.
Jo’s has a strange location, as there really aren’t any other businesses within a few miles. The deceptively large building has housed numerous restaurants through the years, but none have lasted very long (Jo’s has been open since late 2008/early 2009, approximately).
Like the Lighthouse Diner, we were very deceived by the size of the restaurant. It appears small from the outside, but it was surprisingly quite large on the inside. There were three separate rooms that make you feel more at home and comfortable.
Two of the rooms are regular dining rooms – bright and squeaky clean – and the other has a few small tables and a countertop facing the kitchen. There were only a handful of other diners, though I think we missed the morning regulars.
Jo’s is said to have good breakfasts, so I skipped breakfast before school that morning because I was planning on eating a big meal. So, being extra hungry, I ordered a tall stack of buttermilk pancakes. While ordering this, the waitress looked down at me and asked me if I was sure. I stupidly insisted that I was really hungry. I made a mistake. I had three large, Frisbee-sized pancakes sitting in front of me. I was able to finish about one and a half of them.
Tyler sampled a few bites of pancake and was fairly impressed, saying they were nice and thick with a tasty crispiness on the outside, but fluffy on the inside.
Tyler also ordered breakfast, opting for two eggs with ham, home fries and toast. He said the scrambled eggs were better than any other egg dish he had recently, and said Jo’s home fries are the closest thing he’s had to those of Hilton Family Restaurant (HFR), which is his standard for home fries.
“The eggs were very good, they were some of the best I have had in a while,” he said. “The home fries were also very good... almost as good as HFR’s.”
He said the toast and ham were very average, but was impressed by the pancakes he sampled from my plate and pleasantly surprised by his eggs and home fries.
If you are planning on going to Jo’s Diner, you’ll have to do so within its very abnormal hours of operation; Tuesday through Thursday, plus Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is closed on Mondays.
Jo’s has a typical diner menu, but the portions (at least for breakfast) are relatively large. For lunch Jo’s offers mostly soups and sandwiches, and its Friday fish fries have received positive reviews.
Overall it was a pleasant surprise, as the prices were reasonable and the portions were filling. The atmosphere isn’t as lively and aesthetically pleasing as HFR, but the food was very comparable.
Service/Atmosphere: Friendly service, very honest waitress, average wait time, relatively clean. Jo’s out-back location doesn’t have the intimate small-town feel the HFR does in the heart of Hilton.
Food: Very comparable to HFR, which is our standard for greasy-spoon diners like this.
Value: We always talk about bang for the buck and quality, and the very large pancakes epitomized that.
Overall: Jo’s was pleasantly surprising, considering its somewhat remote location and the lack of success its building predecessors have had. We’ll definitely be back for a good breakfast.