It’s been four months since the Landmark Diner moved into its new double-decker digs, and the newest menu items are the flat-screen computer terminals that grace each of the 15 booths. By touching the screen, diners can access not only the diner’s Web site and menu, but also computer games, videos, a virtual jukebox, news and sports. They can also surf the Web or check e-mail. I had myself some meta-fun: from my booth I checked out Wikipedia’s entry on Roslyn (population 2,570) and read this very blog.
At one table, four gentlemen were tapping away on the screen during their dinner. “You can look up the calories in what you are eating,” said Arturo from Lancaster who preferred not to give his last name. Added Jimmy Lopez of Manhasset, “You can play games if your companion is boring.''
Since the move, said co-owner Lou Tiglias, the diner has doubled its sales and brought in new customers. Nevertheless, there are old-timers who miss the old building and the old menu. Accordingly, Tiglias and executive chef Chris Palmer have tweaked the menu, making room for some abandoned favorites, among them individual cans of tuna and sardines, and egg salad. Palmer stands firm in his refusal to cook the diner staple “chicken gyro,” made from prefabricated loaves, but he has concocted his own turkey gyro from ground turkey and Greek seasonings.
Then there’s the omelet battle. Palmer has been making classic French-style omelets, tender, gently folded, made in a proper omelet pan, but some customers demand the kind where the egg is poured out onto the griddle, cooked dry and then rolled up. “If I had cooked eggs like that in culinary school,” he said, “I would have failed.” The compromise: Landmark is serving both French and “pancake-style” omelets.
It was tough going the first few months, Tiglias said, dealing with some customers' perennial criticisms, but he's become pretty philosophical. Gesturing to a couple settling up with the cashier he remarked, “They come in every day for lunch and dinner—and they complain every time.”
The Landmark Diner is at 1027 Northern Blvd., Roslyn, 516-304-5387.
Dominic Calisto, left, and Jimmy Lopez, both of Manhasset, with the new flat-screen computer terminal at Landmark Diner. Newsday photo / Erica Marcus