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Claremont Diner Cheesecake At Jack’s

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Your cheesecake is waiting
Your cheesecake is waiting

Raise a fork and cheer: The Claremont Diner’s cheesecake is now on the menu at Jack’s Cafe.

If you grew up in Verona, you probably had at least one meal at the Claremont Diner. It sat at the corner of Pompton and Bloomfield for four decades and was open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And if you had a meal at the Claremont, it usually ended with a slice of the best diner cheesecake on earth.

The Claremont, alas, is long gone; replaced by the DCH Acura dealership. But the cheesecake recently resurfaced, thanks to Vincent Lavingno, who joined the staff at Jack’s last year. Lavingno says he got the recipe from his grandmother, and doesn’t know how she came by it. However she did, it tastes like the real deal: rich, creamy and tangy–the kind of cheesecake that demands your full attention as you eat.

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Jack’s, which is owned by life-long Veronan Jack McNamara and his wife Marianne, isn’t baking the cheesecake in Claremont Diner quantities–yet. But if the slices are gone when you get there, don’t despair. Jack built his reputation on some of the tastiest soups (cream of mushroom and cream of sweet potato, to name just two) and most comforting comfort food in the area: meatloaf, baked macaroni & cheese and a build-your-own burger option, along with Chicken Francaise and a home-style pasta dish that pairs penne with broccoli, white beans and sausage.

Marianne McNamara says Jack’s is going to have discount coupons in the Money Mailer that will hit our mailboxes in April. But with a $5 lunch special daily and $9.95 dinners on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, do you really have to wait? Jack’s is located on Bloomfield Avenue near the Verona Post Office. It is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday to Saturday, from 4 to 9 p.m. for supper Tuesday to Saturday.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]

7 COMMENTS

  1. I moved to VA in 1994, but have fond memories of Verona and the CLaremont Diner. I will definitely have to check out Jack’s the next time I come to visit NJ, and get a piece of that cheesecake – I can almost taste it!!!! Also would like to see Vincent Lavingno, as we grew up together and graduated VHS in ’85.

  2. remembering back to the 80’s. Armando’s restaurant on Blmfld. Ave in Verona. He made the best ricotte cheesecake w/sambucca! Sadly, he has passed….. R.I.P. Armando.

  3. I do something similar to the Claremont Salad at the Country Club that I work at and the members love it. Although I’m not a cheesecake fan myself as a chef I would love to have thier recipe to share with my members or guests. They had quite the reputation for cheesecake.
    2 minutes ago ·

  4. I grew up in Montclair in the ’50s and the late, lamented Claremont was the best – no matter what they served. I gave up on ever getting good cheescake after the Claremont died — although the Marlboro Bakery in Montclair had the Claremont’s baker for a while and their cheesecake was terrific.

    The Claremont charged 15 cents for coffee in the 1950’s when everybody else charged 10 cents – but it was the best coffee in the world. I do have a recipe that duplicates the Claremont salad –but that cheesecake…I’ll believe it when I taste it.

    Thanks for the heads-up.

  5. I find it interesting that most people do not remember the Claremont or Weequahic cheese cake . Since I worked at both Diners along with my mother who managed the Weequahic and I worked along side Jeff the baker at the Claremont blending the ingredients and placing the raw cakes in the revolving oven. I have the original recipe and the crust was a flour shell covering the bottom and sides of the cake form, not a graham cracker bottom crust. And there were 2 heights. The dinner one was the the lower of the 2 with the ala carte taller. And we cut them with a knife dipped in hot water so the cheese cake would be easier to cut.

    And to those who truly remember, all you have to say is, ” I’ll meet you at the diner”, and you would go to the Weequahic. If you said, “i’ll meet you at the Claremont”, you knew where to go.

  6. Larry, do you also remember the coconut cream pie? Best I have ever tasted!! Any recipes available for this one…so light and whip cream airy; most are so custard heavy. Never one as delicious since, though A girl can dream.

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