Carnegie Diner & Cafe: A Holiday Brunch to Remember

by | Dec 20, 2023

The holiday spirit is in full swing with several celebrations amongst us from now through the New Year. With no shortage of festivities to partake in, deciphering which to choose can be a tiresome task. Fortunately for us, Carnegie Diner & Cafe, a Guru’s Magazine favorite, is full-on holiday ready with the ambiance and eats to match. Known for their witty sky-scraping milkshakes, decadent desserts and a burger confidently deemed “The Amazing” burger, Carnegie Diner delivers a holiday brunch to remember. 

If their 2022 Opentable Diners’ Choice award wasn’t indication enough, let us enlighten you on an experience that is sure to send you searching for a location nearest you. Our first-time visiting the iconic Carnegie Diner & Cafe was earlier this year for restaurant week in New York City. Not knowing what to expect from a city diner, aside from greasy dive food, we were blown away by Carnegie Diner’s culinary artistry. Naturally, when they announced the opening of their second location at 828 8th Ave in Times Square, we were first in the line to indulge. Endless trays of flavorful new recipes were ushered out to a ravenous crowd accompanied with endless mimosas and wine. For this reason alone, we were on a quest to partake in their live DJ, weekend brunch at their third location, in Secaucus, New Jersey.  

Upon arriving at Carnegie Diner & Cafe Secaucus, we were instantly met with larger than life Christmas decor; enormous ornaments, towering nut-crackers, Santa and his nemesis, The Grinch. Walking into what felt like Santa’s workshop, a warm merry feeling filled our hearts and sensibility as we waited to be seated. The staff were as friendly as elves as we received multiple greetings on the way to our booth. Our attentive server didn’t miss a beat offering us luscious signature seasonal drinks like candy cane hot chocolate to start. We ultimately decided on the unlimited mimosas which were pleasantly priced at $19.95 (bloody mary’s and bellinis are also available at this price). Our starters ranged from mozzarella sticks ($9.95) to coconut shrimp served with sweet chili sauce ($15.95) to buffalo chicken wings which were lightly crisped, bold in flavor ($12.95). 

Our meals arrived in a timely-manner. A testament to the attentiveness of our server and the manager Pamela Arlington. Alas, a beautiful medley of food: lobster rolls ($26.95), the powerhouse omelet ($20.95), fresh beer-battered fish and chips ($19.95), the smashed double stack burger with chipotle sauce ($22.95), and of course The AMAZING burger ($24.95), an organic cheeseburger served on a mac and cheese bun, cheddar cheese, bacon, fried egg, lettuce, tomato, and their homemade sauce. Conversation instantly ceased as we devoured our meals and expressed muted jolly in between bites. Beyond the point of no return, there was no way we were leaving without dessert. Landing on the colossal red velvet cake milkshake and their seasonal delicious candy cane hot chocolate topped with peppermint whipped cream. This was easily a top three brunch experience. 

To thank for this food coma affair was none other than, Executive Chef and owner, Stathis Antonakopoulos, whose culinary brilliancy and consistency is unparalleled. Three locations, each delivering flawless execution is no easy feat. In addition to Stathis’ position at Carnegie Diner & Cafe, his uncanny skill marrying simplicity with complexity makes all his undertakings worth finding. He also serves as the CEO of Carnegie Hospitality — which owns and operates Pizza & Shakes and Carnegie Catering, along with three ghost kitchens for delivery, including Organic Burger House, NYC Pancake House, and NYC Pastrami House.

Traditionally, the internet is full of “best restaurants” for the holidays, but in terms of innovation, taste, and customer service no one does it better than Carnegie Diner & Cafe. Whether visiting New York City for a classic Carnegie Theater night or the iconic Rockefeller tree lighting or looking for a fun brunch with a live DJ and a picture with Santa in New Jersey; Carnegie Diner is an elevated, quintessential diner experience like no other. 

To find hours of operation, current menu and location, visit

Carnegie Diner & Cafe
700 Plaza Drive
Secaucus, NJ 07094


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