Illustration by staff illustrator Sakura Siegel.
It’s 11 p.m. on a Friday night. You’re tired, hungry and are just leaving – what was previously known as – Hudson Lanes, a bowling alley which is on the border of Jersey City and Bayonne.
Almost every fast food place and restaurant nearby is closed – except Broadway Diner. It’s just a three-minute walk away.
Broadway Diner has been a staple for the Bayonne community for about 50 years. But co-owner Janet Coviello told Slice of Culture that the diner has been there for more than just Bayonne.
“Our customers are so loyal. We love our Jersey City people, we love our Bayonne people… Hudson County comes to the Broadway Diner,” Coviello said.
The diner, located on 1075 Broadway, has over 2,000 reviews on Google and has an average rating of 4.2 stars. They’re known for their breakfast, but most specifically, their pancakes, which they describe as “the world’s best pancakes.” Those words are plastered on the inside and outside of the diner.
Coviello and her husband, Rocky, took over the diner around 32 years ago. The two kept the place running after Rocky’s family passed the reins to them.
But – like many local businesses – when the COVID-19 pandemic came around in March 2020, the diner was struggling.
At that time, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued a state-wide stay-at-home order, which put residents in near lockdown mode as an attempt to curb the coronavirus outbreak. Broadway Diner closed, but still did deliveries. Coviello’s son, who is also named Rocky, left his finance job to help his parents.
The order was eventually lifted in June 2020. Coviello said when they were able to re-open, they held barbecues outside.
“The community was so supportive of us,” she said.
But the diner still needed help.
So in came Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, a popular sports and pop culture blog and media company. The company started a grant program and has raised more than $8 million to date. It funded thousands of small businesses, and Broadway Diner was one of the first places to get a call.
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) January 17, 2021
A friend of Coviello’s daughter helped the diner apply for the grant.
“I always say Dave was our angel,” Coviello said. “He really helped us and it really helped us so that we could keep our employees working and moving forward.”
“Dave was really the only one who helped us.”
Now, nearly three years later, Broadway Diner is able to stand on its own again. It’s no longer open for 24 hours, but it is open from 5 a.m. to 12 a.m. on weekdays and from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekends.
Today, if you go to Broadway Diner, you’ll most likely hear the loud chatter, the chiming silverware and the door constantly opening and closing – especially if it’s the weekend.
“I just have to say that we’re blessed to be here today after 32 years and we are still [full],” Coviello motioned to how busy it was on a Wednesday.
The Coviellos also own two other locations: 226 Broadway in Bayonne and 55 River Road in Summit. They also own The Chandelier, which is also in Bayonne.
Coviello’s son now helps run the diner as Janet and Rocky look towards retirement.