Clifton New Jersey’s beloved legendary Tick Tock Diner has officially reopened after a 10-week renovation with a completely new interior, new executive chef, modernized menu, expanded bar, and new The Mick Jagger breakfast sandwich. Known for his international restaurant design, architect Richard Bloch has revamped the interior for the first time in 25 years to create a warmer, more comfortable space while maintaining the classic look and feel that has made Tick Tock a local institution since it first opened on busy Route 3 in 1948.
While the iconic exterior and neon signs remain intact, the new Tick Tock interior bridges the Art Deco diner style of the past with the more stylish ambiance of restaurants today. Each of the two rooms has its own identity. The front room now has a larger bar moved to the opposite side doubling as a dining counter and cozy bright red booths, while the main room has a new white terrazzo floor, as well as new ceiling with Art Deco–reminiscent design elements plus all-new furnishings: colorful, block-patterned banquettes and black walnut tables. The entire kitchen was also replaced with brand new equipment. Bloch, who has led design projects on over 200 restaurants, including New York City’s Masa and State Grill & Bar in the landmark Empire State Building, is also working on projects at American Dream complex in nearby East Rutherford.
New executive chef Stephen Whiteman (formerly of Randolph, New Jersey’s Black River Barn) has been tasked with updating the menu, while making sure that diner classics remain as good as ever. A fan of Tick Tock since the ’80s when he first started visiting the diner, chef Whiteman is a New Jersey native and has worked in some of the state’s best-known restaurants and country clubs, starting at The Ryland Inn under Craig Shelton
While diner favorites such as breakfast eggs, omelets, pancakes, waffles, sandwiches, burgers, and milkshakes are still available around the clock, including newcomer The Mick Jagger with Taylor ham (pork roll), two fried eggs, and American cheese on a brioche bun with disco fries, some have been updated and new dishes added to reflect how we eat today: more salads and bowls, seasonal ingredients, free range chicken, slow cooked meats, fresh fish, and more. As much is made in house as possible, including fries from fresh potatoes, salad dressings made from scratch, and house-baked pies and cakes. The expanded coffee program now also features Cold Brew, Nitro Cold Brew, and French Press coffee made with beans from the local roaster Lacas Coffee Co.
Dinner offerings have expanded as well with salads like Greens, Grains & Garden Bowl with quinoa, hummus, barley, and avocado; fish and seafood dishes such as Sea Scallops with cauliflower purée, string beans, pomegranate seeds, and lemon butter sauce and Atlantic Salmon with vegetable fricassee and fingerling potatoes; and meat entrées like Braised Boneless Short Rib, Pan Roasted Free Range Chicken, Oven Moussaka, and Baby Back Ribs. Vegetarian and vegan options, including Beyond Meat meatless burger and sausages, are available as well.