The Lantern

1138 Ringwood Avenue, Haskell, NJ 07420-1517 (973) 616-8801 ‎

Don’t be fooled by your first impressions of The Lantern. It has the look and feel of a regular fast food chain restaurant on the outside, but the quality of the food sets it apart from its competition’s Golden Arches. Its more like a diner disguised as a fast food place.

The Place- We’ve got a bunch of choices here: Burgers, Hot Dogs, Sandwiches,…even calamari? Yup. Also, I like the atmosphere of the restaurant. The tile and the seats make me feel oddly nostalgic for fast food places of the 1980′s. I seriously don’t know how to describe that any better.

The Onion rings - are best described by what they are not: They are not stringy, not too thin, and not soggy. I love to start out my meal with good, perfectly fried Onion Rings.

The Hotdogs - are cooked in the fryer, and they are delicious. The regular dogs are not over-cooked and dry, but still juicy and meaty. I’ve had them a few times and they are consistently tasty. The all the way dog was loaded with chili that had just the right amount of spiciness. It was hot, but not so hot that it drowned out the great, meaty taste.

The Pickle Bar - Yup. That’s right. A pickle bar. Not just a table full of ketchup and ‘fixin’s', but an actual buffet of pickles. There’s only a handful of choices, but it helps set the Lantern apart from other fast food places.

The Burger - Was thick, and char-broiled, and way above fast food quality. It was really more like a burger you’d get from a diner. They even cook it to order for you, which fast food won’t do for you. Its a pretty good value, too, because the price is way below that of a diner’s. Also, I liked the burger’s juiciness. That’s not to say it was greasy, it was just that the burger had a lot more moisture to it than you’d expect a charbroiled burger to have.

The Drive Thru - The Lantern is so committed to convincing you that its a fast food place, they even have a drive thru. The drive thru here is different though, as you have to wait for your food for a longer time than you would at one of those chains, but whether you get drive thru or not, the quality of the food is the same. (I tried it a couple of times). Think of it more as getting an order to go, but you don’t have to leave your car (which was probably the original intent of drive thrus, anyway)

Ice cream - There’s also a mini ice cream parlor in the Lantern. There’s a lot of ice cream choices, but I didn’t have room after I ate. If I was going to get ice cream, I’d probably come just for the ice cream. Going here for just for a cone in the summer would be fun.

All in all, I liked it here a lot. The food is great, and its not even fair to put this place in the same catergory with fast food. Even the price was good: $5.35 for burgers and fries. Not bad. You could certainly do worse. So…Go and eat.