First Taste: JohnnyCakes in Nyack

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The former Skylark International Cafe is now JohnnyCakes. It’s still a diner, but the owners gave it a good scrub, a fresh coat of paint and an updated menu. I was there for brunch the other day.

First, a look around. The stools and counter are still there:

The table by the front window:

Now on to the food. French toast:

Sliders:

The “Baconater” omelet:

A chicken panino with bacon and avocado:

French fries with gravy:

And, the eponymous JohnnyCakes:

My impressions: Food was tasty, except, unfortunately, for the JohnnyCakes, which were so dry they crumbled. Johnny cakes are like pancakes, but made with cornmeal, and usually they’re fluffy and light and moist like pancakes. The omelet, French toast, panino and sliders were all pretty darn good. And those French fries with gravy — sinful. They are going to be someone’s savior at 2 in the morning, I’ll tell you.

Service was slow. We had a large group — six — but it took about 40 minutes to get our food. We kept ourselves entertained with the crayons and the white butcher paper on the tables, but that’s way too long for a diner. I was glad we didn’t have impatient little ones along with us.

The decor is much improved, even though they’re planning on doing more renovations come January. It’s amazing what some white paint and some elbow grease will do. It looks really welcoming — and I’m sure will be even more so after more renovations. Even though they’re silk, the yellow flowers on the tables bring a ray of sunshine to the cafe — just like JohnnyCakes is a new bright spot on the Nyack restaurant scene.

The 411 on JohnnyCakes is coming soon. Til then: 84 Main St., Nyack. 845-675-7373.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

13 Comments

  1. Katherine Curry on

    It looks really cute inside now! Not so sure about salad with French toast, tho’.

  2. The worst resturant in Nyack. The Johnny Cakes my friend got crumbled off his fork, and nearly chipped his tooth. The omlette was eh, but I mean, its kind of hard to mess up an omlette, but they came close. Plus, someone got stabbed there like a few weeks ago. I’m not saying I don’t feel safe there, I’m just saying that a new paint job is the only redeeming aspect of the “new and improved” skylark. Honestly, I don’t even know why I went there, with the awesome alternatives Nyack has to offer (Gracies, Bistro, and -best diner- Strawberry Place). So, if Strawberry is closed, Mcdonalds has stopped serving breakfast, and you don’t want to make the drive to the New City or Bleavelt Diner, than I guess go here. But really, don’t expect anything special- or good for that matter.

  3. To whom it may concern,
    First of all JohnnyCakes are supposed to be dry without butter and syrup. JohnnyCakes are suppossed to taste like a corn muffin and more importantly Glutten free for our allergic customers. When you bite into a corn muffin is it moist? Secondly, Corey do you work at Strawberry Place? There is no thread of truth to your statement. I would never say a bad dining experience could never happen. Things happen in this business, but to your extreme? I doubt it! I own 3 restaurants in Rockland and pride myself in the quality of food I serve to my customers. There is a reason why MY establishment is doing well in these early stages. Do me a favor and stay away from my place. You are one of those people that love to complain because your miserable for various reasons, or have an alternative motive.

  4. I have to agree with Mike. I had the JohnnyCakes and they were exactly what I expected – like a warm delicious corn muffin! The service was excellent, our food came within 10 minutes at the most after we placed our order. I will definitely be back!

  5. Very few people walk out of JohnnyCakes without forming a positive opionion about one thing or another. Its local, homie, very kid friendly, and has a good vibe. The food is reasonably priced and good. If you want to taste the best Ruben you’ve ever had…JohnnyCakes is the place.

  6. I avoided the place when it was the Skylark because it was dirty. After the new owners refreshed it, I started going there, sometimes regularly, for breakfast food. About average diner food, nothing more. The service is uneven, and even though I usually leave a pretty big tip, the waitresses seem to care less. MIA when you need a refill of beverage, first course usually comes with the meal, even when you specify otherwise. Whatever. It’s not a serious restaurant, so you take that as part of the package.
    Today, I went in and ordered a western omlette. The waitress asked me if that was on the menu. I said I had no idea- why, didn’t she know what a western omlette was? If not, I could describe what i wanted. She got huffy, and said, we only take orders for what is on the menu. At that point, I asked the cook, who was two steps away behind the counter, if he knew what a western omlette was. He said of course. So, i ordered it. (It was good, btw)
    The waitress made sure that she didn’t bring my beverage too quickly. At the end of the meal, I told the owner (or whoever he is, there is a friendly gay guy and a somnolent asian dude who seem to run the place- it was the latter who was there that day) that i usually leave a nice tip, but that the waitress’s attitude was unwelcoming. He could have cared less. He mumbled something and went back to his newspaper.
    So, if you want forgettable food, amateurish service, and an attitude from at least one of the people running the place that you could die and he could care less, I highly recommend this place.
    Bill Hart
    Grandview
    June 6, 2011

  7. i ate there with my brother a few months ago, and the waitress was very pleasant. Same cook from skylark who is cool too, but the ‘man’ who ran the joint was very nasty to me and my brother, we sat at the bar and got an immediate attitude from a man whom I’ve never met, maybe i reminded him of someone who broke his balls when he was younger, no sure though. Food was mediocre and very overpriced. will never go back, very unwelcome feeling

  8. I joined a friend for breakfast yesterday. The place is clean and our waitress was very polite. I ordered the omelet with feta cheese and olives, my friend ordered eggs over easy and fresh fruit. My friends eggs were fine, but the cut up fresh fruit was not too fresh. There were pieces of honeydew melon that were pretty grey. My omelet was well prepared however the olives were the ones that come in a can and that canned taste over powered the omelet. A feta cheese omelet should be paired with kalamata type olives. The tastes fought and didn’t go well together. My home fries were delicious. I was offered only one cup of coffee and had to ask for a refill which was produced quickly. We were left alone and allowed to talk. Our waitress stopped by once to check on us. We certainly did not feel rushed. I would come back again and try something else- the french toast sounds like a good bet! Everyone was courteous. We’re talking about a diner here folks, and it’s always nice to have a few different places to meet for breakfast.

  9. I’ve been there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have never been disappointed. I’m here because I needed the number to order the meatloaf dinner, it’s enough for both my husband and me.
    I find the owners and staff friendly and service usually great.

  10. I brought my family of 3 girls ages 7, 5, 3, and my wife to eat for brunch one day. The place was packed. At first I thought this wasn’t a good idea with the kiddies. We were seated right away…ok..thats a good sign. The waitress was quick to respond to our many requests because of the children. Food was great. Service was great. Even though the place was busy we were not rushed. I finished my 3rd cup of coffee and enjoyed the rest of the day in Nyack. Can’t wait to go again soon.

  11. Yesterday my husband and I had lunch at Johnny Cakes. We had a great view of the cook eating our food as he was making it. I didn’t need to wonder where all my avocado went- or chicken or…The waitress also licked her fingers as she dished out the coleslaw. It was a real turnoff. The only thing I enjoyed at this place was the music.

  12. Well maybe the old owner ran a better place. I was there today for lunch with my girlfriend and the owner at the front ask if we wanted coffee and he bring if two cups of coffee in a dirty cup with lipstick on them and got mad at us for asking for new cups. And he refused to give us new cups and we walk out.

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