Whether satisfying a late-night hunger or curing a head-splitting hangover the next morning, diners have been the remedy students have turned to for years. With that said, the characteristics of a good diner are very straightforward. A quality diner needs to have good coffee, cheap specials and breakfast foods available during non-breakfast hours. Luckily for the students here at UR, the fine city of Rochester offers a number of these gems in their purest form for all to enjoy.

I visited four of Rochester’s finest to determine which was the most suitable based on the eater’s needs.

Mt. Hope Diner: Located only one mile from River Campus, Mt. Hope Diner remains the Mecca for students seeking indulgence in their delectable diner dishes. With a diverse menu that includes all of the desired favorites, Mt. Hope Diner makes it hard for anyone to spend $15 and not feel absolutely gorged afterward (before 10 a.m. you can get two eggs, two strips of bacon or sausage links and two pancakes or French toast for only $3.55). You can even use URos, if you don’t feel like carrying cash.

I personally recommend the Italian Sausage & Cheese Omelette with peppers and onions if you really want to pig out. However, one downside to Mt. Hope Diner is that the word is out on its greatness, so you will most likely be eating with a bunch of people you might not have wanted to see on a Sunday morning with bags under your eyes.

Country Club Diner: This eatery is located a little further away from River Campus, but it’s a good place to get away from the crowds. I will admit that the prices are marginally higher than those at Mt. Hope Diner, but the food is undeniably satisfying and still priced below what it should be.

One standout feature of the Country Club is that it delivers good, hot coffee to your whole table and keeps the pot flowing. There is also plenty of room to park, since it’s located right next to a gym. I recommend the home fries, which have a little added kick, presumably from some chili powder on top.

Highland Park Diner: Built in 1948, this diner is on the Rochester Landmark Society’s list of architectural gems. The unassuming classic is located on Clinton Avenue across the street from the Cinema Theatre. Highland Park Diner was featured in “The American Diner Cookbook” as well as voted Best Diner in City Newspaper’s 2007 Best of Awards.

Since it only seats 55 people (and 19 of those seats are at the bar), it is also the perfect place to have a great one-on-one meal with someone. Serving breakfast until 3 p.m. daily, this diner has a vast selection of breakfast specials.

When I went, I chose the Dutch Mother’s Omelette, which had Swiss cheese, ham and apples done to perfection. I paired the omelette with a side of curly fries, which were quite flavorful, as well.

The waitresses at Highland Park seemed to be exceedingly spacey, but it ended up working out in my favor when I got a free hot fudge sundae after they put the wrong type of ice cream in it. Once they get the order right, however, the service is almost instantaneous.

An interesting and unique feature of the diner is that on Monday through Thursday, any meal over $12.50 gets you a free ticket to the theatre for that day’s feature.

Jay’s Diner: With an expansive menu ranging from salads to souvlaki, Jay’s dreams up a recipe for any craving imaginable. Although I personally wouldn’t consider omelettes Jay’s strong suit, its array of appetizers and sandwiches meets any expectation. This is a perfect place to get a great late-night meal and it’s open 24/7, so you don’t have to cut your night short to make a food deadline. Located right on West Henrietta Road, it’s only one short designated drive away from complete indulgence. A standout on the menu is the supremely gluttonous cinnamon swirl French toast with a sugar glaze that will surely raise your cholesterol level by 10 points. If you’ve given up on your waist all together, Jay’s makes its own garbage plate, called the Heartburn Special. I would be lying to you if I said I’ve never had it before, and I would also be lying to you if I said it wasn’t delicious.

So eat up and enjoy UR; New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken, anyway.

Park is a member of the class of 2009.

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