The Twin Flames: Which Diner Burns Brighter?

Which diner can lay claim to being the best Fordham diner?


If the delis of Arthur Avenue anchor the Fordham community at Rose Hill, the twin diners of 60th and 58th Streets are the cornerstones of student life at Fordham Lincoln Center. Like countless other students, I have lost track of visits and memories I have made at Olympic Flame Diner and The Flame Diner while attending Fordham. As a certified regular of both establishments, I now ask: Which diner is “The Best Fordham Diner”?

Judging Criteria  

The parameters of comparison must first be established. Since both diners are classic American-style establishments, I will judge both restaurants based on specific menu items, waiter service and interior atmosphere. Both diners will be considered on traditional breakfast and lunch items: french toast with sausage and cheeseburger with waffles fries. 


Both diners served the breakfast meal with two identical sausages, yet Olympic Flame Diner served three pieces of French toast while The Flame Diner only did two. The sausage from the Olympic Flame Diner was better than The Flame’s with the latter’s being overcooked and less juicy. The French toast at The Flame Diner was best and had thick, fluffy bread, while the Olympic Flame Diner’s was thinner and firm. I give the breakfast win to Olympic Flame Diner because they served more French toast slices and had better sausages than The Flame Diner. Furthermore, their meal was cheaper since they offer a 10% special discount exclusive to Fordham students. 


I ordered a classic cheeseburger from both restaurants cooked medium rare with a side of waffle fries. Upon first impression, it was evident that Olympic Flame Diner served more waffle fries than The Flame Diner. The meal at Olympic Flame Diner also came with coleslaw and a pickle. Both burgers were roughly the same size, although Olympic Flame Diner used more doughy buns that were slightly burnt compared to the more evenly toasted Flame Diner bun.

The actual test of a burger is the meat quality, and sadly, Olympic Flame Diner falls short. Despite my request for medium-rare, only The Flame Diner came close. The Olympic Flame Diner’s patty was utterly well-done, while The Flame’s retained a good rare color to the beef. When paired with the more doughy bun, Olympic Flame Diner’s burger was more challenging to eat due to the excess amount of bread and tough meat. The Flame’s burger was tastier due to the thinner bun and more flavorful patty. Overall, I give the burger win to The Flame Diner for their thinner buns and more delectable patties. Even though Olympic Flame Diner provided more fries, The Flame’s were crispier. When combined with the better burger, The Flame edges out the win. 


I must first acknowledge that The Flame Diner has more booths than Olympic Flame Diner and more customers for waitstaff to manage. Accordingly, The Flame employed more waiters, with myself and my friend seeing more than five waiters in The Flame at any given time and Olympic Flame Diner having a maximum of two whenever we visited. The Flame’s waiters were much friendlier and engaging than the waiters at Olympic Flame Diner. The former’s waiters not only engaged in more conversation with customers but were much more social and more outgoing than Olympic Flame Diner’s waiters. More importantly, they checked on customers more often, asking if the food was okay, if one wanted dessert or seconds and refilling beverages. On top of that, the high-quality service was consistent throughout the day and night. Even at 3 a.m., The Flame’s waiters offered superior service. 

Interior Atmosphere 

After visiting both restaurants during the day and night, I can say The Flame Diner has a more friendly, vibrant, inviting atmosphere than Olympic Flame Diner. When entering The Flame, one immediately recognizes it as a classic American diner — people are laughing and talking, waiters are scurrying about and talking to customers in a friendly mood, and the bar and kitchen are alive with energy. Olympic Flame Diner, in comparison, is far quieter and slower. There is always less talking among customers and servers, the counter and kitchen are less quiet and the waiters are less outgoing. To put it simply, The Flame has everything you could ask for when going to a diner, while Olympic Flame Diner only provides a necessary acknowledgment of the best qualities in a diner.

I believe all Fordham students should alternate between eating at both establishments.

The Winner?

The Flame Diner is the better diner — edging out Olympic Flame Diner in lunch, service and interior atmosphere. Still, this conclusion is an obvious one, given how many Fordham students can be found enjoying a meal with their friends there. Even though I personally prefer The Flame Diner, I do not solely eat there. I believe all Fordham students should alternate between eating at both establishments. Both are family-owned diners that offer classic food and great service who have treated my friends and myself well every time we have visited.