This week, 14850 Dining is on the Finger Lakes Wine Trail, stopping for a bite at the world’s tiniest rail car diner. The Black Diamond Diner on Route 89 is a hot dog stand in a 70-year-old diesel engine.
The Black Diamond Diner also has the world’s tiniest staff, just one guy cooking up hot dogs and white hots from Central New York’s own Hofmann Sausages, with a variety of toppings that come along at no additional charge.
What’s the catch? This roadside hot dog stand is only open on weekends, and only “in season.” That usually means until October, but of course if there’s an unseasonably warm fall or even winter, you just might see him out there.
A Coney Dog special might come with meat sauce and raw onions. You might find a chili cheese dog on the menu, or cooked onion sauce. Owner Jerry Collins grills each hot dog to order, and heats up the toppings a portion at a time, as he needs them.
Sometimes the menu expands to include hamburgers, or sweet local sausage patties with peppers and onions. Sometimes it’s just hot dogs — take it or leave it. $2.50, plain or with toppings.
Potato chips for 25 cents. 8-ounce cans of soda, extra-small just like the diner.
Plan on spending 3 or 4 bucks per person on a meal. Find the Black Diamond Diner on New York State Route 89 in between Frontenac Road and East Covert Road, about 20 minutes from Ithaca. No phone. No web site. Just go.