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Candlelight: More Than Just A Diner

Some go for the soft seats, some go for the mouth-watering rainbow cookie cake staring at you from behind the glass case, and some are just really bored and in need of a late night coffee. Most, however, go for the pasta salad.

There were countless times during high school when I spent hours at milling over standard-sized cups of coffee, chicken finger wraps (with both barbecue and honey mustard sauces), and Greek salads (with extra dressing), just to pass the time before forcing myself back home to finish those homework assignments that just wouldn’t go away on their own.

Even as I grew up and went to college, Candlelight remained a key part of my young adult life. Where else would I go when at 11 p.m. I wanted to meet up with some old high school buds before taking the drive back to Binghamton the next day? And why would I go anywhere else for a morning-after-coffee-and-bacon-cheeseburger hangover cure?

Let’s not forget about their several delectable spins on Eggs Benedict—in addition to the classic they offer Eggs Florentine (with spinach instead of Canadian bacon), and even Eggs Copenhagen (with salmon in lieu of the Canadian bacon). But I should warn you to be wary if you ask for an extra bit of Hollandaise Sauce—they’ve been known to charge for it.

And for Candlelight’s pièce de rèsistance—the free appetizer known only as the mythical “pasta salad”.  If you are from Commack and have yet to experience the magic that is Candlelight’s pasta salad then you have clearly been living under a rock for the past few years. 

Many have tried to imitate and duplicate this creamy pasta salad (see the by the LIE on Commack Road). But most have failed miserably in their attempts and either over-spiced or over-oiled their tri-colored rotini (again, see the Premier Diner). 

My only disappointment to date with the Candlelight Diner is that they stopped serving pasta salad to its late late night visitors, and instead limit its dispersion to lunch and dinner customers only (a.k.a. those who are most likely to actually order a meal and not just mozzarella sticks off of their “Munchies” menu).

For a night owl like myself who frequently attended (and still attends) late night snacks at Candlelight this was a serious disappointment. 

In a sense, I feel this restriction of pasta salad has made me appreciate those moments few and far between when I actually get the chance to sink my teeth into those slippery little noodles, crunchy broccoli heads, and bite sized onion chunks.

the_rob_bot April 11, 2011 at 10:23 PM
Legend has it that two (legendary) Commack guys once spent 24 hours in that diner. Thinking about such an inspiring act makes me feel so small and insignificant. I can barely express in words how awesome those dudes were. Legendary.
Axios April 11, 2011 at 11:29 PM
What makes the Candlelight great is that it is the last reminder of the golden age of Commack; when it stood nestled among the Long Island Arena, the Commack Roller Rink, The Commack Drive-In, and the beloved RKO Twin Theater. When Michael's was Pergaments, Macy's was Korvette's, Emilio's was Carmella's and Modell's was more than a sporting goods store. We had mini golf and batting cages, two bowling alleys, the five-and-dime and Buddy's Burgers. And at the end of the night, you always ended up at the Candlelight. Today, when I go to Target or Babies-R-Us with my wife and kids, I pine for those days, long gone. But, even now, we often end up at the Candlelight. Sure, it may be salad's and wraps these days instead of those wonderful twin cheeseburger deluxe platters, but nothing beats the memories ... and the kickin' pasta salad! (CHSN Class of '82).
Mary Rayfield April 12, 2011 at 05:14 AM
I think the Candlelight diner is terrible. The pasta salad is good. If you want a good dinner, try The South Bay Diner in Lindenhurst and right in Commack The Preimer. I go to the Preimer often and have never been served thier version of Candle lights pasta salad. They serve a chickpea or red beet salad. The food at the Preimer blows the Candlelight away. Sachem class of 1982
Happy and Peppy April 12, 2011 at 01:21 PM
Mary you should stay in Sachem and Lindenhurst. South Shore Snob.
Annie D. April 12, 2011 at 05:43 PM
Axios, I so agree with your "Golden Age" of Commack comments! Let's not lose Candlelight! Their dinners are so good and so filling, two adults could split one dinner and be full! You get everything from soup to dessert! Real home cooking and so much of it, it is definitely worth the trip to Candlelight! I haven't been to any "diner" that is nearly as good! If you go often, you and the staff become like "family"! Thanks to Candlelight for all the great years of memory making!!!

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