07/31/14 9:00am

IMG_1308Mike’s Coffee Shop. Image via Flickr: JSsocal

There are few things as characteristic of New York City as the luncheonette. These small, informal dining spaces used to dot the urban landscape as much as Starbucks does today.  Although their cheap meals and neighborhood-friendly atmosphere are now far and few between, we’ve compiled this list of the best luncheonettes still in operation. So, in no particular order, here are our picks of the eight best luncheonettes in NYC that are still serving up great grub at good prices.

1. Mike’s Coffee Shop

Located on 328 Dekalb Avenur in Clinton Hill, Mike’s Coffee Shop is the epitome of a traditional luncheonette. With their signature neon-lit sign, Mike’s is a sleeper hit in Brooklyn and is loved best for their selection of cheap breakfast food. A good place to start on their menu would be breakfast staples like grits, egg sandwich, and their delectable blueberry muffins. It’s also conveniently located right off of the G train (when it’s working).

2. Johny’s Luncheonette

Johny's Luncheonette-NYC-Eats-ReataurantImage via Flickr: Jason Lam

Johny’s on 124 W 25th Street is a classic, no-frills luncheonette that has flourished solely on the merits of its reputation. Signified by an old, blue awning, Johny’s serves a number of signature sandwiches that, though not as cheap as they used to be, are still a bang for their buck. Specialties include a tuna and feta cheese combination sandwich called the Dynamic Dez as well as the Famous Sloppy Johny, which features grilled chicken, bacon, onions, cheese and coleslaw on a hero. You can also buy shirts and other neat memorabilia online.

3. Lexington Candy Shop

Lexington Candy Shop-NYC-Luncheonette-Restaurant-EatImage via Flickr: Nosher Hungryman

Lexington Candy Shop is one of New York’s most recognizable and much-loved luncheonettes still in operation. Located on 1226 Lexington Ave., the corner restaurant’s largely unaltered vintage storefront harkens back to the New York City of yore. You can take a seat at one of their red pleather stools and enjoy a classic malted milkshake or butter burger for a decent price. Unlike some of the other low-key eateries on this list, Lexington Candy Shop accepts credit cards.

4. Dee Dee’s Luncheonette

dee dee's-luncheonette-nyc-restaurant-eatImage via Dee Dee’s Luncheonette

This next luncheonette takes us to 142 Tulip Avenue in Floral Park, Queens. Dee Dee’s is a local favorite and, although the prices are bit higher than you would expect from a typical luncheonette, the quality of their food more than makes up for the inconsistency in price. Couple that with a great 1950s style interior set-up, Dee Dee’s makes for a great breakfast pit stop if you find yourself in the outer-boroughs. Their classic chocolate chip pancakes is always a wise choice and notable specialties include baked skillet mac & cheese as well as their Country Scramble.

5. George’s Luncheonette

george's luncheonette-nyc-restaurants-breakfast food-brooklynImage via Yelp: Sharon C.

Back in Brooklyn, George’s Luncheonette on 2157 Utica Avenue is one of the boroughs best kept secrets. This tiny local hot spot does not dabble in vintage decor. Instead, what they do offer is exactly what you would expect from an authentic 1950s luncheonette, which means great service and great food for little money. They are a family owned business has been serving the Mill Basin community for 45 years and their breakfast menu particularly shines. A good place for a quick but plentiful bite on the go.

6. The Cup and Saucer

cup and saucer-luncheonette-nyc-restaurant-breakfast foodImage via Flickr: Julia Manzerova

The Cup and Saucer on 89 Canal Street would seem like a funny choice in a neighborhood teeming with as many great ethnic eateries as Chinatown is. But think again. A luncheonette as authentic as the Cup and Saucer is hard to come by. Besides, you’d also be hard pressed to find one that’s nearly as good. Breakfast is the way to go at the Cup and Saucer, which makes it a good pit stop if you’re looking for all-American breakfast platters for an affordable price. The establishment also retains it’s vintage corner storefront that looks like it’s straight out of American Graffiti.

7. Pearl Diner

pearl diner-luncheonette-nyc-restaurant-breakfast foodImage via Flickr: Rich Mitchell

The first thing that strikes most people about Pearl Diner on 212 Pearl Street in Manhattan is the exterior. There are almost no other diners in the city that echo the classic fifties-style luncheonette like Pearl’s narrow lunchbox shaped walls and hanging neon sign. Equally as pleasing is the downright affordability and quality of the food they serve there. As is implyed by the decor, simple, American-style eats are the way to go here. Burgers, fries, and breakfast platters are some of our favorites and the shakes are good to boot.

8. John’s Coffee and Donut

John’s on 481 Myrtle Avenue is yet another Clinton Hill establishment that, similar to Mike’s Coffee Shop, is an outrageous bargain. For $3.50, you can get a breakfast platter consisting of meat & potatoes, toast, and two eggs of any style. Comparatively, this kind of bang for your buck brings you back to the good old days of the neighborhood luncheonette of the fifties and sixties in a way that a vintage decor never could.

If you enjoyed this list, don’t miss our roundup of top 10 hidden New York City restaurants.

Contact the author @DouglasCapraro

07/30/14 4:00pm

NYC Subway Articial Reefs-MarylandImage Source: Maryland Department of Resources

07/30/14 1:00pm
Rad Band

This Seattle Quartet Plays At The MoMA July 31, 2014.  (LEFT TO RIGHT: Lena, Shana, Alice, & Marian) Photo by Zoe Rain

The Seattle indie band La Luz is playing at the MoMA  this Thursday at 6:30pm  as part of the museum’s summer series MoMA Nights (doors at 5:30).  We will be posting  a feature on the history of MoMA Nights tomorrow, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you about the music that you can go see right now.

La Luz is a four-piece band that epitomizes dreamy summertime surf rock with modern bass lines, graceful vocal melodies, jangly keyboards, and  taut drumming.  They’ve received accolades for their witty, and charming live performances and are truly not to be missed.  Untapped Cities asked them a few questions about how the urban spaces they inhabit affect their music and what the cities of New York and Seattle mean to them.


07/30/14 12:00pm

Ewerdt Hilgemann-Moments in a Stream-Park Avenue Mall-Implosion Sculptures-Stainless Steel-NYC.-14

The temporary sculptures along the Park Avenue Mall are one of our favorite public art initiatives in New York City. The curated pieces, done by one featured artist at a time, always seem to be in a dialogue with the city around them. In the lower part of Park Avenue, north of Grand Central Terminal, the works form a distinct contrast with the corporate business culture that pervades the architecture. Further north, they serve to spice up the storied legacy of Park Avenue apartments.

On Saturday August 1st, Ewerdt Hilgemann, Moments in a Stream will be complete, stretching from 52nd to 67th Street. We’ve been hanging out with Hilgemann and his team while they install the sculptures between 10pm and 6am, as required by city regulation.


07/30/14 10:30am

Queensway Connection_ENYA_AIANY_Bhushan Mondkar_Untapped Cities-006The Queensway Steps by Carrie Wilbert and Eleonore Levieux (Paris, France)

Abandoned, forgotten, in ruins, re-discovered and now re imagined as a much needed green artery in the heart of the world’s most (culturally) diverse county! The QueensWay is slowly but steadily making strides to become the next ‘rail to trail‘ urban sensation. Envisioned as an undulating linear park, it aspires to go a step beyond the High Line in transforming abandoned infrastructure into a multifunctional park system with pedestrian pathways, bike lanes, performance spaces, art installations and community gardens, not to forget the cuisines from around the world that might possibly be stippled along the 3.5 mile rustic experience.