The 11 Best Classic Diners and Luncheonettes in NYC

Categories: Our 10 Best

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Lexington Candy Shop

For a time, diner culture was dining culture in New York. And although those halcyon days have long since passed, the city's need for greasy spoons endures even if wistfulness is often an establishment's most potent spice. Convenience and reliability are the hallmarks of truly great diners, and the most resilient among them usually last thanks to a combination of nostalgia and an occasionally excellent stable of American, Eastern European, Greek, or Italian dishes. Where some see grit and grime, others recognize the smell of a well-seasoned flat top. So brush past the seemingly endless sea of kale salads and join Adam and Eve on that raft ('Adam and Eve on a raft' is diner slang for two poached eggs on toast) in search of these, our 11 best greasy spoons.

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Remember Me

11. Pearl Diner, 212 Pearl Street, 212-344-6620
We almost lost this 51-year-old restaurant, a classic standalone diner in the heart of the Financial District, to Hurricane Sandy, but luckily it reopened last March. Despite a well-worn interior, the kitchen puts out hearty, cheap entree plates like turkey meatloaf, gravy-soaked turkey, and a sturdy patty melt -- all under $10. Pearl also played host to a pouty, beat-up Robert Pattinson in the 2010 film Remember Me, so no one will judge you when you wipe away a meaningful tear after that final bite of omelet.

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flickr/edenpictures

10. Cup & Saucer, 89 Canal Street, 212-925-3298
On the eastern edges of Chinatown, this narrow lunch counter serves up breakfast sandwiches and glistening bowls of fat-slicked chicken soup to a neighborhood in flux. When it opened in 1940, it catered to a primarily Jewish clientele, though the menu was given a comprehensive makeover in 1988 under new owners. That means ordinary cheeseburgers, an extraordinary fried fish sandwich, and oddly enough, great yogurt smoothies.

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Pop's Diner

9. Pop's Diner, 4429 Kissena Boulevard, Queens; 718-463-7719
A remnant of Flushing's pre-microcosm past, Pop's has been serving expansive breakfast platters to residents of the busy Queens neighborhood for over 50 years. Sausage links in particular are positively engorged, enough so to be mistaken for British bangers, and egg cookery is top notch. Daily specials cycle through a variety of cuisines, and recently the restaurant has started offering house-made Brazilian hot sauces available on request. The vibrant sauces -- made with bode, malagueta, and cumari peppers -- perk up sandwiches, soups, and specials like stuffed peppers.

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La Bonbonniere

8. La Bonbonniere, 28 Eighth Avenue, 212-741-9266
One of the last bastions of affordability that remain in the once-groovy West Village (though breakfasts can still run $10+), La Bonbonniere looks like it's held together by the many post-its, stickers, signed celebrity photos, and various signage that adorns the walls and counter. A window seat here makes for prime people-watching, but we like to snag one of the six blue vinyl stools up front -- all the better for zoning out on fluffy banana pancakes or the perfectly serviceable burger, juicy and without pedigree. Given its location and atmosphere, it would make a perfect post-party pit stop, but sadly it's only open until 7 p.m.

Location Info

Venue

Map

Cup & Saucer

89 Canal St., New York, NY

Category: Music

Pop Diner

107-26 Queens Blvd., New York, NY

Category: Music

La Bonbonniere

28 Eighth Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

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34 comments
Monica Fodera
Monica Fodera

Apparently I have to check out Pop's Diner ASAP!

Lila Afiouni
Lila Afiouni

I can tell you the Candy Shop is awesome...great food and wonderful interior

moshe6
moshe6

Please correct the address for the excellent Pop's Diner. It's NOT on Queens Blvd. but in Flushing on KISSENA BOULEVARD.

Thanks. 

moshe6
moshe6

Please correct the address for the excellent Pop's Diner. It's NOT on Queens Blvd. but in Flushing on KISSENA BOULEVARD.

Thanks. 

hannahlynnpalmer
hannahlynnpalmer

Oh god, I would die for an egg cream right now. Like five of them...


Andrea Carla Vitali
Andrea Carla Vitali

Anoten!!.vamos a todos!!,me mato de hambre ahora,cosa de llegar skinny a octubre,ja!.

Luciana Aon
Luciana Aon

Otro! Valeria Aon Andrea Carla Vitali

DrewHunkins
DrewHunkins

Remember the old Grand Luncheonette on 42nd Street in Times Square?  I lived in Manhattan for two years in the mid-1990s and was lucky enough to eat a few of Grand Luncheonette's burgers before it finally succumbed to gentrification.  


The Grand Luncheonette on 42nd Street was a genuine piece of Americana that's sadly gone forever. 

reportu2
reportu2

Where's Johnnys on 25th street???

garsleat
garsleat topcommenter

I would choose Georgia diner over Pop Diner 8n Elmhurst.

garsleat
garsleat topcommenter

I would choose Georgia diner over pop diner in Elmhurst.

sweet_epiphany
sweet_epiphany

@heLLobrOOklyn Right? My sister lives in those new developments 2 blocks away that borders the Queens side. It really is a new day.

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