When hungry for just a good whatever meal, knowing New Yorkers head for a diner, one of thousands throughout the city. (Metro Diner) These all-around-fare coffee shops (in the old sense–a plain cup of coffee not a Starbucks mega-fancy cup) offer encyclopedic menus covering the ethnic (usually a smattering of Greek, Italian (Metro Diner–spaghetti and meatballs) and Jewish foods
(Murray Hill Diner–salami and eggs); the standard (a fine choice of burgers of any variety) (Viand with Arnold Palmer) and the necessary (breakfast in all its myriad forms, including Belgian waffles, (Cafe 82), turkey bacon, (Cafe 82) and egg white frittatas. (Viand). (Metro). Add in some old favorites like fried clams with Rory’s requisite Arnold Palmer(Murray Hill Diner) and you’re sure to get what you want, made exactly the way you want it.
All of this costs so little, you hardly think you’re in New York. Of course, some restaurants put on the dog, so to speak, and try to act like a real diner but real New Yorkers steer clear of these places (Brooklyn Diner on 57th Street, for example).
A real diner will:
seat you in a booth if it’s available even though you’re only two people,
burn your English muffin to a crisp if that’s how you like it,
get your food to you fast; and
give you free refills of everything.
If you treasure your own favorite diner, let us know about it. The above three are on the West Side but Viand has an East Side cousin and the Murray Hill Diner is in, well, Murray Hill.