Growing up in New Jersey, our local diners were popular gathering spots for grabbing a meal with friends. The food wasn’t always the best, but the laid-back atmosphere and affordable prices more than made up for it.
It’s sad to see New York City diners slowly becoming a dying breed, though there are still a handful of great options left. One of our favorites is Johny’s Luncheonette, where we go whenever we get a craving for classic diner omelettes, pancakes and burgers.
We first discovered Johny’s two summers ago, when a particularly terrible hangover demanded simple eggs, bacon and toast. This tiny, quite literal hole-in-the-wall is the definition of no frills. Seating is limited to stools along a long counter and two tables squeezed into the back of the narrow restaurant.
The menu has all of your diner essentials, specializing in what their Facebook page calls “hearty breakfast and sloppy sandwiches.” Your orders are taken at the counter by the same man who served us during our first visit, and there’s only one cook who makes your food right in front of you.
In full disclosure, Johny’s is not where you go if you want the best brunch in the city. You’re better off waiting in the long lines at The Grey Dog, Jane, Lafayette, etc. But there’s something about Johny’s communal, down-to-earth and hectic environment that evokes a quintessentially New York feel that’s difficult to find these days, especially in this upscale neighborhood.
If you do go, we recommend trying their “Famous Creations,” particularly the “Delicious Doug”–grilled chicken, sautéed onions, melted swiss cheese and hot sauce on garlic bread. Order a stack of blueberry pancakes with a carton of orange juice on the side, and you have the makings of a delicious breakfast.