For more than 85 years, Lexington Candy Shop has been comforting palates with old-fashioned eats, such as burgers, sandwiches, and ice-cream floats. Guests can belly up to the retro counter or grab a table, then select either two sandwiches from more than 20 basic options or two burgers prepared with 100% Black Angus beef from more than 15 burger configurations. Settle incisor indecision by landing them in a jumbo mozzarella-bacon burger ($10.75), a jumbo Lexington butter burger ($9.50), or veggie-friendly garden burger with cheese and a degree in horticulture ($8.25). If it's not the burger's day, try a classic liverwurst ($5.95) or fresh-sliced turkey sandwich ($11.95) before quenching dessert thirst with tasty ice-cream floats made with Bassetts Ice Cream of Philadelphia and available in root beer, Coke, Cherry Coke, Sprite, or ginger ale, or malted or frosted milkshakes ($7.50, each).
The Comfort Diner, which moved to Staten Island after 14 years in Manhattan, dresses up the traditional diner experience with classic comfort eats and modern-day hearty fare. Keep your growling stomach from frightening friendly ghosts by stuffing it with wild mushroom potato pancakes ($6.95), or start your chew cruise with mozzarella wedges ($6.95), which combine the food world’s most delicious cheese with the geometry world’s most delicious shape. The taco salad ($10.95) gives Mexico’s best-known culinary contribution a fork-friendly format, and oven-crisped fish and chips ($14.95) provide all of the flavor of the British classic without the sizzle of the deep fryer or the voyeuristic glare of Big Ben. Bread-heads can wrap their food-gripping phalanges around an array of sandwiches, such as a grilled chicken club ($8.95) or a Maine crab burger ($13.95), while proteiny-boppers can swoon over double-thick pork chops with homemade applesauce ($14.95). For herbivores, Comfort Diner slings savory angel-hair pasta with white-wine sauce ($10.95) and big bowls of veggie chili ($9.95). Breakfast and brunch options also satisfy early risers or late-to-bedders.
Flavor wizards sling a menu of fresh fare at The Manchester Diner, which was named after the 1910 Manchester building that housed famous figures such as Hank Jones and Flannery O'Connor. Grillmasters prepare each burger to order, perching the patty atop a toasted bun and pairing it with an edible coterie of coleslaw and a pickle. Beneath a mosaic of tiles and pendant lamps, diners can customize beefy bites with a slew of toppings, such as sautéed mushrooms, bacon, avocado, blue cheese, and french fries. Like certified-organic princesses, salads come crowned with premium ingredients, such as the fresh Norwegian salmon, blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, and feta that festoon the Royal salad. Lettuce whisperers toss the mesclun field salad with fresh melon and grilled chicken before servers whisk it to tables with citrus vinaigrette harvested from the tears of freshly zested lemons.
Ensconced in fiery yellows and reds and enlivened with nostalgic élan, Dizzy's Diner is the brainchild of two devotees of down-home cooking with experience in Bobby Flay's kitchens and at the Culinary Institute of America. A menu of classic diner fare crams in comfort food such as Dad's Favorite Meatloaf, wrapped in smoked bacon with its feet up on davenport of garlic mashed potatoes, and the turkey club deluxe, which unites the classic tomato, bacon, and roast turkey of a club with fresh tossed greens and cranberry chutney. On a plate of steak frites, pan-seared hanger steak soaks in sauce au poivre in the steak frites, and a pair of portobello and garden burgers cure vegetarian cravings. Each of these meals is attended by a side such as grits, coleslaw, or chili-cheese fries, as a frosty brew refs a cage fight between salt and pepper shakers.
The neon sign in the window makes it clear: “Death Before Decaf.” While patrons at CHAMPS Family Bakery lack the option for buzz-less coffee, the plethora of other inventive choices more than makes up for it. Chefs at the 100% vegan bakery and diner bend cooking conventions as they create their own animal-free interpretations of comfort food, including grilled seitan Reubens, eggless eggs benedict, and faux chicken-fried steak smothered in vegan country gravy. Later in the day, guests nibble on a grade-school lunch of PB & J with apple slices or chow down on burgers built from three different types of vegetarian patties. Sweet treats abound in the form of fresh baked cupcakes or croissants and juice blends such as Purple Rain, a zesty beverage made from fresh-squeezed carrot, beet, cucumber, and ginger juices. The diner also recreates a night at the drive-in with evenings that pair a prix-fixe menu and movie, such as the Spanish-language film Pan’s Labryinth with an all-vegan meal of paella, croquets, and chocolate churros.
For the Impagliazzo family, Sunday evenings are reserved for family dinners filled with plenty of conversation and authentic Italian cuisine. So, when Andrew C. Impagliazzo decided to establish Contorno’s Restaurant, he drew upon these family memories to create an inviting atmosphere that encourages diners to enjoy each other's company as they feast on a seasonal menu of tapas-style Italian cuisine and wine. Diners can head to the restaurant—which is tucked within a boutique Holiday Inn—and settle into oversized burnt orange booths for a breakfast of buttermilk pancakes and omelets, or take a lunch break with a chicken sandwich topped with fresh apple slices and a pizza burger crowned with mozzarella. As the evening draws near, friends, family, and invisible business partners can enjoy a glass of fine Italian wine while sharing small dinner plates filled with calamari, grilled skirt steak, parmesan shrimp, and six types of pasta.