When asked by the Red Hook Star-Revue about their decision to open a diner in the area, owners Mixali Kallonas and Angela Alexiou described being drawn to the community and wanting to be "family to [their] customers." This feeling of warmth suits the diner's menu, which includes hearty, homestyle Greek and American foods such as spanakopita, spaghetti and meatballs, steak and eggs, and all-beef hot dogs, served in the welcoming dining room or on the backyard patio. House-made tzatziki accompanies gyro and souvlaki platters, fluffy piles of garlic mashed potatoes cozy up to open-faced meatloaf sandwiches, and diners can conclude meals by sating their sweet-teeth with baklava, rice pudding, or one of several milkshakes and smoothies.
Before it became the set of one of the most polarizing television series finales of all time, Holsten's was a classic diner and ice cream parlor. Now, it still serves its homemade ice cream and house specials—two burgers, made with beef chopped that day—but camera flashes aren't uncommon, especially near one particular booth. People who sit there tend to order onion rings, because that's what Tony Soprano ordered just before the show ended.
The staff doesn't mind the extra attention that The Sopranos fanbase showers on their restaurant. In fact, they sell T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase, "The Final Episode." But they also stay true to their roots, whipping up diner fare from BLTs to grilled cheese and double-decker club sandwiches. The dessert menu features ice cream in flavors such as vanilla, black raspberry, and butter pecan, all of which can be piled atop brownies or bananas to make a sundae. There's also homemade candy, including truffles, assorted chocolates, and seasonal sweets more appetizing than autumn leaves dipped in honey.
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.
As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm, or a hearty three-egg omelet or belgian waffle. At City Lights Diner, which boasts two locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, he can have it all. Breakfast brings classics such as silver-dollar pancakes or thick slices of challah french toast, sating sweet teeth willful enough to make it past glass encasements filled with sticky danishes and housemade cakes and pies. Monte cristo sandwiches help bridge the gap between mid-morning and mid-afternoon, making way for stacked pastrami or roast-beef sandwiches or jumbo burgers piled high with fried onions, ham, and cheddar, or a whole fried egg. Night owls can also find plenty to feast on—the Hell's Kitchen location stays open till 11 p.m.—whether they're in the mood for juicy, broiled New York sirloin or disco fries slathered in melted american cheese, brown gravy, and gold medallions.
Some may credit the buttery bun or the chive-speckled mayonnaise, but in an interview with Food and Wine, Ed McFarland insists the success of his lobster roll lies entirely in the meat. He simmers the ultra-fresh morsels of lobster until they’re tender and juicy before adorning them with a simple dressing made of mayo, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. He then piles the meat onto a warm Pepperidge Farm roll until it spills over onto the plate, then arranges it next to a nest of thick, hand-cut fries and slices of homemade pickles. When he isn’t whipping up the much-lauded rolls, Ed extends his culinary expertise to a variety of seafood specialties—from crispy calamari to a hearty lobster pot pie¬¬––crafted using fresh herbs and vegetables plucked directly from his own garden.
Out in the lively dining room, guests bite into warm lobster rolls and nibble on shellfish from the raw bar. On busy nights, guests gather outside to wait for a coveted seat inside the intimate space, since the restaurant staff does not accept reservations or promises to shovel the snow from their driveway for a week.