Like the songs of Frank Sinatra—a former regular at the eatery—the Market Diner’s history is full of highs and lows. The hanging lights above the faux-snakeskin booths went dark when the eatery closed down in 2006, but it was too soon for the restaurant’s rich 50-year history to come to an end. The diner is open again today, allowing patrons to feast on the omelets, half-pound burgers, and pies that have fed celebrities including Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, and even notorious gangsters from the ‘70s. An episode of Seinfeld also featured the restaurant in an important scene, which means patrons can revisit a favorite show without putting flowers on Alf’s grave.
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.
Chock full o’Nuts traces its history to 1926 when William Black opened his first nut shop, which eventually expanded to a chain of coffee shops boasting gourmet caffeinated brews, freshly baked goods, and sandwiches. Patrons sip from blends such as 100% Colombian and french roast while munching on history with the Chock Classic, a cream-cheese-and-date-nut bread confection sweeter than a baby panda scaling a mountain of sugar. Sandwiches and wraps placate heartier appetites, and smoothies, iced beverages, and hot specialty drinks pour into cups with ambrosial panache.
Artie's Delicatessen's contemporary take on a 1930s deli bedecks restaurant king Artie Cutler's blinged-out crown with its final gem. Churning out a menu of homestyle Jewish dishes, young, savvy chefs serve up bread-bookended stacks of pastrami, corned beef, swiss cheese, coleslaw, and russian dressing ($14). The turkey and brisket sandwich satiates beef buffs ($11.95), and the Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner's fresh white meat served atop a mound of stuffing, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, and vegetables ($15.95) has customers tracing hand turkeys year-round.
After serving customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 35 years, the family that owns Waverly Restaurant knows what New Yorkers want in their diner food: consistency. Many menu items are reliable classics, from a belgian waffle with ice cream to a hot pastrami sandwich to an order of crispy Disco fries topped with cheddar cheese. In a 2009 article in the New York Times, food blogger Ben Leventhal named the restaurant's pizza-turkey burger his favorite late-night snack. It's the kind of place you know you can go for a hearty meal after an evening on the town or a morning spent discussing the economy with the dogs in Washington Square Park.
Though the space was—according to DNAInfo.com—renovated in 2011, it still invokes nostalgia for yesteryear. Drew Pisarra of New York magazine found the place's wood paneling and vinyl booths to be reminiscent of a "working-class steakhouse," and summed up its ambiance by adding, "In the end, you just might reinterpret those black-and-white actors’ eight-by-tens lining the perimeter as a forgotten pantheon: patron saints of cheap food, fast service, and fading traditions, like the bottomless cup of coffee."