Breakfast in New York
Looking for breakfast in New York? Most local New Yorkers eat breakfast on the go, between the subway and the office. There are countless carts where lots of different types of food are sold. Going for coffee? Always order your coffee without milk! Otherwise, you’ll be served a cup with low-fat milk, which is very watery and renders your coffee tasteless. When ordering from one of these carts, beware that they can be quite impatient, they hate it when customers take too long to order. I think it’s much nicer to eat in a diner, if you have the time. New York diners can be found all over the city and I recommend eating at at least one during your trip, for the ultimate American experience.
Breakfast in Diners
Breakfast in diners is cheap: You can get two eggs, toast, potatoes, bacon, coffee, and juice for around $8 or $9. Tipping is important when eating in a diner, I recommend that you give about twice the amount of the tax (found on the receipt). A normal tip is about 15% to 20% of the total bill, before tax. Check your receipt to make sure that the tip has been included.
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
If you’re looking for something unique, go to Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway and 51st Street (near Times Square). The special feature of this restaurant is that all of the waiting staff sing. Which also makes for a free Broadway show! Most of the waiters and waitresses leave after just a few months in order to perform in real musicals in New York, so this diner is just a stepping stone for them.
The best time to arrive at Ellen’s is between 08:00 and 08:30. After that, it will be very busy. They usually start singing around 08:00 on weekdays (on weekends they start later). Breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner is more expensive than your regular diner, starting from around $15.
Westway Diner was established in 1988 and is open 24/7. It’s a typical diner: the food is simple and served very quickly. You really have to know what you want before you order as the waiting staff are always in a rush. Don’t order a la carte at this place, go for a ‘menu’ that includes coffee and orange juice instead, it’s much cheaper. You can only order these menus between Monday and Friday though.
Hector’s Cafe & Diner
Hector’s Cafe & Diner (1949) is one of the last real ‘old school’ diners in New York. It’s an oasis in the hip and touristic Meatpacking District. Hector’s is raw, ugly and cheap. Something that’s hard to find in Meatpacking these days. Martin Scorsese used Hector’s as a set for Taxi Driver and they’ve also filmed at Hector’s for the tv-series Law & Order. Go visit Hector’s to feel like the meat processors, drug addicts and dealers that claimed this area for ages. Choose Hector’s instead of the nearby Bubby’s, because Hector’s hasn’t been created for tourists. Or actually, don’t go to Hector’s! Let Hector’s remain the raw diamond of the city.
Theatre Row Diner
Theatre Row is one of the trendiest diners in New York. Due to it’s location in the theatre district, many (up and coming) Broadway actors dine here. The reason I really like it is because it’s cheap (Mon – Fri). And the pancakes and waffles are really good too! The diner is open from 06:00 till 01:00.
Tom’s Restaurant is a family-owned diner that has been open since the 1940s. Located in Morningside Heights, it was the diner that was featured in the show, Seinfeld. That’s pretty much the only reason I like to go to this diner.
Buvette in Greenwich Village
Are you looking for a nice place in Greenwich Village? Then go to Buvette. A small, bustling, Parisian-style bistro. The staff works hard and has a passion for good food and French wine. Many mornings I order an espresso with a croissant and sit at the bar. In the tiny kitchen they prepare typical French dishes. This bistro is a fine spot for a tasty breakfast or brunch. Choose waffles, toast with various toppings, a ham and cheese sandwich or a salad with a freshly squeezed juice on the side. If you prefer to sit outside, there is also a little garden. Buvette is open from early in the morning until late at night.
Gemma at the Bowery Hotel
In East Village, Lower Manhattan you can find the Bowery Hotel with it’s Italian restaurant: Gemma. Even though celebrity sightings are commonplace at Gemma, you can still eat breakfast here for a relatively low price. Start off your day for around $8 with the ‘two eggs any style’ and for an extra $5 you can even add bacon. If you have more of a sweet tooth, go for the pancakes or french toast.