The Big Apple is no stranger to any person or cuisine. From the exorbitantly decadent right down to your local $1 slice, this city has it all, including your fix for everything from the 1950’s (their website says it’s 80’s-styled, but the place looks more like Grease than greasy spoon). Their thing is to serve up burgers, shakes, and tater tots, and to be very good at it. Every once in awhile, we all have a hankering for a high-fat, high-calorie taste of classic Americana, and this is definitely a good place to do it.
Situated on Park Ave South just a few blocks north of Union Square sits their storefront (one of three in the city) with a big, bold Vegas-style sign reading “DINER” underscored with a pair of neon red lights. For just a moment, you can imagine a bunch of teenagers with too much product in their hair, rolling up in land yachts and waiting for the waitress on roller skates to come out and take their order. The styling reminded me of the décor of a Stewart’s Root Beer shop mixed with Jack Rabbit Slim’s from Pulp Fiction, save the place is much smaller and there are no Cadillac booths with fins. In any case, you can’t miss the front signage, as it is pretty much the brightest thing on the block. The menu is fairly extensive, covering everything from breakfast to dinner, everything in between and then back again.
I opted for the Grand Daddy, which was a bacon cheeseburger with tater tots stacked inside… and more tater tots on the outside. Paired with a key lime pie shake, I had enough food to feed a small town. No joke, the burger was the size of a softball, the melted cheese all gooey and the crispy bacon standing tall. The tater tots were fried to perfection, and the milkshake brought both the boys AND girls to the yard. Unfortunately, I had decided to indulge in too many of the communal fries we had ordered, and I did my ancestors dishonor by leaving the majority of the tater tots on the plate. In a way, this food is like the legend of the sirens in Greek mythology: it lures you with promise and enchantment, but leads you to gastronomic disaster should you fully indulge your delusions of grandeur.
In all seriousness, it was classic American food executed to perfection. It is designed to let you forget about the outside world for an hour or two so you can just enjoy in the excess. Your long-term cardiovascular health will probably be shortened by a year, but that’s the furthest thing from your mind when you’re washing everything down with that thick milkshake.