Long Island City is an area in Queens(for some reason people refuse to admit that it’s Queens), still going through a major gentrification renovation. I pass through this area of Queens quite a bit and on Van Dam St. the heart of Long Island City is the Van Dam Diner. A classic eatery, with seats at the counter, a line of booths on one side and tables on the other. Every inch of this restaurant screams nostalgia and I eat here as often as I can when I’m in this part of Queens.
As soon as I walk in, the host who knows me for years, seats me at my usual spot, right by the window. I love the window seats because they’re great for people watching, which is getting more interesting every year. As I take my seat, I’m immediately accompanied by a cup of coffee from a server who is new to this stomping ground of mine.
As I look at my phone to respond to a text message, my breakfast is sitting right in front of me as I look back. Service is one of my most important determinants when it comes to recommending a place for my readers to enjoy. Now I didn’t give my order to the server and yet there my breakfast is right in front of me. The host knows what I want and puts the order in. The server benefits from the gratuity I am about to leave after receiving excellent service.
My meal is always excellent when I come to the Van Dam Diner as it should be. I have never been disappointed no matter what the meal is, hence why I am not going to elaborate as to what my meal was. Dining establishments can have the best food which can always be ruined by sub-par service. That is why I love Van Dam Diner, the service is great and on point.
The Van Dam Diner is a pillar of the community and hasn’t changed all these years. Gentrification has had no effect on this classic grill and I am absolutely sure it’s going to remain the same. Gentrification causes change we are all aware of that, it’s places like Van Dam Diner that are resistant to change and keeps us optimistic about the future of New York City and its boroughs.
Breakfast in “Little Italy” seems to be a far stretch, however it’s possible. This morning I found myself at Grotta Azzurra, one of the more well-known spots in the neighborhood. This restaurant and its fabulous Italian dining cuisine are very well-known. However, I never knew it had a breakfast menu and a solid menu it is. Their menu consists of a traditional 3 egg breakfast to the full blown English breakfast.
I fell somewhere in between the menu and ordered the 3-egg omelette stuffed with cheddar cheese, tomatoes and ham. My order came quickly along with a refill on the coffee. Looking at my plate, the presentation is very appetizing. The Omelette was delectable, the home fries were delicious and the toast was enjoyable. The omelette is full of cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and ham. Each bite encapsulates all three. The home fries has just the right amount of seasoning and spices that are pleasing to the taste. Their coffee is exceptional.
As all of my readers know, service is always a major part of the restaurant game in New York City and its boroughs. When I walked in, I was greeted by a friendly server, who allowed me to sit anywhere I wanted. Immediately, I was handed a menu and asked about my choice of beverage. Aside from the food, Grotta Azzurra’s service is very good and onpoint. I asked for coffee along with a glass of water. A cup of coffee and a carafe of water were brought to me. Proactiveness is a major score with me and most “Native New Yorkers”.
If you are ever in “Little Italy” during breakfast hours, then you have to check out Gortta Azurra. Their breakfast menu is solid, the service is way above expectations and the decor is charming. Therefore I recommend Grotta Azzurra for a pleasurable and delectable breakfast experience. Great for dinner now great for breakfast. Tell them Dave Jacobs sent you. I can assure your breakfast experience will be a good one.
177 Mulberry St.
New York NY 10013
“Post” is a place I have never been to before and it is not on my normal breakfast circuit. I received this tip from one of our readers so I made my way over there, to check it out. Referrals are always welcome.
When I walked through the door, I observed an intimately set counter. There is also a small counter at the window for that outside feel. This is an establishment that takes great pride in presentation. Each space has its’ own bottle of ice-water and a place setting welcoming to anyone.
Immediately, I was greeted by a server behind the counter and was told to have a seat anywhere. I take my seat at the counter and peruse the menu. Before I can make up my mind the recommendation was “Biscuits and Gravy”. “Wonderful, with a cup of coffee” was my response. That is the first time in a long time, I went with a suggestion from a new place.My meal arrived within a few minutes, a nice healthy portion topped with an egg. My first bite to the last, each was better than the one before. I have to admit, I killed that meal within minutes. All I have to say is “delicious” along with the coffee. The biscuits are homemade and so is the chicken sausage in the white gravy, the taste proves that.
When the server came back to check on me, he laughed at how fast I devoured my meal. I started to converse with him and found out that they are relatively new. They have been open for a little more than a year. Now everyone knows I am all about breakfast and really don’t care for brunch. “Post” has a brunch so for the brunch culture in this city of ours, come out and enjoy.
“Post” also does lunch, dinner and has a “chill” nightlife vibe according to the server. I let him know I would be back for dinner and engage in some after diner activity.
42 Ave B
New York NY, 10009
Tucked away on 32nd street, midtown Manhattan, there is a tiny storefront serving some of the best breakfast in New York City. I am talking about Mike’s Coffee and Deli. There is nowhere to sit and nowhere to stand so if you are looking to go and take a load off, don’t bother going to Mike’s. There is usually a line around the corner, packed with people that are looking to get their breakfast and go. Don’t worry though, if you see a long line, it moves fast. You will be at the front within minutes, paying for and receiving your food not too long after.
Mike’s is a breakfast spot for the fast paced. People waiting on line know what they want and know that they don’t have to wait long for it. The employees, know your own order better than you do. Every once an a while, an order could change up and then one might have to wait a few extra seconds. One patron was talking about how all she has to do, is make eye-contact with one of the counter people, nod and they will have her order waiting for her when she gets to the front of the line.
Affordability and quality, Mike’s nails that on the head. Probably one of the best bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches in the city, along with a good strong cup of coffee to get you out of your morning fog. If you are ever in midtown and crushed for time, Mike’s Coffee and Deli is the spot to satisfy your morning feeding routine. Even if you are not in a rush you can save time by stopping at Mike’s, think about what you can do with a few extra “New York Minutes” in the morning. Stop by and enjoy, tell them Dave Jacobs sent you over.
Mike’s is located at:
44 East 32nd Street
New York, NY 10016
An institution of all coffee shops in NYC, the “Lower East Side Coffee Shop” says it all. I love this shop, and pretty much all “Original” and “True” New Yorkers love this place or at least know of it. What I love the most aside from the price, is that it is completely unchanged and in keeping with the “Coffee Shop” tradition.
When you walk into this java hub, you are taken back to a vintage era. An age of leather booths for four and tables for two. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and breakfast foods, that get your taste-buds going, fills the air. The staff is professional and seasoned and probably have been at this coffee emporium since its establishment.
My favorite time to visit is early morning. There is nothing better than listening to “WBGO DJ” Gary Walker spinning timeless Jazz classics over a hot cup of coffee. That first sip of coffee with the anticipation of my favorite breakfast is what I like to call “Great Expectations” as the early morning stress melts away. Every once and while, you can relive your youth, watching a young guy make an ass out of himself to impress his date after a night out on the town.
What makes early morning special, is you get to see both sides of the city. The night time crowd retiring and the early risers beginning their day. Either way this place removes the weight of the world off of you, for however long it takes to down a cup of coffee or a bowl of oatmeal.
The “Lower East Side Coffee Shop” is open 24 hours a day and believe me, I have been there all hours of the day and evening. From a night of hard partying with friends to actually meeting first dates. The “Lower East Side Coffee Shop” is truly a great spot to start your day or end your evening. It is a staple in the realm of the “Coffee Institution”.
In the over-crowded Washington avenue section just south of Atlantic ave Brooklyn, there is a little slice of breakfast heaven called the “Penny House Cafe”. As soon as you walk into this hidden gem of a coffee shop/cafe, you are greeted by an aroma of coffee and a menagerie of pastries which tantalize all of your olfactory senses.
The menu had a ton of delectable items on it. Since this was my first time in this establishment, I carefully studied each item, trying to decide which was best, to match my palette’s craving. Everything was so tempting and then it jumped right out at me. The three cheese omelette with American Cheese, Swiss Cheese, and Sharp Cheddar, all encapsulated in one of my favorites, the “Everything” bagel. I placed my order with the server behind the counter and was told to grab a seat.
Just as I sat down, I literally only waited about two minutes(original New Yorkers don’t like to be kept waiting more than five minutes) and the server already brought my sandwich over to me which was completely overstuffed. That’s what an original “New Yorker” like myself and all others truly relish, good food and fast service. As I took my first bite, I tasted the perfect melding of the three cheeses along with the seasoning that our chef flavored the eggs with. Flavoring of the eggs is a very important quality everyone should look for when visiting specific breakfast eateries. The bagel was a “New York” bagel, considering “New York” bagels are the best, that was an added bonus to the medley of tastes that danced across my tongue as I was getting ready to take another bite.
In between each succulent bite I took a few sips of some very good brew. I asked the server what kind of coffee I was drinking and he said a combination of a “La Colombe Coffee Torefiction” and La Colombe Nizza Espresso”. The perfect way to wash down a breakfast delight that I completely devoured in a “New York” minute and yet still enjoyed each bite to the fullest.
If you are in a rush or if you are looking to sit down and enjoy a hardy breakfast pleasure, head over to the “Penny House Cafe” you won’t be disappointed. Make sure you tell them Dave Jacobs sent you.
The Penny House Cafe
732 Washington Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Earlier this morning I was at a cozy diner in Brooklyn on Utica Ave. I am sure all of my readers have passed by it once in their lifetime. Utica is a main street that pretty much runs all the way through Brooklyn going North and South. I have driven by it for a long time myself and I just never had the time to go in and partake, except for today. When you drive by Mike’s Diner, it’s tiny, you could miss it, even though it’s on the corner of Utica and Winthrop. However, when you go inside, it lives up to the cozy ambiance you would expect from an old-school diner, especially when being greeted at the door by Michelle, one of the servers.
I ordered my usual breakfast standard, two eggs up, bacon, home-fries, and coffee. Now I know what you are thinking, any diner can do that and do it well, however, not every diner can serve it well. I was in there during the heart of the rush and Michelle who was my server didn’t miss a beat. She took my order and at the same time she was pouring my coffee she offered me a shot of vitamin “C” (Orange Juice in case you don’t know). She is a true professional at what she does, especially when she brought my order out which was piping hot.
The food itself was good, as stated earlier, my order came out piping hot and I didn’t have to wait long at all. The coffee was fresh and the eggs were good, the bacon and home-fries were delicious. Mike’s Diner is a breakfast cooking machine and definitely prides themselves on return business because they have me as a repeat customer for future dining experiences.
What sets Mike’s apart from every other diner out there is the service and the cleanliness. Mike’s dining staff is truly exceptional at what they do, from the chef in the back to the people upfront. Head over to Mike’s when you have a moment for breakfast and ask for Michelle, she will take care of you and make you feel like you are the only one in the restaurant.
630 Utica Ave, Brooklyn NY 11203
It was around 9:30 in the morning on a Wednesday, I was walking down 5th ave, in “The City” (Manhattan in case you don’t know) and I was absolutely famished. I wanted breakfast and I am not talking about a “McMuffin” or something from one of the many “Deli and Grill” places that camp out on every corner of this vast and limitless city of ours. I want to sit down and enjoy for a change. I came upon an inviting establishment named “Belgian Beer Cafe”. I have been by this place many times during the afternoon and evening and it’s always packed, however, I have never been by this early and wouldn’t you know it, they had a nice little sign out front saying “We Serve Breakfast”, which is just what I needed to see.
As soon as I walked through the door, the atmosphere was tranquil and I was greeted by a friendly and delightful staff member. She sat me in a great spot, right next to the window, where I was able to observe what was going on outside from a peaceful distance. The aesthetics were very pleasing and charming. The music was at a perfect volume. I was so relaxed as I sipped my delicious coffee, I forgot all about ordering.
The server came over to me and was ready to take my order. I ordered the “Grand Belge”. This was off their complete breakfast section of the menu, which comes with eggs any style, brioche french toast, bacon, side salad, french fries and already scrumptious coffee. Let me just say the “Grand Belge” was awesome. The eggs were cooked to perfection, the bacon was a delicate crisp, the brioche french toast was fluffy, the side salad was refreshing and the french fries were delightful to say the very least.
The service was very good, my cup was always filled without even asking, and the server was very professional and courteous, which is rare these days during breakfast time. After I finished my meal, the server cleared my place and there was no rushing me out at all, it was a come in a stay for a while fulfillment.
This was truly a wonderful dining experience during the breakfast hour and I definitely recommend this restaurant to all of my readers. The “Belgian Beer Cafe” does breakfast Monday through Friday 8 to 11 am. They are located at 220 5th avenue at the corner of 26th street. Tell them Dave Jacobs from “You Me NYC” sent you over.