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
I have one of those jobs where I office from home and travel for work. It’s convenient and nice to work from home but, I miss being a “regular”. That sounds a bit odd, what could possibly be so great about being a regular anything?
There is earned status to being a regular. I was part of an elite group of customers who patronized the Frontier Diner on 3rd Ave. Every weekday morning, I would come out of the # 7 train at 42nd street, walk over to 3rd and 39th, and cross the street to the Frontier diner.
The owner would stand his watch at the front counter and have my order prepared as he saw me at the far corner, a large light coffee and a toasted blueberry muffin with butter. We’d exchange pleasantries and he would wish me well and a good day. I would do the same. I did not have to wait in line, he knew what I wanted, needed and craved. It was an easy and affordable transaction. If I missed a day of work, he would ask if everything was alright and inquire as to where I was the other day. It was our ritual.
Now that I office from home and travel for work, I am no longer a “regular” any where, I’ve lost my elite status, a friend and someone who watched out for me. I cannot seem to find coffee that taste just right or a toasted blueberry muffin to my liking.
Perhaps what I miss is the kinship that was developing over time when I was patronizing the Frontier diner day after day, year after year. A sense of belonging and the knowledge that someone was waiting for me, with a smile. I like Starbucks, and the new local coffee shop in my village but, its not the same. With mobile or kiosk ordering, we’ve lost that sense of community that came from getting to know the folks who worked in the eateries we patronize.
So here I am, in an overrated and overpriced coffee house, having a conversation with a lovely lady which I can’t avoid, about how her husband rents her the same house, each summer in the Hamptons. I also get to hear how it’s just for her and her girlfriends only, no husbands(lucky husbands).
I asked her if it is rented for the whole summer and she replied “Absolutely, I can’t just go for a few days”. She then looked at me, as the typical “Entitled Ones” usually do, as if I am a peasant walking by her manor. I don’t know what could’ve come over me to ask such a question.
I asked her another question as we’re patiently waiting for our 6 dollar cups of coffee. I asked, how often she goes to Long Island for the summer and her response was “Oh, I don’t go to Long Island at all, I only go to the Hamptons”. I furrowed my brow and walked over to the pickup area as my name was called for the small fortune I spent on a mediocre cup of “Joe”. Really!!?
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”.
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