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where to go?: he likes diner food, I'm vegetarian

I'm taking a friend out to dinner for his birthday. He cares much (MUCH) less about food than I do, but also is used to having very little money. He isn't attracted to or familiar with too many adventurous food options, and really probably is most happy with a diner menu.

Any ideas for where I can take him that would be a little special for him (and me), but hit his comfort zone? Someplace not fancy, but comfortable. And, oh, I'm a vegetarian (he's not), which ratchets this restaurant challenge up a notch.

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      1. Traditional Italian-American restaurants generally work for non-adventurous eaters as well as for vegetarians. A few l like:

        Trattoria Trecolori - http://www.trattoriatrecolori.com
        Campanile - http://www.campanilenyc.com
        Paul & Jimmy's - http://www.paulandjimmys.com

        1. Some great suggestions here - much appreciated. Even with an unadventurous eater, it can be possible to enjoy well-prepared food.

          4 Replies
            1. re: notsochubbychubette

              We're going tonight, and... I'm still deciding, definitely from these suggestions. I like the idea of Penelope, but I think we'd like beer or wine, which I don't think they offer. Cafeteria could work well too, though I don't remember the food being so good there, and I do remember the music (boom, boom, boom) being overbearing, issues at Eatery too I think. The Italian-American restaurants (great suggestion, thanks RGR), Kitcheonette, or Gus & Gabriel seems like they might fit the bill...

              1. re: round2

                You're welcome, round2!

                Penelope has a liquor license. The food's very tasty, service is pleasant, and the small space is quite charming.

                1. re: RGR

                  I'll Thritto the Penelope suggestion. Prepare for a fairly long wait though (they don't take reservations.)

          1. Not sure where you're located, but Westville/Westville East immediately came to mind. Good comfort food and definitely vegetarian friendly.

            2 Replies
            1. re: whitneybee

              This looks pretty perfect, in terms of menu, location, affordability, and they do serve beer and wine. Thanks to all for these suggestions, at least several of which will be working their way into my repertoire.

              1. Not fancy by any means, but I sometimes have lunch at Route 66 on 9th & 56th. A step up from a diner and definitely good for a vegetarian.

                1. We went to Westville, which indeed did work well for us. He had their burger, and commented that the food was really good. I had the market plate - 4 veggie sides - which was fine. Useful place, though a little loud for conversation, and the trip to the bathroom through the tiny kitchen lets you see what looks like pretty awful working conditions for the kitchen staff. Are we supposed to see, think about, and even then comment on restaurant staff working conditions on Chowhound?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: round2

                    You can comment on restaurant working conditions but on the Not About Food board.