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Serendipity and Wo Hop - What's Their Appeal?

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I passed by Serendipity Saturday night on my way to the downtown train to Chinatown, where I passed by Wo Hop 17 Mott Street, downstairs.

Both had lines down the block, Serendipity 100 people or more waiting, Wo Hop, about 75.

What is the appeal? I haven't been in Serendipity in many years, but I recall it as mediocre at best. Wo Hop, I must admit I enjoy, but to wait up to two hours!???

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  1. For Wo Hop (downstairs), price and nostalgia come to mind. I first went there over 40 years ago and it had a reputation even before that. The food's mediocre at best but it's one of those places that folks love to remember as better than it is and love to "rough it" by going there. Go to NY Noodletown, Cantoon Garden or many others for much better food... go to Wo Hop to remember your youth and getting your own tea and eating greasy lo mein and congee with very little "stuff" in it....

    1. I personally don't understand waiting in any kind of line in Manhattan for food more than a couple of minutes. There are so many good places, so many untried places, that I couldn't see wasting my time. Especially not at Serendipity.

      I wish I had an answer for you, but instead I will stand next to you shaking my head as well.

      1. tourists. that it.

        7 Replies
        1. re: smokeandapancake

          smokeandapancake, you are correct! This WAS the weekend for tourists!

          1. re: iluvcookies

            i live down the block from serendipity and only tourists would line up and stand in the middle of the sidewalk....frustrating. :)

            1. re: smokeandapancake

              I live in the area as well and am always tempted to tell these people not to waste their time at Serendipity!

              1. re: RussianGirl

                ha. I cant tell you how close i was to doing that myself, but for tourists, it's exciting.....they go to dylans, serenditpity and then california pizza kitchen and then they go home and rave about how fantastic the food is in manhattan. it's sweet. :-)

                1. re: smokeandapancake

                  Hilarious. I remember when I first started working in NYC right after college, I decided to treat myself to a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity and it was $7 (and that was about 10 years ago). I was so embarassed because my coworker had to give me some money since I never imagined it would be that much and had brought only a few dollars with me. Not to mention it tasted like an iced mocha that I now get at McDonalds for $2.

                  1. re: RussianGirl

                    I always thought they tasted like an icy Nestle Quick! LOL!

                    Definitely nothing special!

                    1. re: RussianGirl

                      Yeah, I was just going to say that the frozen hot chocolate was fun before mocha frappucino's existed. In high school, eating at a place with Warhol drawings on the menus, a bunch of stuff on the walls and sundaes as big as your head felt pretty fancy. I was guessing that the crowd is parents who went to High School/College in NYC before moving out to the burbs bringing their young spawn with them for some Holden Cauffieldesque times in a Manhattan that once was. Big sundaes are still fun. Two hour waits are not.

          2. The Chinese words "Wo Hop" mean "Shake Shack" in English.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bob Martinez

              :-D to Bob Martinez

              1. re: iluvcookies

                I tip my hat to you, sir.