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1950's style restaurant

tonylazzeri Nov 29, 2012 04:27 PM

Looking for a 1950's style restaurant...not a retro-place like Ellen's Stardust, but something that is either an older establishment/time capsule, or a newer place that is a time warp.

  1. a
    Ann900 Nov 29, 2012 06:23 PM

    Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop- Fifth Ave and 22nd St.is definitely a time capsule. it hasn't changed it's decor or menu for many decades. Katz' s Deli also looks the same ( and saves the same food) as it has for many years.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ann900
      iluvcookies Nov 30, 2012 11:15 AM

      B&H Dairy could be a good place too... it's been around for about 65 years, placing it's opening in late 1940s. Hasn't changed much since it opened.

    2. scoopG Nov 29, 2012 06:43 PM

      Lexington Candy Store Luncheonette (since 1925) might fit the bill.



      1. Bob Martinez Nov 29, 2012 07:01 PM

        Donohue's Steak House.


        1. c
          comiendosiempre Nov 29, 2012 07:51 PM

          Grand Central Oyster Bar is pretty timeless. Stick with the food at the counter.

          Peter Luger's too is the same now as many decads ago.

          Nom Wah tea parlor.

          Heidelberg, on the UES.

          1. h
            Hey19 Nov 30, 2012 08:10 AM

            Keens always comes up in these posts, and righfully so. pre 50s though.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Hey19
              Sneakeater Nov 30, 2012 09:06 AM

              More 1850s.

              1. re: Sneakeater
                Ann900 Nov 30, 2012 09:37 AM

                While some of the places being suggested have been around for some time( like Keens) my sense was that the OP was looking for places with a 1950's vibe, not just places that have been opened since the 50's.

                1. re: Ann900
                  Sneakeater Nov 30, 2012 10:18 AM

                  I agree. If the OP just wanted Old, he/she would have asked for Old. Not '50s.

                  The Four Seasons has a very Early '60s vibe. But I don't think it's what the OP is looking for.

                  1. re: Ann900
                    Bob Martinez Nov 30, 2012 10:33 AM

                    Donohue's opened in 1950.


              2. b
                bifpocaroba Nov 30, 2012 11:35 AM



                also ...real old style...



                1. r
                  Riverman500 Nov 30, 2012 11:51 AM

                  Are you looking for 50s decor or specific 50s menu items?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Riverman500
                    tonylazzeri Nov 30, 2012 07:19 PM

                    Both if possible, but if I had to choose I'd lean toward menu and vibe over just decor.

                  2. h
                    hungrycomposer Nov 30, 2012 05:46 PM

                    Stage Restaurant on 2nd Ave. It's not as old as it looks, but it looks like a 50's luncheonette.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: hungrycomposer
                      small h Nov 30, 2012 06:35 PM

                      How's the food there, compared to B&H Dairy? The menu at the latter is more up my alley, but I like a good tuna melt as much as the next girl.

                      1. re: small h
                        Pan Nov 30, 2012 09:43 PM

                        Good, reliable, honest food. I like their chicken soup, pierogies, and beets, for example.

                        1. re: Pan
                          small h Dec 1, 2012 05:28 AM


                          1. re: small h
                            Pan Dec 1, 2012 11:52 AM

                            And their kasha is also good. It's worth going there, if you are in the neighborhood.

                        2. re: small h
                          hungrycomposer Dec 1, 2012 11:52 PM

                          The biggest difference is that B & H is Kosher, Stage is not. I haven't been to B and H in a long time, but I generally prefer Stage. Their pastrami sandwiches are actually pretty good. And I agree with Pan's comments. Don't expect fantastic food, but it's affordable and fun.

                      2. loratliff Nov 30, 2012 07:47 PM

                        Not exactly 1950s, but Monkey Bar is a great older establishment that still retains a lot of the original age-appropriate charm.

                        1. f
                          foodwhisperer Dec 1, 2012 12:15 AM

                          i'm not really sure what a 50's style restaurant is. B&H is like your corner luncheonette in the 50's with one thing lacking, hamburgers. Big Nick's although it started in 1962 has a 50's menu and retains its original look. Great burgers , shakes sandwiches. John's Italian in East village, Gene's, Gaetano's, or Ponte's for Old look and Old School Italian/American.
                          Otherwise, for a 50's diner vibe the Brooklyn Diner on 57th might be a good choice.

                          17 Replies
                          1. re: foodwhisperer
                            tonylazzeri Dec 1, 2012 04:54 AM

                            Thanks for the suggestions. Will definitely try some of these, Barbetta and Donohue's are especially intriguing, as is B&H. Brooklyn Diner is exact opposite of what I'm looking for, but if anyone has other suggestions, please keep them coming.

                            1. re: tonylazzeri
                              small h Dec 1, 2012 05:27 AM

                              El Quijote. I'm not sure when time stopped there, but the '50s seems like a good guess.


                              1. re: small h
                                penthouse pup Dec 1, 2012 06:01 AM


                                1. re: small h
                                  tonylazzeri Dec 1, 2012 08:18 AM

                                  Wow, this looks great...thank you!

                                  1. re: tonylazzeri
                                    Pan Dec 1, 2012 11:54 AM

                                    El Quijote sucks, though, in my experience of two meals, and I'm not using hyperbole. Those two meals were terrible.

                                    1. re: Pan
                                      addictedtolunch Dec 1, 2012 07:17 PM

                                      Can't agree-and the crowds of regulars out the door many nights apparently wouldn't either.

                                      1. re: addictedtolunch
                                        Pan Dec 1, 2012 08:09 PM

                                        Popularity is no argument for quality. If it were, McDonald's would be the greatest restaurant in the US. I'll be specific about El Quijote: They didn't seem to be able to even get lobsters with butter right. Their lobsters were tough and overcooked, but service was so poor that they weren't sent back but just eaten. And that's only one example.

                                    2. re: tonylazzeri
                                      small h Dec 1, 2012 12:04 PM

                                      You're welcome! What's the reason for your search, if you don't mind sharing it?

                                      1. re: small h
                                        tonylazzeri Dec 4, 2012 06:45 PM

                                        My dad, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's, specifically asked my brother and I to take him out for his 75th birthday at a place that reminded him of his youth growing up in NYC in the 1950's. Thank you all for your suggestions.

                                        1. re: tonylazzeri
                                          small h Dec 4, 2012 07:58 PM

                                          Ah, I see. It's a nice thing you're doing. Has your dad mentioned a particular restaurant or type of restaurant?

                                          1. re: small h
                                            tonylazzeri Dec 5, 2012 05:09 AM

                                            No, just going off past conversations/experiences. Thank you again.

                                    3. re: small h
                                      charmedgirl Dec 1, 2012 09:25 AM

                                      Have always always wondered about this place, as I walk past almost every day. The most random assortment of people are usually standing out in front under the awning. Have you actually been?? How's the food?

                                      1. re: charmedgirl
                                        small h Dec 1, 2012 11:57 AM

                                        I used to live in the building next door, and I ate at El Quijote a few times. It's old school Spanish food - mariscada, paella, etc. - and I thought it was decent enough. But that was in the mid-'90s, so for all I know it's gotten worse (or better! it happens). More opinions, pro & con, here:


                                        1. re: small h
                                          coasts Dec 1, 2012 02:54 PM

                                          the building next door? the Chelsea?

                                          1. re: coasts
                                            small h Dec 1, 2012 03:36 PM

                                            No, the Carteret, just to the east. El Quijote's on the ground floor of the Chelsea.

                                            1. re: small h
                                              coasts Dec 1, 2012 04:53 PM

                                              ah ha...i had already deduced that you were Ethan Hawk.

                                              1. re: coasts
                                                small h Dec 1, 2012 05:02 PM

                                                I hadn't considered the possibility that I might be Ethan Hawke, but I do think Uma Thurman's really pretty, and he actually married her, so...maybe. Maybe I am.

                                2. p
                                  pravit Dec 1, 2012 03:36 PM

                                  Cup and Saucer

                                  1. k
                                    keith Dec 3, 2012 09:56 AM

                                    Wo Hop in chinatown is almost completely unchanged over the last 50 years. If you're looking for a nostalgic NYC chinese vibe, this'll do it. For french, Le Veau D'or, if it's still kicking, was always one of the most classic old school mid century time capsule restaurants. Also, El Parador cafe is the oldest mexican in the city (from the mid to late 50's I think), and still - as of a few years ago - retained some old school charm.

                                    1. sadie Dec 3, 2012 10:28 AM

                                      Le Veau d'Or! Talk about a 50's time capsule in every sense!

                                      Also: Bamonte's in Williamsburg for classic red sauce

                                      Sam's in Carroll Gardens for pizza

                                      1. b
                                        boccalupo Dec 3, 2012 10:30 AM

                                        The original Junior's in Brooklyn dates from 1950 and I think it probably looks similar to when it opened and probably more like a 50's style place than anything in Manhattan that I can think of.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: boccalupo
                                          Bob Martinez Dec 3, 2012 01:29 PM

                                          Actually, Junior's on Flatbush looks like a mid 1970s diner. Hideous.

                                          The Airline diner near LaGuardia in Queens has real 1950's style. Just avoid the gray steamed burgers.


                                          1. re: Bob Martinez
                                            boccalupo Dec 3, 2012 01:47 PM

                                            Their can be a fine line between hideous and kitch. However, I checked and it seems like the Junior's interior was updated in 1983 after a major fire hit the restaurant. Bad mid-1970's decor might even quality as kitch. 1983...not so much. I do like the interior of Sam's though, I am not sure what era that is. And their pizza is good. Prime Burger in Midtown might have been a good choice. Too bad they had to close this year.

                                        2. prima Dec 3, 2012 01:40 PM

                                          Sevilla has been open since 1941.

                                          1. e
                                            eastvillagegirl Dec 3, 2012 08:22 PM

                                            I would definitely recommend Gene's, on West 11th Street. It has a very 50's vibe because I don't think the decor has changed a bit since then. When I went there the first time and they put a relish tray (celery, carrots and radishes) on the table, it brought me right back to the 1950's. I've always enjoyed going there -- a real time warp in a city that moves faster than time.

                                            I also go to El Quiojte's quite often -- I love their broiled lobster special. If you go, make sure you sit in the front room with the great wallpaper. I noticed in an earlier post someone said that this place was not good, but, I disagree.

                                            1. s
                                              Sdenred Dec 5, 2012 06:57 AM

                                              Cafe Edison on 47th street.

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