Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Empire Diner
10th Avenue & 22nd Street
Review by Susu and Wraith6

Did you see Men In Black II -- remember that diner with the big "EAT" sign where they go to eat pie? That is no Hollywood set. That's the almost-famous Empire Diner in Chelsea, NYC.

It's a real place, complete with "Today's Hedonist Sandwich" and "Cocktail of the Day." It's open 24/7, has a funky machine for fresh squeezing oranges for juice anytime of day, breakfast or not. And they make superlative pies and cakes. But we go for breakfast!

The server might have a cute, affected lisp, and he might tell you that you can eat outside, for it might rain tomorrow. He might even roll his eyes and purse his lips in admonishment when you insist you'd prefer not to be outside. Might even put arms akimbo and tap a foot with impatience. But with a sigh, he'll eventually let us in. We like eating inside, the better to soak up the diner aura, rather than the street aura. Not that there's anything wrong with the beautiful boys who parade past in tanktops and tight jeans, but they do distract a bit from the food!

Although there is a Sunday brunch special, we favor the omelettes for breakfast any time of day. Our favorites: build your own, and one of us favors sausage and bleu cheese. The other goes à la carte with the lox and onion omelette. These things are huge -- they must seriously raid the henhouse for ova for every order. They come with thin-cooked chipped potatoes that are not quite crispy, but browned and soft-hearted, and garnished with a wedge of orange and a sprig of watercress -- peppery and crunchy, a nice change from parsley. Oh, and an English muffin -- be sure to ask for homemade strawberry jam, which comes free for the asking, really!

Their coffee is good and bottomless, as all coffee should be. On party nights there is often a jazz pianist (sometimes these people are simply random customers). Their menu has attitude (it admonishes, "Don't kick your sister. Chew with your mouth closed. Murray, call your mother!"), and the diner is decorated with art deco effect black plastic laminate tabletops and zinc wall coverings. Occasionally, you'll see stars and celebrities of some import and fame decorating the long, black counter. Last time, we saw Debbie Harry and George Clooney, but not together. (It would be très cool if they were!) It's a good palce for a date or to meet a friend for a catchup on gossip. The food won't let you down, the service is crisp, and this place will always be cool, if not trendy or chic.

By the way, the servers are lifers there, and often, they remember you. Recently, one of the owners died and they all showed up at the funeral service. We have no idea who was watching the shop, but we were recognized by them and they declared, "Hey, you were at Jack's funeral, wasn't that a lovely service?" So behave, tip well, and become a member of the dysfunctional family! And Murray, did you call you mother?!?


Disclaimer: The opinions and observations noted are the property of the author. Neither Wookieehut nor any associates makes any claims or lucre from the posting of this report or review. Enjoy!

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