The Unbearable Banishment: Hey Greeks! <i>How do you do it?!</i>

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hey Greeks! How do you do it?!

It has come to pass that certain industries in New York City are owned by certain ethnic groups. For instance, if you get a manicure, someone from Korea is going to do it. If you buy a diamond, it’s likely you’re going to buy it from someone who is Jewish. Most of the taxis drivers are from the Middle East. Investment bankers are almost always thieving parasites. (Ha. Little joke on that last one.)

If you eat in a diner, 9 times out of 10 it’s going to be owned by a Greek family. I love Greek diners. Who doesn’t? They are home away from home on a plate. This beauty is located at 8th Avenue and 50th St.

What I find astonishing is the vast number of items on the menu. It boggles the mind! Here's the left side of the menu…

…and here's the right.

This doesn’t even include the daily special inserts. There must be 200 meals here! These are small New York restaurants with small kitchens. WHERE DO THEY KEEP ALL THIS FOOD!? Try to imagine stocking your pantry with enough items to prepare any one of these meals on a moment’s notice. One table can order veal parmesan, a full pancake breakfast, a Greek salad, fillet of sole and a bowl of matzo ball soup and it will all arrive at the same time piping hot. It’s an impossible task but they succeed. Go Greeks!

Familiarity breeds comfort and each restaurant has the same accoutrements*, giving it that I’ve eaten here before feeling. No NYC Greek diner is complete without the obligatory autographed 8 x 10 glossy of a celebrity (pizza parlors do this, too)…

...and the refreshing cocktail suggestion placemat.

There’s always a seat at the counter, a bottomless cup of coffee (unlike Starbucks) and they keep the daily newspapers on hand for you to read while you eat. I love ‘em.

* For Mr. Mapstew.



Anonymous daisyfae said...

now i'm jonesin' for some pancakes and a gyro...

February 22, 2010 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Pueblo girl said...

"Familiarity breeds comfort"

Oh, I love that new twist.

February 22, 2010 at 10:25 AM  
Anonymous popomatic.jeff said...

I used to live near The Renaissance Diner on 9th Ave (in the 50s I think) and would eat there almost daily.

February 22, 2010 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Daisy: And you can get BOTH at the same restaurant. Heaven.

PG: I only WISH I was that clever. I heard that expression ages ago and made it part of my lexicon.

Pop: As you know, you can start at any point in Manhattan, walk a 4-block radius and you'll hit a Greek diner. And they're all winners.

February 22, 2010 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

We even had a Greek owned restaurant in the tiny Mississippi town where I grew up. It was called a cafe, but it was a diner. My dad would always take the five kids there on Christmas eve so my mom could wrap presents. Good memories.

February 22, 2010 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Poindexter said...

mmm, wish I could order up a nice falafel ball sandwich. My favorite diner in Houston is a jewish deli - Kenny & Ziggy's. We have a shortage of good Greek diners.

February 22, 2010 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

sweet mary sunshine, sugar! i swear i read, "Hey GEEKS! How do you do it?" ok, so i'm not only running on empty, i need new glasses! or maybe i just need an afternoon nap.... xoxoxox

February 22, 2010 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Cat: You just wrote a perfect little short story. Thank you.

Point: The best pastrami sandwich in town is at a Jewish deli (sorry, Greeks) called Katz's on the Lower East Side just a few blocks from where Mrs. Wife and I use to live.

Savannah: That easily could have been one of my frequent spelling gaffes. (And now that you mention it, how *DO* geeks do it?!)

February 22, 2010 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

I generally avoid places with menus that long, but if you say it's good, I believe you.

February 22, 2010 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

And now I'm hungry again!

February 22, 2010 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

HIF: You need to lower your standards! I never said the food was great, but the menu has something for everyone.

Map: I didn't even mention the big desert carousel. Pies and cakes spinning around and around.

February 22, 2010 at 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"accoutrements" and "gendarmes"? Youse gettin' reel refined, UB.

Who's the celeb?

I once ate in a Greek restaurant in Merseburg, Germany. The owner was a Greek (obviously), personable and funny as hell. He really wanted us to speak English to the waiter so the waiter could work on his own English.

Start and finish every meal with Ouzo.

February 22, 2010 at 9:23 PM  
Anonymous sid said...

That's a gorgeous photo of Brooke Shields. That is Brooke Shields, right?

February 23, 2010 at 4:25 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Rob/Sid: Yes, that's Brooke Shields circa 1986. You can click on it for a better look. I wish it was a clearer pic. The eye make-up looks particularly dated.

February 23, 2010 at 7:36 AM  

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