Every neighborhood needs a quality, go-to Greek Diner — the place where you can get (almost) anything you crave, whether you show up for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In midtown east (on First Avenue just around the corner from 57th Street), Sutton Cafe Restaurant has been keeping customers fed and happy for 30 years — and that’s gotta be good!
Owner John Manolidis was a huge fan of the location’s previous restaurant, Soupburg, which he and his wife purchased in 1991 . In 1998, they acquired the adjacent storefront and transformed Soupburg into Sutton Cafe, with John retiring from his lucrative job as a mechanical engineer and taking over all duties in the kitchen.
In addition to serving delicious homemade specialties — which range from classic breakfast items like Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Omelettes, Greek Specialties, Hot Pressed Paninis, Pastas, Huge Fresh Salads, Juicy Burgers and all of your Comfort Food favorites — Sutton Cafe is known for its friendly and personalized service in a warm and cozy setting. The walls are decorated with fun Coffee Shop art and photos of NYC street scenes. You’ll feel at home as soon as you sit down.
On my recent visit, I was accompanied by two friends: Miriam, who’s been a long-time customer of the cafe, and my fellow food journalist Anne. Our waiter remembered how Miriam likes her food, and was happy to customize some of the menu selection to suit her tastes, which you don’t find just anywhere.
Miriam recommended that we start our meal with a variety of popular appetizers, so the kitchen made us a custom tray featuring their tender, crispy Chicken Fingers, sweet and crunchy Onion Rings, and fried Mozzarella Sticks, all served with a side of homemade marinara sauce (you could also ask for honey mustard sauce for the Chicken Fingers if you like).
We also sampled a Greek Diner staple, the tender Stuffed Grape Leaves, filled with tasty rice and seasonings. If you love Grape Leaves, these are excellent.
Miriam ordered one of her favorites, Spaghetti and Meatballs, but asked for a smaller portion (seen above), which they are happy to do. All entrees are accompanied by your choice of homemade soup or a small fresh salad.
Anne was watching her carbs, so she opted for the Horiatiki Salad made with tomato, cucumber, onion, feta cheese and sliced grilled chicken. Good, and good for you! As you can see, they don’t skimp on the chicken, which makes this salad a very satisfying meal on its own.
She also added a side of sautéed chopped spinach with garlic. This item is not listed separately on the menu, but they are happy accommodate any dietary needs — just ask!
For my entrée, I chose one of my favorites, the hearty Meatloaf platter. This stick-to-your-ribs dish features two thick slices of meatloaf topped with a rich brown gravy and served with a choice of potato and vegetable. Seen here are the super creamy Mashed Potatoes, with fresh Broccoli, steamed to perfection. While I prefer the classic ground beef variety, Sutton Cafe also offers turkey meatloaf, for those with a preference. This portion was so generous, I took a slice home for dinner the next day (and it was just as juicy and delicious).
Sutton Cafe’s sumptuous desserts are sourced from local bakeries, so they are always fresh and delicious. We tried the cheesecake, which was so creamy and light you’d think you were in a fine dining establishment!
Also highly recommend is the super fudge-y three-layer chocolate cake, with rich chocolate icing enhanced with sprinkles and miniature chocolate chips for a fun contrast of textures. You could easily split one slice between two people, because it is huge. So good!
Sutton Cafe Restaurant is Located at 1026 1st Avenue (Between 56th and 57th) New York, NY 10022, Phone (212) 421-9184. Check Them Out Online at www.suttoncafenyc.com for Full Menus and Lots of Gorgeous Photos of Their Most Popular Dishes. You Can Also Order From Them Directly for Delivery, or via Favorite Apps Like DoorDash, GrubHub and Delivery.com! Hours are 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM Daily!