Tag Archive | Diner

Gramercy Kitchen: A NYC Diner With a Small Town Vibe!

Exterior Shot
All Photos By Gail

Diner culture is iconic across America, but in NYC, where the small business real estate landscape changes in a heartbeat, people whisper that the days of the old New York Coffee Shops are numbered. The value of a neighborhood gem, where the food is tasty, the prices fair, and —  at the risk of sounding cliche —  “everybody knows your name” cannot be taken for granted. Revelation: the owners and staff of a new eatery, Gramercy Kitchen, have warmly embraced that credo. Gramercy Kitchen just opened for business in January, exactly one year after the space’s former tenant, Gramercy Cafe, closed its doors after 24 years in business. Gramercy Kitchen is under new ownership and unaffiliated with its predecessor. Menu Detail 1

Gramercy Kitchen happens to be in my old ‘hood of Gramercy Park, and I was curious to pay them a visit, so I stopped in one evening on my way home from the office to grab a Burger. The restaurant was in that transitional lull before the dinner rush hits, and after being seated at the ‘family booth’ — with its massive curved banquette that takes up the entire front corner of the restaurant — I struck up a conversation with general manager John K., a relaxed and friendly guy who treated me like we were old friends. John was happy to answer my questions about the menu, what Gramercy Kitchen offers customers that its neighboring restaurants might not,  and the experience of opening a  new restaurant in one of Manhattan’s most historic neighborhoods.

Haloumi Salad

Halloumi cheese is one of my favorite things, and Gramercy Kitchen has a Halloumi Salad ($14) that is huge! This salad can easily be  shared, or made into a satisfying entree with the addition of grilled chicken.  Halloumi cheese has a high melting point, and it is served lightly grilled over abundant greens, chopped tomatoes, olives and slivered red onions, with a generous portion (6 pieces!) of fresh pita bread. John mentioned that the restauant’s chef/owner is from Cyprus, where halloumi is made. Oil and Vinegar dressing comes with the salad but there are other dressing choices you can ask for, such as Avocado Ranch, which is what I had.

Menu Detail 2

Gramercy Kitchen’s massive, 8-ounce sirloin burger is priced at $12 — which includes Lettuce and Tomato —  and you can build your own custom creation from there. Add your choice of Cheese for $2Sliced Onion for $1, and premium toppings such as Avocado or Bacon for $4 each. They also offer something called Mercy Mayo, which is mayonnaise mixed with ketchup and tabasco sauce, for a tangy kick on your burger or fries!

Cheese Burger and Fries

Here is a photo of my Cheddar Cheeseburger with sliced Avocado, which was amazing! And check out those Curly Steak Fries, which I’ve never seen on any other diner menu. They are out of control delicious! “While we don’t feature any ‘specialty’ burgers,” John explained, “we want our customers to feel comfortable to choose what they want, the way they want it, made to order!”

Tuna Melt and Fries

Another favorite on the menu is the classic Tuna Melt, served here with Swiss cheese on grilled rye bread ($10/ $15 with Fries). The Tuna Melt was added to the  menu based on customer demand. John said that a lot of people coming in were formerly customers of the previous diner, and Gramercy Kitchen wants everyone who might have been dining there for years to find familiar items on the new menu.

Fresh Orange Juice

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to drink, but John suggested a glass of their freshly squeezed Orange Juice, which was not only refreshingly sweet and tasty, but very reasonably priced at just $5 for a 12 ounce Glass,  or $7 for 16 ounces.

Counter Detail

Updated interior finishes include a new marble countertop with a Mediterranean-blue ceramic tile backsplash, as well as frosted globe light fixtures throughout the restaurant. The room maintains a cozy feel, but on sunny days an atrium ceiling skylight makes the most of natural light.

Globe Light Detail

Interior

No matter what you are in the mood for, you will find something yummy to satisfy that craving. Gramercy Kitchen’s menu features a wide selection of fresh seafood, including muscles, shrimp, salmon and lobster dishes. “Our seafood is freshly delivered by Bayside Seas,” John told me. “They’re huge supporters of the restaurant and are dedicated  to supplying us with the best quality fish.” For the morning crowd, the restaurant offers a breakfast special that includes eggs, home fries, toast and your choice of organic hot coffee or hot tea, all for just $7.00 —  a price point that’s even competitive with fast food joints!

Rice Pudding

The dessert menu includes irresistible favorites like Carrot Cake, Cheese Cake and Apple Crumb Pie. I was too stuffed from my salad and burger to eat one more bite, but, on John’s recommendation, I took home the made-in-house Rice Pudding ($5) to snack on while I watched TV. There is some kind of secret flavor profile going on with this Rice Pudding (seen above) that I think might includes orange, lavender or something wildly exotic, which makes it taste exceptionally delicious. John refused to divulge the secret recipe even though I contacted him the day after my visit to ask him what was in it.  Rice Pudding: Recommended!

“The best thing about this restaurant is the community and our great staff, “John confessed. Gramercy Kitchen provides great service in a warm atmosphere. Once you come in for a meal, we think you’ll find many reasons to come back again!” I know I’ll be back!

Gramercy Kitchen is Located at 184 Third Avenue, on the Southwest Corner of East 17th Street, NYC.

Gramercy Kitchen Signage

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William Eggleston’s The Democratic Forest at David Zwirner

Red Diner
All Photos By Gail

David Zwirner Gallery is currently hosting its first exhibition with William Eggleston since having announced the gallery’s exclusive worldwide representation of the artist. On view at the space on West 20th Street in New York are works from Eggleston’s monumental project The Democratic Forest.

Two Cars

Over the course of nearly six decades, Eggleston has established a singular pictorial style that deftly combines vernacular subject matter with an innate and sophisticated understanding of color, form, and composition. His photographs transform the ordinary into distinctive, poetic images that eschew fixed meaning.

Room Interior with Viewer

His 1976 solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, curated by John Szarkowski, marked the first presentation of color photography at the museum. Although initially criticized for its unfamiliar approach, the show and its accompanying catalogue, William Eggleston’s Guide, heralded an important moment in the medium’s acceptance within the art historical canon, and it solidified the artist’s position as one of its foremost practitioners to this date. Eggleston’s work continues to exert an influence on contemporary visual culture at large.

Pool

The Democratic Forest is among Eggleston’s most ambitious projects and a prime example of his uniquely recognizable aesthetic. Likened to an epic journey or an enduring narrative, it comprises a careful selection of works from over ten thousand negatives he took in the mid-1980s across the southern and eastern parts of America and in several European countries.

Road

These low profile casters of rural back roads, industrial and residential environs, architectural details, restaurant interiors, and parking lots, among other locales, eluded the conventions of both reportage and the black-and-white art photography practiced by many of the artist’s peers at the time, and instead shaped their own definition of what a photographic image could be—intuitive and charged with imaginative possibilities.

Cars with Viewer

Palm Tree

Collectively, the project echoes Eggleston’s predilection for the “democratic” vision of the camera, able to render equally what is in front of the lens.

Blue Picnic Table

The show will include over forty works from The Democratic Forest, the majority of which have not been exhibited previously. Although taken thirty years ago, the photographs appear to cast their subjects in a timeless light.

Diner Table

As the art historian Alexander Nemerov writes in a new catalogue published by David Zwirner Books/Steidl on the occasion of the show:

Eggleston’s work—the great flow of it— feels…impelled by the world. It feels, to put it another way, pulled along by the world, by things outside the artist, rather than compelled by something inside him….[O]ne feels him being borne along by a current… [T]he current [he] rides along is simply the proliferation of scenes — the great panoramic film strip of it, never ending in its flow of gas stations and horse buggies and parking lots and roadside trees and filigreed urns stamped in tin. But more than that…there is the feeling that the infiniteness of the world, the sheer extent of it, is its own kind of eternity.

Car Wash

William Eggleston was born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, where he continues to live today.

William Eggleston Signage

William Eggleston’s The Democratic Forest will be on Exhibit Through December 17th, 2016 at David Zwirner Gallery, Located at 537 West 20th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

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