The neighborhood diner is a staple of New York life—just ask the characters on Seinfeld—but one that's increasingly less common on the streets of the city. The shift is a logical one; when high-end burger joints, artisan milkshake bars, and first-class brunch spots appear on every block, the humble diner starts to lose its appeal. Still, there's a certain niche to be filled by the corner eatery.
In the West Village, The Waverly—not to be confused with its higher profile neighbor, the Waverly Inn—has all the essentials of a good diner: 24-hour operation, brusque but efficient service, bottomless coffee, a many-page menu. Omelets come with crispy shredded hash browns (not home fries); waffles are fluffy; eggs are poached just right. Prices, by Manhattan standards, are absurdly low—omelets start under $5, pancakes under $6, fried eggs for $4. And its throwback decor is entirely unconscious; unlike Johnny Rocket's down the street, the Waverly feels comfortably aged rather than cartoonishly dated.
The food's nothing spectacular, but diners like these are as reliable as it gets. What's your favorite neighborhood diner? And what should we order, when we're there?
385 Sixth Avenue, New York NY 10014 (at Waverly Place; map)