In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around New York. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
"Is this the way the shop has always looked," we ask Carmine Morales of the 37-year-old Classic Coffee Shop.
"More or less, except for this lava lamp. My son got it for me when Obama was first elected." The rest is a visual history of the Lower East Side—black and whites of the old neighborhood, posters for Coca Cola, instructional ads for egg creams from back when people drank them.
The menu hasn't changed much either, and it's as barebones as it gets: ham and cheese sandwiches, bagels with butter, canned tuna and sardines. But Carmine whips out the small burner for a great classic grilled cheese ($4) and an even better Tuna Melt ($5.50), which is appropriately generous with the mayo on thoroughly griddled rye. (You could get white or wheat bread as well, but why?) It's worth noting that the tuna melt is the priciest item on the menu.
Like Cup & Saucer, Classic Coffee Shop isn't a place to go out of your way for, but it's a standout example of a dying breed of neighborhood luncheonettes worth preserving. We'll be back for the vibe, that tuna melt, and one of the better egg creams I've had in a long time.
Classic Coffee Shop
56 Hester Street, New York, NY 10002 (map)