On Bowery just south of Houston, the Bowery Diner sits on the edge of the rustic yet hip Lower East Side. The buildings surrounding are a mix of new constructions with glass siding and soft lines, and old stone tenement buildings. The Bowery Diner, made-up in the style of a 1960’s diner with a menu to match, taps into that evasively hip mixture of old and new.
The neon lights, aluminum tabletops, white subway tiling and a jukebox tucked into the corner create an endearing nostalgia. But it is kept in check by the dim lighting and a simple black t-shirt uniform for the staff. Oh, and their extensive bar.
The establishment is family friendly, but their “Spike It!” section of alcoholic milkshakes on their breakfast and lunch menu makes it clear that they know how to cater to a younger crowd.
They serve breakfast and lunch 8am-5pm, dinner 5pm-12 am Sunday through Thursday. Dinner is served 5pm-11pm Friday and Saturday with an afterhours abridged menu available 11pm-5am.
Most of their breakfast and lunch selections range from $6-$16. Highlights of the menu are the milkshakes made with a la carte mix-ins and thick, creamy vanilla frozen custard, and the Belgian Waffles off the “Griddle” menu.
At $12, the dish comes with four waffle triangles (think a regular sized square waffle cut corner to corner), maple syrup, bacon, a cup of frozen custard, and chocolate sauce on the side. The waffles were not too sweet for the decadent toppings which were also balanced well by the perfectly cooked bacon. The only disappointment was the chocolate which tasted like simple store bought bottle chocolate sauce.
It was enough food to be filling, but not enough to leave you in the state of discomfort and self loathing that only an over indulgent breakfast can induce.
Overall, the Bowery Diner is reasonably priced with a fun theme and understated hipness. But if that doesn’t keep you coming back, than their exceptional food should.