A staple of any NYC neighborhood is a classic diner. When my husband and I first moved into our new spot in Kensington, BK, we thought we had ours. George’s Restaurant, on the border of Ditmas Park & Kensington, open since 1956, had all he signs of being a great neighborhood spot for the occasional low-frills breakfast or late night stop. With a faded red sign screaming the restaurant’s name, it seemed unconcerned by the more subtle and hipster-hungry awnings of the over-priced brunch and coffee shops surrounding it. Perfect.
It was one of our first ventures out into the neighborhood last year – late night after we (read: I) had a few too many glasses of wine out on the town and needed something to snack on before bed. I ordered my classic indulgence of cheese fries, nurtured extensively back in the day of Staten Island diner hopping. As we waiting, Ben sat across from me, having ordered nothing, patiently listening to me compare the merits of diners past. When my “dish” arrived, I knew George’s wasn’t going to fill the place in our lives that we were counting on.
A slice of unheated Kraft cheese sat in the middle of an enormous plate of reheated fries.
I’m not proud to say that I ate it anyway. When I’m booze hungry, my standards are close to nonexistent. But, I knew that we probably weren’t going back to George’s anytime soon.
We heard rumors that it might reopen by the family of the original owners with the promise of it being restored to its original quality and service. And soon, we saw the rumors to be true. I passed by and saw the inside of the restaurant being gutted and redone. I was excited, but was worried that it would come back as one of the upscale, hip places that now surrounded it in our “up and coming” BK neighborhood.
Earlier this month, it reopened and I peered into the windows as I walked by on my way to the Q. It seemed to have maintained its classic diner feel, but with a serious upgrade. Tidy booths and a long tiled counter. Black and white photos of its bustling first few years hung on the walls. Faded red sign intact. And, aside from the cheesy little latte design etched into the back of the chairs, it had no signs of catering specifically to a millennial crew. Hipster-avoidance: check. But would the food have the same upgrade?
We tested it out yesterday morning and realized we weren’t the only ones who were looking to test out whether George’s had been restored to its former glory. We were delighted (read: overjoyed and picturing future late night face stuffings) to find that the food is both delicious and inexpensive. A full menu of classic diner options, most of which were under $10 each. We had George’s special omelet and the corn beef hash. It was freshly made and came quickly.
The only drawbacks: the coffee wasn’t great (though you can’t expect much from diner coffee…) and the small size juices were basically shot glass size.
I’ll take it. We have our neighborhood diner back, and one more reason to love our cozy little neighborhood in Kensington.
P.S. If you want to check out George’s for yourself, stop by 753 Coney Island Avenue near Cortelyou Road. Open from 6am-11pm daily (though they have hopes to make it a 24 hour shop soon).