An Ode to the Cup and Saucer Diner

by Ellie Seymour
cup and saucer diner ellie seymour

I love anything ‘old New York’ especially diners, luncheonettes and shopfronts, so the last time I was in NYC, I made a pilgrimage to the Lower East Side to discover the Cup and Saucer Diner – a classic NYC luncheonette with a cool shopfront and vintage Coca Cola sign. The fact I arrived an hour after it closed, means I missed out on pancakes – which, I’ve just found out, I won’t ever get to try; the diner having closed its doors permanently this time last year due to a crazy hike in rent – heartbreak!

cup and saucer luncheonette lower east side

When it opened in 1940 in the same spot, it was surrounded by immigrant owned businesses. Even after 70 years, it was still one of those cosy, humble places everyone however rich or poor, came to for its cheap all-American comfort food – think classic pancakes, eggs and bacon, club sandwiches, cheeseburger deluxes…

cup and saucer diner canal street

“Years back, we had our regular clientele who didn’t even have to place an order, we would just see them walk in and start cooking their food and pouring their coffee for them. Our menu, however, has stayed the same with eggs in the morning and hamburgers and simple sandwiches for lunch. We close by 6 pm so complicated dinner offerings are not an issue,” current owner John, told James and Karla Murray, photographers and authors of Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York.

What made the Cup and Saucer so special was that most of its original décor and furnishings remained intact, including its classic swivel diner bar stools and the cup and saucer picture on the mosaic floor.

So… here’s to the Cup and Saucer Diner. (Rumor has it that it might reopen in a different location in New York, but no one knows for sure. Until then, there’s always Eisenberg’s…)

(Pictures except top image via James and Karla’s blog)

Psst. All of New York’s disappearing store fronts and A guide to New York’s disappearing flower district.

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