5th Avenue is all about expensive tastes. Do you know Viand Coffee Shop?
Barney’s has fashion’s cutting-edge trends, Bergdorf exudes elegance, and Trump Tower is gaudy and gold. It’s fun to wander through the lobby of the Plaza Hotel or browse the aisles at Tiffany’s. But when lunch time comes around, where can a humble working man get an honest meal in a land of such opulence? Thank goodness for Viand Coffee Shop NYC.
New York City Diners
For the uninitiated, let me take a moment to praise the New York City diner. These simple eateries are the true community centers of New York. They exist in every neighborhood and all follow the same business model. They serve an enormous menu of food 24 hours a day. The food is hearty, affordable, and familiar. Pancakes, eggs, toast, and bacon reign at breakfast, hamburgers and sandwiches the rest of the day. There are unlimited cups of coffee, muffins and pies on display, and a décor that ranges from kitschy to dingy. Each one shares the same features and food so everyone passing through the neighborhood feels welcome and comfortable, even at a diner they’ve never been to.
That said, each one is independently owned and reflects the quirks and communities of their corner of the city. My local diner seems to always be playing smooth jazz over the speakers and financial news on TV. I’ve never figured out why. These diners attract all kinds of people from all walks of life. Even rich neighborhoods have diners. People at the counter talk sports or politics. Friends and families socialize in the booths. And all through the day and night the city pulses through these unassuming restaurants. Not only that: the food is usually pretty good – especially Greek food. Greek immigrants often get their start in the New York restaurant business by owning a diner.
Viand Coffee Shop NYC
That brings us back to the Upper East Side. On the corner of East 61st Street and Madison Avenue, catty corner from Barney’s Department Store, sits Viand Coffee Shop. At Viand Coffee Shop NYC residents can get a simple meal at any time, day or night. It’s a tiny place that might be more accurately described as a luncheonette or lunch counter, which is a smaller version of a diner. The space is very narrow and each booth only has room for two patrons. Most customers eat at stools along the counter where they can watch their breakfast or lunch being made. There’s hardly any room to eat, let alone cook, but somehow the staff churns out sandwiches, breakfasts, and full-plate dinners, all at the same time from a tiny kitchen.
The patrons are an incredible cross section of the tony Upper East Side. There are tourists and shoppers waiting for a booth, as well as well-heeled neighborhood residents who look like they’d fit in better at the Plaza. But at its heart, Viand is a place for the neighborhood workers. All day there are construction workers, domestic workers, and shop workers going in and out. Viand Coffee Shop is one of the only affordable places in a neighborhood packed with exorbitantly-priced establishments, and people take advantage. Everyone loves the shop’s in-house roasted turkey sandwiches, rich and less-rich alike, so check it out if you’re in the neighborhood. Viand is a true piece of everyday New York, and a rare restaurant experience where your wallet leaves just as full as your stomach.This entry was posted in Food