Old school, traditional, classic, whatever you call these New York institutions they are becoming more and more rare. Every year, New York City says good-bye to another long-standing, independent establishment to make way for a big box chain. This is not the definitive list of places untouched by gentrification, but it’s a good place to start. The oldest place in this guide is from 1817, the newest is 1974. Visit these living museums before the “mallification” of the city claims another victim.
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Smoked Fish & Bagels | Russ & Daughters
Opened in 1914.
Traditional deli that has remained in the same family since opening. You can buy smoked fish, herring, bagels, handmade chocolates, dried fruit, caviar, and halvah.
"I love the places on the Lower East Side that have been here for so many generations and I love Russ & Daughters for the smoked fish." - Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park & The Nomad
179 East Houston Street, New York, NY 10002
Coffee Shop | Hungarian Pastry Shop
Opened in 1961.
Expect to see your share of Columbia University students and professors laptop surfing at this old style coffee shop that serves traditional Hungarian pastries.
"This is a very old school coffee shop that hasn't changed since it opened over 50 years ago. I order a cappuccino with cinnamon on top or a double espresso and a pastry or the apple tart. It's pretty cheap and very nice quality." - Chef Raphael Francois
1030 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025
Bialy | Kossar's
Opened in 1936.
This is the oldest bialy bakery in the United States and they still make them by hand on the premises. In 1998, they began making bagels as well.
"I get an onion bialy, take it home, toast it with a little butter and tomato. Perfect." - Chef Miguel Trinidad of Maharlika, Jeepney
367 Grand Street, New York, NY 10002
T: 212.473.4810 | www.kossarsbialys.com
DOWNTOWN FOOD SHOPS
Candies | Economy Candy
Opened in 1937.
Come here to experience being the ultimate kid in a candy shop. They have been selling out of the same modest location since the '30s.
"There's a great old world vibe at this dive of a candy shop in the LES, but you can find nearly every candy you've ever worried was gone forever from average grocery store shelves." - Pastry Chef Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar
108 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002
T: 212.254.1531 | www.economycandy.com
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Italian Gourmet Foods | Di Palo Selects
Opened in 1925.
Fifth-generation run Italian grocery where you can get cheeses, meats (salami, prosciutto, and sausages), olive oil, pasta, sauces, and olives, coffee and sweets.
"I come here to shop for meats and cheeses that I take home to eat." - Chef Iacopo Falai of Bottega Falai
"Whenever you buy from them, no matter what it is, you can take quality as a foregone conclusion."- Pasty Chef Julian Plyter of Melt Bakery
200 Grand Street, New York, NY 10013
T: 212.226.1033 | www.dipaloselects.com
Butcher | Florence Meat Market
Opened in 1936.
Meat aged in-house and custom-butchered at this tiny butcher shop with saw dust floors and family pictures on the walls.
"It’s such a throwback to the old style butcher shop. It's a tiny little sliver of a space covered with sawdust. Whatever it is you’re looking for, they’re cutting it to order. On top of which I find their prices to be really competitive. They have something called the Newport Steak. It’s a cut of beef and it’s prime, but it’s an underutilized part of the cow which they butcher for you right there." - Chef Ben Daitz of Num Pang
5 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014
Seafood | Grand Central Oyster Bar
Opened in 1913.
Located in on the lower lever of Grand Central station, they opened their doors in 1913 and have been packed since. Classic, buzzy and historic. There are two rooms, the front is large with counter seating and tables under tiled arches, the back bar (go through the door with the porthole) is more intimate with wood paneling and seafaring art on the walls.
"A New York classic, one of the few remaining. Of course, go for the oysters, but I also love staring at the arched terra cotta tile ceiling. Simply amazing." - Restaurateur Krystof Zizka of Maison Premiere
89 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017 | T: 212.490.6650 | www.oysterbarny.com
Chinese Dim Sum | Nom Wah Tea Parlor
Opened in 1920.
You'll feel like you've stepped onto a Hollywood movie set. Nom Wah opened in 1920 as a bakery and a tea parlor and the first dim sum restaurant in the city. Wally Tang took over in 1974 and now the next generation, his nephew Wilson Tang, is at the helm. The interior has had a few updates, but retains the vintage look.
"The is my go to spot for dim sum. I love the egg rolls. They take an egg crepe, stuff it, batter it, and then fry it. Their Har Gow is also fantastic. Definitely come here hungry and order everything." - Chef Miguel Trinidad of Maharlika and Jeepney
"One of my favorite things here is the rice roll with fried dough. It is dough with a large sheet of white noodles wrapped around it and served with a sweet soy sauce." - Chef Jonathan Wu of Fung Tu
13 Doyers Street, New York, NY 10013 | T: 212.962.6047 | nomwah.com
Smoked Meats & Sandwiches | Salumeria Biellese
Opened in 1925.
As descendants from the Province of Biella in Italy's Piedmont region, it’s Old World Style Italian and Mediterranean products.
"They do an amazing job making wonderful sausages and charcuterie items and have a restaurant next door." - Allan Benton of Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Ham
"We use their charcuterie at our restaurant. I love that an Italian family started it and they get very creative, like they’ll take a Prosciutto di Parma and they’ll cover it in maple syrup and then stud it with fennel and different spices and let it hang in their storage facility for about a month. It's a whole different flavor. They have Mangalitsa Lardo that is unbelievable. I come here and I'll just literary try 15 or 20 different hams and salamis. This place is awesome." - Chef Jesse Schenker of The Gander, Recette
"My favorite domestic charcuterie would have to here. They have spent a lot of money and time to keep their product authentic in this country, not an easy task with the FDA breathing down your neck. I've yet to see anyone come close in the States." - Chef Rob Evans of Duckfat
378 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10001
T: 212.736.7376 | www.salumeriabiellese.com
UPTOWN FOOD SHOPS
Deli | Murray’s Sturgeon Shop
Opened in 1946.
You can come here to buy sable fish, caviar, or at the very least, to check out the original '40s decor.
"It’s a throwback to the 40s and 50s. It is tiny, filled with the best of Jewish-style fish, chopped liver and, of course, they have real bialys!" - Chef Jonathan Waxman of Barbutto
2429 Broadway, New York, NY 10024
T: 212.724.2650 | www.murrayssturgeon.com
Bakery | Glaser's Bake Shop
Opened in 1902.
Originally a bread bakery, but in the '50s they added cakes and pastries.
"Really old school. They are a 100 years old and do German-influenced American bakery desserts, which were really typical back then, but they have incorporated a lot of new things. Their Black & White cookies are amazing." - Renato Poliafito of Baked
1670 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10128
T: 212.289.2562 | www.glasersbakeshop.com
Wine | Acker Merrall and Condit
Opened in 1920.
"The oldest wine shop in America. A real classic." - Winemaker Steve Matthiasson of Matthiasson Wines
160 West 72nd Street, New York, NY 10023
T: 212.787.1700 | ackerstore.com
Gourmet Foods Emporium | Zabar's
Opened in 1934.
A gourmand's department store that specializes in smoked fish, but they also carry everything from caviar to coffee; toasters to vacuum cleaners.
"The densely packed, hyperkinetic Zabar's! This store is the heat of my neighborhood, the Upper West Side. They stock the best copperware and small appliances, the best smoked fish, cured meats, and the massive sundry items that my neighbors line up for in lemming-like precision." - Chef Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto
2245 Broadway, New York, NY 10024
T: 212.787.2000 | www.zabars.com
Hotel Bar | Bemelmans Bar
Opened in 1930.
Step into a bit of old New York to sip a classic cocktail. The name of the bar comes from the mural by Ludwig Bemelmans (the creator of the Madeline series of children's books).
"I love old school bars like this one." - Bartender Tony Conigliaro of 69 Colebrooke Row, The Zetter, Drink Factory
"For a classic New York City experience. They have maintained a great level of service and integrity over time." - Restaurateur Zeb Stewart of Cafe Colette, Hotel Delmano, Union Pool
"For martinis, of course." - Chef Jonathan Waxman of Barbutto
35 East 76th Street, New York, NY 10075
T: 212.744.1600 | www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/the-carlyle-new-york/dining/bemelmans-bar
Hotel Bar | King Cole Bar
Opened in 1932.
In 1934, a drink called the ‘Red Snapper’ was mixed here, said to be the precursor of the Bloody Mary. Sit at the bar and stare at the famous Maxfield Parrish mural -- see if you can figure out "the secret."
"On my list of favorite old school bars." - Bartender Tony Conigliaro of 69 Colebrooke Row, The Zetter, Drink Factory
"Come here for a Side Car." - Chef Jonathan Waxman of Barbutto
St. Regis New York, 2 East 55th Street, New York, NY 10022
T: 212.339.6857 | www.kingcolebar.com
Steakhouse | Keens
Opened in 1885.
The history, the wooden bar, and the famous mutton chop.
"It's just delicious, period. I always get the Porterhouse Steak. It's the combination of two favorite cuts of meat, the filet mignon and the New York strip with the bone in the middle. High quality meat. But I think the first time I went here what struck me was the history behind it. Being in Herald Square, they used to be in the old theater district and were known for their mutton chops and there was a period of time, I believe in the ‘30s or ‘40s, where no women were allowed. Then what made the mutton chop famous was a female Broadway performer snuck in or got in and she was accepted. That changed the whole game and she ordered the mutton chops and that's how still to this day they're famous." - Chef George Mendes of Aldea
72 West 36th Street, New York, NY 10018
T: 212.947.3636 | www.keens.com
American | P.J. Clarke's
Opened in 1884.
Famous for their hamburger, this red-brick pub is the kind of place that appeals to all walks of life and was the frequent haunt of legendary celebs like Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jackie Kennedy.
"For the Cadillac Burger, which is topped with smoked country bacon and American cheese. This classic establishment is a saloon-style restaurant and always lively. It’s one of my favorite places in the city to sit down and enjoy a burger." - Chef Laurent Tourondel of BLT Burger, BLT Steak, Brasserie Ruhlmann, LT Burger
915 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022
T: 212.317.1616 | www.pjclarkes.com
French | Le Veau d'Or
Opened in 1937.
Le Veau d'Or came of age in the 1930s and through the years was a hot spot for starts like Orson Wells, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich. Chances are small that you'll spot any hipsters at this time warp bistro, but you will find classic French cuisine from vichysoisse to lamb stew.
"One of the last remaining old-school French restaurants in New York. Seems like the menu has not changed since the 1930s." - Restaurateur Krystof Zizka of Maison Premiere
129 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022
OLD SCHOOL DIVE BARS
Dive | The Dublin House
Opened in the 1921.
The Dublin House opened as a speakeasy in 1921 during Prohibition. In 1933, up went their iconic neon harp sign. Now owned by Ireland-born bartender Mike Cormican, he's been the Dublin House's main bartender for 16 years, working six nights a week.
"A dive bar of note." - Sommelier Levi Dalton, host of I'll Drink to That! Podcasts
"One of the best pints of Guinness in New York, Frank McCourt once said to me. He's absolutely right. And the silver-haired Irish bartenders bring the Blarney." - Bartender Brian Bartels of Fedora
Open until 4am
225 West 79th Street, New York, NY 10024
T: 212.874.9528 | www.dublinhousenyc.com
Dive | McSorley's Old Ale House
Opened in 1854.
McSorley's boasts of being New York City's oldest continuously operated saloon. Everyone from Abe Lincoln to John Lennon has passed thru Mcsorley's swinging doors.
"One of the oldest bars in New York and it's bursting with character." - Bartender Jack McGarry of Dead Rabbit
"Go at 4pm in the afternoon, before the douchebags show up. Get the cheese plate and the liverwurst sandwich." - Bartender Dave Arnold of Booker & Dax
"Abraham Lincoln drank here for Christ's sake. It's the quintessential bar and it smells like it with sawdust on the floor as well." - Bartender Toby Maloney of Pouring Ribbons
"Divey, with raw onion and cheese platters, but it also can get a little frat-boyish, so I have to take a few points away." - Sommelier Michael Madrigale of Bar Boulud, Boulud Sud
15 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003
Dive | Ear Inn
Opened in 1817.
Located in the historic James Brown House, a designated Landmark of the City of New York, it’s possibly the oldest bar in Manhattan. In addition to being an old school bar, they also serve hearty and inexpensive food.
"It’s old and you feel it. There is nothing special about it, other than it’s awesome. You feel good in here, everyone is nice and you come for a beer. You look around and it’s a bar, just a bar, that’s it." - Bartender Tristan Willey (Formerly of Booker & Dax)
326 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013
T: 212.226.9060 | earinn.com
Smoked Meat Sandwiches | Katz's Deli
Opened in 1888.
Get your ticket and wait in line for their hot pastrami sandwiches. Four different US presidents have eaten here, but mostly expect to see bubbes, bar hoppers, and lots of tourists.
"For a corned beef sandwich, thinly sliced from the fat side with a Cel-Ray soda." - Chef Wylie Dufresne of Alder and formerly of WD~50
"For their pastrami. They transport me back to what I imagine old New York used to be like." - Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park and The Nomad
"Nothing better than a corned beef sandwich at Katz's Deli." - Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia and Milkwood
Open until 2:45am on Weekends
205 East Houston Street, New York, NY 10002 | T: 212.254.2246 | www.katzsdelicatessen.com
Egg Creams | Ray’s Candy Store
Opened in 1974.
Owner Ray Alvarez moved to NYC in 1964 and worked as a dishwasher at Rockefeller Center until he was able to buy this Alphabet City bodedga in 1974 for $32,000. He still works here and often on the night shift.
"For egg creams. Best egg cream in the city if you get it from Ray. He mostly works at night." - Chef & Soda Maker Anton Nocito of P & H Soda and Syrup Inc
Open 24 Hours
113 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Egg Creams | Gem Spa
Opened in the 1920s.
The Gem Spa (renamed in the 1957) looks like any other 24-hour corner bodega with racks of hats and sunglasses jamming the front sidewalk, but it was one of the original spots to get made-to-order egg creams, which they still sell. It was a beatnik hangout in the '50s and '60s and the backdrop on the New York Dolls' first album cover in the '70s.
"This has been an institution in the East Village forever. One of the photos of the New York Dolls is shot outside of Gem Spa. They still make real egg creams." - Chef Paul Gerard of E's Bar
Open 24 Hours
131 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Ukrainian | Veselka
Opened in 1954.
This 24-hour Eastern European East Village diner is one of the last of the many Slavic restaurants that once proliferated the neighborhood. Expect lots of club kids in the late night hours.
"I love to come here to this Ukrainian diner late at night to have some pierogies." - Chef Dave Pasternack of Esca, Barchetta
Open 24 Hours
144 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003
T: 212.228.9682 | www.veselka.com