Even though I'd never been a customer, I was disheartened years ago when the facade of New Yorker's Pancake & Grill in East Rochester got a facelift, shedding an exterior that seemed beautifully trapped in a time warp. Earlier this week I stopped in for lunch with my friend Becky and was psyched to see that the old-time spirit was alive and well on the inside.
About as traditional as an authentic New York diner can get. Checkered floors in rust, pumpkin and aqua; wood paneling; mirrored columns, pictures of N.Y.C.; and booths and counter stools with aqua-colored upholstery. There also is table seating. The TV is a relic — it has a rounded back (remember those?).
Deciding to get a jump on my annual first-of-the-year gyro sandwich at the Lilac Festival, I ordered the Greek Melt ($6.95). Two thin slabs of gyro meat, a tomato and deliciously drippy American cheese sandwiched between two requisitely greasy slices of grilled rye, its simplicity caused me to question other ways I could incorporate gyro meat into my meals.
Becky wanted the Turkey & Cheddar Tortilla Wrap ($6.95) to be a Turkey & Provolone. When that wasn't available, she agreed to a Turkey & Mozzarella — a large tomato shell stuffed with turkey, shredded lettuce, tomato and cheese, and lightly drizzled with spicy ranch dressing. "I like the contrast of the warm wrap and turkey with the cooler ingredients," she said. "It makes it taste light and fresh."
Both our meals came with ruffled chips, which, unfortunately, were stale, and a steaming cup of homemade soup (the soup could be substituted for a potato) that was delivered less than two minutes after we placed our order. Bonus points for expeditiousness. My peppery Split Pea was thick and chunky, the way I like it. Becky appreciated the herbs and unusual pasta shapes in her Chicken and Rings soup.
As the restaurant's name implies, you can get pancakes here, with tongue-wagging names like Banana Nut Rum ($6.50 for a short stack/$7.50 for a full stack) and a range of healthy and diet-trouncing toppings that include fresh blueberries and M&Ms. Other breakfast foods, as well as salads, clubs, and more than two dozen sandwiches, are featured on the extensive menu.
Soft drinks are $2.25; milk, juice and hot chocolate are $1.95; milkshakes are $3.95; and hot tea or coffee is 90 cents. We stuck with water.
The damage: $18.01
Next time ... No doubt, I'd try the Houseburger (missed it on the menu the first time around): two burger patties with cheese, lettuce, tomato and Thousand Island dressing for $6.95.