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Home > Restaurants > Gena's Grill

Gena's Grill

210 First Ave., New York, NY 10009 40.730412 -73.983211
nr. 13th St.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
212-473-3700 Send to Phone

  • Cuisine: Latin American
  • Price Range: $

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Photo by Dave Ratzlow

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Official Website


Daily, 7am-11pm

Nearby Subway Stops

L at First Ave.; 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R at 14th St.-Union Sq.



Payment Methods

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Special Features

  • Breakfast
  • Delivery
  • Dine at the Bar
  • Lunch
  • Take-Out


  • No Alcohol


Not Accepted

Delivery Area

Houston St. to 30th St., FDR Dr. to Sixth Ave.


By lunchtime Gena's six-seat counter is lined with service-industry workers, contractors, salesmen, and chatty Spanish-speaking ladies settling down for fried pork or chicken, breaded steak, and the daily stews, bubbling with anything from oxtail to pig's feet to goat. Pressed against the near wall, below a wall-to-wall mirror, are three tables, arranged with white and red tablecloths triangulated over each other to give the tiny diner a perky accent. Three family photos near the kitchen are the only decoration. The phone rings nonstop with orders for nearly everything on the sizeable menu. Dominican-born owners Gena and Louis Rivera, a mom-and-son team, are just the kind of jovial, hard-working types suited to running a hot-meal countertop. Reborn in spring 2004 from its tenure as the National Café, with largely Cuban food, Gena's is the kind of place where customers find something they like and eat it repeatedly. The Latin menu consists of food from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico: stews with golf ball-size chunks of meat, roasts, and fried and breaded dishes. Most items are solid and non-greasy, with viscous, peppery sauces and dark-ruby skins. Thick sandwiches on crusty bread include a steak-and-onion piled with brawny, aromatic meat and silky onions, and the winning Cuban, with succulent shredded pork, thickly cut ham, and cheese and pickles expertly grilled in a sandwich press. It's a place without pretensions: When a huge, glazed-to-red leg of pork comes out of the oven Gena tastes it for salt before serving; if a single woman walks in alone, she welcomes her as "sweetie."

Recommended Dishes

Cuban sandwich, $6; sweet plantains, $3; stewed chicken, $6; roast pork, $7; cod fish salad, $8.50