Mon-Fri, 6am-9pm; Sat-Sun, 7:30am-4pm
1 at Franklin St.
Chambers St. to Canal St., Centre St. to West Side Hwy.
As if it dropped into town right out of Central Casting, the Square Diner is a den of mid-century, blue-collar charm in the midst of 21st-century Tribeca. The chrome-age exterior, like a train car or a World’s Fair ride, is the first indication that the diner will have you stepping back in time. Inside, the restaurant takes on a bit of an Art Deco nautical theme, with polished wooden bead-board on the ceiling and porthole-like mirrors along the back wall, just below the row of celebrity headshots that all look like they date from the mid to late eighties. Seating consists of reddish vinyl booths for parties of two or four and a smattering of bar stools. The menu is standard diner fare, right down to the egg creams and headings for Greek Specialties, Bagel Corner, and Diet Cold Salad Platters. Wraps, quesadillas, and grilled panini nod to contemporary fare. At best, the food’s innocuous; stick to the simpler dishes or you risk tasting, and then abandoning, your meal. Service is best described as surly with a smile. But that’s so pure New York what’s not to like about it?Recommended Dishes
Turkey-cranberry panini, $11.25; egg cream, $2.50