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90 Excellent

The Essex Street Market home of “slutty cakes” and “blisters on my sisters,” and a bona fide local institution.

Essex Street Market, 88 Essex St., New York, NY, 10002


Known For

The lowdown

Shopsin’s isn’t really a diner, so much as a New Yorker’s crazy, bizarro-world idea of one: quirky, over-the-top, and brash in its very big personality. It opened in 1982, after a rent hike forced its late founders Kenny and Eve Shopsin to turn their general store into a restaurant. As their daughter and Shopsin’s cook Tamara wrote in her memoir, this was because her dad believed they could sell more soda. They did, and Kenny found a passion for cooking that made him, seemingly much to his chagrin, one of the city’s most admired chefs. He was a master of simple eggs with an eccentric creativity that was as bottomless as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Out-of-nowhere dishes and interpretations of other cuisines like “Burmese hummus” pepper the vast menu, which boasted 1,000 dishes before being pared down, a little, after the restaurant’s move to the Essex Street Market. It’s still inscrutably lengthy and full of unexpected surprises, with its mac ‘n’ cheese pancakes, Jewish brisket stuffed into burgers and kati rolls, and one of the city’s finest egg creams. All of which the Shopsin children continue to cook and serve, keeping the whacky restaurant’s spirit alive.`

Chris Crowley

What you need to know

Insider Tips Familiarize yourself with the rules before going.

Recommended DishesRooster sandwich; mac ‘n’ cheese pancakes; ProZack sandwich; eggs.

DrinksNo Alcohol