In my younger BC (Before Child) years, my friends and I would head over to Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and have breakfast at Denny’s after spending the previous hours club hopping. We dubbed it “rock and roll” Denny’s because at 2:00 a.m. it would fill up with a bunch of long-haired rockers and the girls who loved them, having spent the evening at the Roxy or the Whisky A Go Go. A Grand Slam breakfast was the perfect meal at 2:00 a.m. Not to mention it was within our twenty-something budgets.
Today, my Denny’s sits seven blocks from the beach and I’m usually there on a Saturday afternoon with my picky six-year-old who feels the spaghetti and chocolate chip pancakes are the only things worth eating on the menu.
For more than 60 years, Denny’s has been a common destination for travelers on a budget, or those simply in the mood for french toast at any hour of the day. After all, there is a good chance that one of the chain’s more than 1,600 restaurants can be found somewhere nearby (Hint: look next to the less expensive hotel). Surprisingly, the one place you would never find one is in New York City – until now.
Last week, right before the start of the Labor Day weekend, the first Denny’s in Manhattan opened its doors. Having fought off efforts by the condo owners that live atop the space to block them, the latest eatery in the Financial District has taken on a ‘when in Rome’ attitude to appease its new clientele. Gone are the red vinyl booths that stick and questionable carpeting. Instead, patrons dine with mood lighting, plush booths, fine wood tables and chairs with metal framing and sleek lines.
There is also a fully stocked bar with a hipster bartender serving signature cocktails with Manhattan-y names.
The menu has the familiar fare that we’ve come to expect, with prices adjusted for Manhattan’s version of cheap. However, this is New York City and it is the Financial District. There are “local” dishes, including Philly Cheesesteak, Chicken and Rice, and Italian Meatball Lasagna. If you would like to spend some of that hedge fund money, but really want to be with the people, you can order the Grand Cru Slam. It’s just like the Grand Slam with two pancakes of your choice, two eggs, two pieces of bacon, and two sausages (no, I didn’t have to look that up), but you get two of those meals and a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne. It will only cost you $300.
It’s a deal only the one percent can love.
Now before you think that’s a little outrageous, as head hipster bartender Mike Capoferri points out, you cannot find a bottle of Dom Perignon anywhere in Manhattan for much less. Not to mention, if you do, you don’t get breakfast. It should be noted that it can only be ordered after 11:00 a.m. due to local liquor laws. No word if coffee and orange juice is included.
Reports say that the Grand Slam tastes exactly the same, even at $300.