by Nick D'Arienzo
Apr 22, 2009 | 1479 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
World changing way too fast, right? And most of the time not for the better. Well, it’s always nice to know that there are a couple of places we can still count on, right? Or some places who see the significance in rekindling some of the values from a better time and re-introducing them to an entirely new generation. Anyway, we’ve definitely been paying attention here at “BEST OF THE BEST,” and here’s a couple of places we wanted to draw your attention to, just in case you don’t already know about ‘em.

Forest Hills


105-29 Metropolitan Avenue

(718) 520-8514

Not sure how Forest Hills cornered the market on this kind of nostalgia (or Metropolitan Avenue, for that matter!), but if it’s ice cream you’re partial to, then you’re definitely going to want to make sure you stop in at EDDIE’S SWEET SHOP. The kind of ice cream parlor you’re used to seeing in the movies, they still make ice cream the old-fashioned way here, with real walnuts and real bananas, and in big generous scoops, easily the freshest, and creamiest around (we love the butter pecan and the rum raisin especially). More to the point, though, this is a place for malts and milkshakes and sundaes (with some fantastic whipped cream on top!), on a par with those we remember from our youth, and all served in those vintage stainless steel pedestal dishes that remind us that the Triple-Scoop Banana Sundae we’re enjoying is a timeless classic.



60-06 Woodside Avenue

(718) 899-3499

Remember when your favorite coffee shop looked clean and tidy, with an emphasis on the kind of fun and eye-catching design that made 50’s and 60’s era diners so popular? Well, in a neighborhood with not all that much light thanks to the elevated 7 train thundering overhead, one of our newest absolute faves, Jimmy O’Sullivan’s WOODSIDE CAFÉ, is an airy oasis of calm amid the hustle and bustle of a neighborhood constantly on the go. We’ve no doubt you’ll be as charmed as we were by the immaculate layout and design of the place, even the aesthetic appeal of the very cups, dishes, etc. your food and drink are served in. But more to the point, the thing that really makes the WOODSIDE CAFÉ so special – this is some of the best comfort food around. We really like the Woodside Burger and the Shepherd’s Pie, but take special note, too – in the mornings, when the light first starts creeping through that bay window on Woodside Avenue, you may not find a better Irish Breakfast in town than right here.



63-35 Fresh Pond Road

(718) 456-8100

We got the backstage tour at this venerable butcher shop on Fresh Pond Road recently (now an empire, quite frankly), and it instantly reminded us how some of the most magnificent success stories can arise from the humblest of origins. All it takes is high standards, exceptional personal service and attention to detail, and a commitment to continued excellence. All of which are hallmarks of KARL EHMER MEATS and have been since Karl Ehmer himself first founded the company in Depression-era Manhattan, re-locating operations to Ridgewood’s thriving German-American community shortly thereafter. Now that Ehmer’s grandsons run the company, the very same standards of high-quality are upheld on a regular basis, still serving Ridgewood and others the very best ham around, the very best sausage, the very best ground beef, as the legendary facility on the corner of Fresh Pond and Menahan continues to supply more than 30 retail outlets in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and even Florida, yet still remains “The Best Butcher On The Block.”



89 Conselyea Street

(718) 384-2836

Maybe it’s the photo gallery of Brooklyn icons lining the entrance-way that will first charm you. Or perhaps the exquisite chandeliers in the dining room and that oh-so-nostalgic authentic copper ceiling. Or could it be the neon DEE’S CORNER sign hanging in the window, reminding you that this very location was once a candy store, a pool hall, a social club. Whatever it is that grabs you first, rest assured you’re in the perfect place for not just a trip down memory lane, but also a great new dining experience. The Veal Chops, Porterhouse, and Skirt Steaks here easily rival anyone’s in the city, and you’ll definitely want to finish with a Ricotta Cheesecake that just might even rival Grandma’s. And yet, in our humble opinion, perhaps the number one ingredient for ensuring that your dining experience at DE STEFANO’S is a memorable one, is the avuncular charm of its proprietor (and your host!) Joseph Donatelli aka Joey Dee, who prides himself on tremendous attention to detail and a level of personal service that far too many restaurants lost sight of long, long ago.




55-01 69th Street

(718) 205-ICES (4237)

We really dig what Nick Bamonte is building here (in honor of his daughter Isabella), and we just can’t wait for the weather to start cooperating full-time so we can witness it (and sample it!) in all its glory. In a tremendous throwback to the simple joys of yesteryear, the corner of 69th Street and 55th Avenue is sure to become your spring/summer must-visit destination with those decidedly nostalgic SABRETT Hot Dog outdoor umbrellas luring you inside, some delightfully creamy Soft-Serve ice cream, old-style SuperPretzels, and just about the best Old Fashioned Egg Creams we’ve tasted in a good long while. Not only that, but make sure you visit ISABELLA’s when they’ve got some sidewalk chalk on hand, so you and your little ones can get downright creative on our Maspeth streets.

Kew Gardens


82-34 Lefferts Boulevard

(718) 441-9767

Just about every day, Roberta Gray has someone come up to her and tell her that GRAY’S BICYLES is where they got their bikes fixed when they were kids. Most often, it’s someone bringing their own kids in for the first time, to get that flat looked at, those brakes adjusted, etc. etc. A veritable Kew Gardens institution, and in a neighborhood that has season more than its share of change, GRAY’S has been around since 1960, thanks largely to the staying power of the timelessly charming matriarch overseeing it all, Roberta, who after the death of her much-loved husband Edgar aka “Eddie” in 1970, made sure that GRAY’S would continue to serve the community’s young people for years hence. Count us among the lucky ones eternally grateful for that, even if only to know that that patch of familiar concrete out front on Lefferts, just a block up from Metropolitan, is still one of the sunniest and most cheerful patches of real estate we can remember.
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