Park Slope is a veritable haven for foodies, with restaurants so delicious and celebrated that we’ve become a bonafide destination spot. Still, there is one subsection of eateries which tends to fall through the cracks, but which we believe deserves some of that same love and attention: the diner. We’re visiting them all in the Park Slope Diner Tour, and letting you know how each one fares. And if you know of a favorite dish at a hole-in-the-wall local spot that we just have to try, let us know!
What initially drew me into Fifth Avenue Diner (432 5th Avenue) turned out to be the most noteworthy aspect of the entire experience: the booze.
The blackboard in front of the 24-hour diner– which has been serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner since 1972– advertised weekend specials including $2 mimosas and $3 Bloody Marys. Prices that low would be unusual even for just the juices, and so I didn’t expect much more than a hint of alcohol when I ordered my Bloody Mary.
What I got was a cocktail so strong it could do me in on a Saturday night.
Luckily, generosity of portions isn’t limited to liquor at Fifth Avenue Diner. I nursed my drink over a large plate of two eggs, sausage, toast, and grits ($6.25), alternating sips with the endless cup of coffee ($1.25) in an effort to finish the meal with the ability to at least remember it.
The breakfast was pleasant, if a bit underwhelming. The eggs were cooked to a perfect over-easy, and the sausage was tasty with just a bit of spice. The grits were a bit of a letdown (perhaps I’ve been spoiled by Lobo’s jalapeño cheese grits), and left me wishing I had chosen potatoes instead. We also ordered a plate of Amaretto French Toast ($6.25) for the table, though– in continuing with the boozy trend– it seemed that the Challah bread wasn’t so much “dipped in Amaretto batter” as it was soaked in straight Amaretto.
It seems that the lunch and dinner options might be where the Diner truly shines.
Dining companions ordered the Big West Burger ($7.75)– served with cheddar, fried onions, jalapeños, and bacon– and chicken tenders (five pieces, $6.25), and it was the stuff that diner dreams are made of. The burger was plump, the bacon was greasy, and the french fries were perfectly crispy (also noteworthy: you can substitute waffle fries or sweet potato fries for $1 extra). The chicken tenders were, appropriately, tender and juicy.
Like any self-respecting diner, this one also has a full and tantalizing dessert case displaying assorted cakes, puddings, pies, and baklava. They also serve a Banana Royale sundae ($6.50) which I’ve got my eyes on for next time. It’s worth noting that the service was friendly, attentive, and made for a wonderful dining experience.
The verdict: that it’s a 24-hour establishment is a boon for the late-night munchies crowd, especially since its best offerings (i.e. chicken fingers, fries, onion rings) are usually what one is looking for in the wee, post-drinking hours of the morning. Alternatively, based on the way they pour their cocktails– and the fact that they do have a full bar, plus $3 beers– don’t discount it as an unexpected and affordable pre-game spot.
Fifth Avenue Diner is located at 432 5th Avenue between 8th & 9th Streets, (718) 832-8131. Open 24 hours, seven days a week. Free delivery. Breakfast ranges $2.50 (single egg sandwich) – $9.75 (Belgian waffle deluxe); lunch and dinner range $4.95 (plain burger) – $18.50 (steak, lamb, seafood entrees).
(Previously: Park Café)