Garish appears to be the decor of choice for any diner that’s located on Broadway between 94th and 95th streets. Manhattan Diner, a remake of the venerable Key West Diner, hews to that course with a mishmash of blues, reds and yellows, evoking an 80s disco down on its luck. (This new Manhattan Diner is also a replacement for the old Manhattan Diner at 77th and Broadway, according to MyUpperWest; yes, it’s confusing.)
The look is a bit jarring, but that’s OK. It’s a diner. A huge blow-up photo of Tina Fey hangs on the wall.Wonder if she goes there for a quick omelet before work?
I loved the feel of the old spot. All those 1970s faux-tropical pinks and turquoises, not to mention the flamingos. It was a great piece of kitsch.
A major improvement is the food. Of the three diners in the neighborhood run by the same owners–Metro, City and Key West–Key West was the weakest on the good eats scale. The grilled cheese was fine, but not as oozingly tasty as up the street at the Metro Diner. That situation has been remedied! Now, you can get a grilled cheese and tomato (the acid test for an establishment calling itself a diner) that’s overflowing with melted cheese and grilled to perfection.
“Business is just OK,” the manager told me. “I don’t think people know we’re here,” he said.
Now you do. Can’t speak for the food other than the grilled cheese but Yelpsters have given it a thumbs up.
Manhattan Diner (the old Key West Diner)
Between 93rd and 94th streets
New York, NY 10025