Thrillist & Manhattan Digest agree… Archie & Sons is the shiz…
When it comes to being in a city like New York, you have the wealth of opportunities to go to endless diners that cater to that comforting type of experience that one comes to expect upon arrival. Archie & Sons, located in the heart of the East Village, does that and more. I surprisingly came to know this place not through friends but an article that was sent to me regarding the 8 new and amazing Grilled Cheeses in NYC. Per the website, “What’s best about this East Village throwback luncheonette is you can mix and match breads and cheeses with additional toppings for customizable sandwiches. Even knowing all that though, you should still go with the classic-est of classics: slices of American cheese melted between buttery white bread.” That was more than enough encouragement to try this amazing place out, so I took one of my besties and headed downtown to see what all the fuss was about.
From there we were introduced to the handsome and very kind Benjamine Levine, who is one of the owners of the business. As we sampled some of their great cuisine, including their array of freshly made salads, bomb grilled cheeses and so much more, he gave me more of an insight into Archie & Son’s and what to expect from it in the future. Take a look.
How did the concept of Archie & Son’s start?
Archie & Sons was born out of our last iteration of family run eateries. Originally started by my in-laws in queens in the 70’s as a traditional “luncheonette” common to New York, I then opened Archie’s Cafe in my hometown of Hewlett, Long Island. After losing the lease on the space, I considered opening in another location, in Hewlett, as well as other Long Island areas. However, with both of my sons living in the city, they convinced me that the city was in need of a place like Archie’s with its hometown feel and friendly environment of a local eatery. They simply said we need a place where the owner knows the names of his frequent customer. It’s not often, if ever, that you get that personal experience in Manhattan. And so now we are here, operating on a historic corner of NYC.
How would you describe the type of food that you guys make?
Our food is a spin on classic diner fare, with a much more limited menu focusing on our famous “salads.” Everything is made fresh from scratch, in house, on a daily basis. With recipes going back over 40 years, our salads, including vegetable tuna, chicken salad, egg white and spinach salad were the most desired items at the original Archie’s. We built our menu around this as we felt there was no place in NYC “known” for items like this. There is a “classics” section that includes some of the favorites from Archie’s in Hewlett, a fried food section that includes hand cut French fries and hand battered chicken fingers. Like your typical diner, breakfast is served all day.
It is a very casual, American dining experience. Is this how you want the public to view your location?
We want people to feel at home at Archie’s, and that’s how we feel casual dining strikes the mind. We have pictures on the wall from NYC from the 1950-1980s taken by a local east village artist. We have authentic Coca Cola items that have lined the walls of our restaurants for over 5 decades. We want people to have a feeling of nostalgia, no matter where or when they come from, of their hometown eatery.
What are some of the best items on the menu?
Our salads, which can be served as a sandwich, wrap or platter, are second to none. And I feel this way about them all, it just comes down to personal preference. The melts, whether it be a variation of our tuna or chicken salads, are a favorite with customers. Our homemade macaroni and potato salads are the best around. With the polar vortex of the winter, our homemade soups have been a huge seller, namely our signature spinach and egg soup. After I tell first timers, ‘just try it’, they always order a bowl and come back for more!
I saw that Thrillist named your Grilled Cheese one of the best in NYC. How did that make you feel when it was published?
It really hit home to how we make everything and what we stand for, making things simple, make it fresh, and make it taste like home. There are no bells and whistles with our food, no “in vogue” ingredients. Our food has been made the same way for more than 40 years, which we think is atypical in this foodie driven market. Getting recognized for that made us really proud.
Are you looking to add anything more onto the menu, something new and creative?
We are always up to try new things, and really listen to our customers for that. For example, we originally did not offer chicken fingers and hand cut French fries, but that has since changed. We also recently added our “carving station” to the menu, serving items like homemade meatloaf, turkey and corned beef on a daily basis as we saw a need to expand our dinner options. If you follow us on Instagram @archieandsons , you will get a sneak peak into our kitchen to see the new menu items we are toying with….thinking amazing sandwich combinations, daily specials as well as the expansion of brunch items!
What are your ultimate plans for Archie & Sons?
We want Archie’s to be on many streets of Manhattan. Heck, there should be one in every neighborhood! And we also see a huge opportunity in our catering business, which we are really expanding. Too many businesses settle on food when they cater, so we are really looking to change that. We take the typical sandwich spread but instead of being packaged deli meats, you get the same freshness of food you would from our store. We also cater for breakfast, which has been extremely well received.
Why not take yourself downtown this week and see what Archie & Son’s is all about. It is definitely an experience worth trying. Check out their official website for more information.