In a city so big and so changing as New York City it can be hard to find places that have managed to survive and retain their original charm. Lucky for us Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop has escaped the “bigger! better! newer! NOW!” syndrome, and has remained a vintage gem in the Flatiron district, just near Madison Square Park, since 1929.
The (Vitrolite? Carrerea glass?) facade is simple enough to not draw too much attention to itself, bit if you glance closer and see the cheery Squirt guy on their open sign you’ll get a clue to the vintage vibe that awaits once you step inside.
That is IF you can step inside! Eisenbergs is just a sliver of a place- with enough room for a long marble counter and a narrow row of two top tables against the wall. The “dining area” in the back is not much larger, with more tiny two-fer tables. Cozy like a diner, just like I like ‘em – and you know us here at Retro Roadmap, we love places where you can sit at the counter! Always good for the singleton dining alone.
Or when you’re with a pal from all the way back in junior high, Retro Roadpal Suzanne. (You may remember her from my Long Island vintage adventures last summer!) We easily found 2 swivel stools next to each other and had a look at the menu – noting they’re open every day of the week for breakfast and lunch (and sometimes dinner.)
As I mentioned earlier, Eisenberg’s has been around since 1929, and it’s only on its 4th owner, Josh Konecky. Josh bought the business a few years ago after being a customer for 15+ years and we’re glad that he made the important decision to not mess with the character that this vintage luncheonette has.
While we wait for our meals, let’s have a little video break, shall we? You can see some more of the interior of Eisenberg’s just like we did.
Josh actually did make a change to the classic sandwich shop – he added burgers to the menu. Can you believe the place had been open for all those years and didn’t serve hamburgers? Now THAT’s old fashioned. Mmm burgers….
Oh look! My sandwich has arrived! I had been told by my 2 NYC vintage loving pals Kiki and Tony that Eisenberg’s serves a mean tuna sandwich, so when in Rome…!
Now I’m not the biggest fan of tuna sandwiches – that’s more Retro Roadhusband’s fancy, and I do believe I’m taking after my mother when I realize I always think, “why would I order a tuna sandwich at a restaurant, when I could make one ah home?” To make a tuna sandwich like this at home however would have probably taken 2 cans of tuna, as this sandwich was stuffed! While the tunafish salad wasn’t as chunky as I’d make it at home it was a very retro sandwich, as it totally reminded me of being a kid.
As we swiveled on our stools, munched on our sandwiches and caught up on each other’s news, it was neat to look around to see how time had basically stopped in Eisenberg’s.
Sure the prices have had to change with the times, but it was nice to slide into this narrow slice of the past, and live on a more human scale for just a moment, especially with the big city right outside the door.
Speaking of outside the door, the folks at Eisenberg’s know exactly what I mean:
I think their motto could be applied to Retro Roadmap just as easily. “You either get it, or you don’t.”
It wasn’t ’til later in researching this place that I realized that I had neglected to order one of their famous egg creams…guess I’ll just have to make a return trip! It’s good to have a place like this to slip into as the city rushes by.
Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop
174 5th Ave
New York, 10010
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