There used to be lots of old-fashioned breakfast restaurants on the Upper West Side. Some have converted to the kind that serve eggs, potatoes, meat, and toast on a disposable plate. They’re fine, just less satisfying places to hang out, though about one third the price. Columbus Avenue’s Gourmet Food is an example.
But, there remains a holdout: Utopia, 267 Amsterdam (between 72nd and 73rd), has booths and tables, and they let me have a booth all to myself (if they are not too busy), spread out my newspaper, and linger while I watch the crowds on their way to the subway station across the street. I always see lots of regulars and a hustling, no-nonsense staff. The career waiters are classic: attentive, quick, and not intrusive. Sadly gone (since COVID), is the ‘breakfast special’, once ubiquitous. That means no juice and no free coffee refills included with your meal.
Directly across the street from the 72nd Street subway station (1/2/3 Trains), it is a great launch pad for a walk and visit to such places as the Museum of Natural History and the New York Historical Society.
I get a warm welcome and often a Daily News or a New York Post if I ask for a house newspaper. It’s my neighbourhood go-to breakfast joint but I see lots of patrons eating their dinner there in the evenings when I walk by.
Utopia hosts a Thanksgiving 40-meal-giveaway to those in need, sharing the restaurant’s success, an uncommon NYC thing to do.