2016-06-08 / Restaurant of the Week

Court Square Diner

For a taste of history, both figuratively and literally, you can’t ask for more than The Court Square Diner on Court Square/23rd Street in historic Long Island City. The Court Square Diner has been in continuous operation since 1946, serving an important section of Queens throughout many decades of change and transition. The Kanellos Brothers, Nick and Steve, took over in 1991 and still share a passion for what they do. Steve showed us historical photos of the original “tin can” diner from 1946, with the ‘el’ just above it, but the rest of the background has certainly changed dramatically.

Now, as then, the Court Square Diner is the place to be for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night dining, as they are open 24/7 to help feed the city that never sleeps. Apparently, neither do Nick or Steve! From the Queens Courthouse just across the street, to the advent of PS1 and Silver Cup Studios, you’ll be dining along with actors taking a break from a shoot, lawyers on recess, and art aficionados taking in the works at the museum across the street. What hasn’t changed is the commitment to offering good, honest food at fair prices to residents of Queens and beyond.

At Court Square, the baking is still done on premises so you can get those mile-high layer cakes, carrot cake, chocolate mousse cake and more along with a cup of delicious coffee any time of day or night. We went for dinner one night where we ordered some cocktails and wine along with appetizers of quesadillas filled with cheese and salsa, and a crunchy Greek salad. Other appetizers include jumbo Buffalo wings with tangy sauce, crispy, fried calamari or clam strips, “disco fries” with melted cheese and gravy, or a hunk of classic spinach pie “spanakopita.” Homemade Greek lemon chicken soup, minestrone, matzah ball, or chicken noodle soup might be on the menu and you should order a cup to start, though if you order a complete dinner, you’ll get either soup or salad to start for one low price. The dinner specials at Court Square Diner can’t be beat. From just $12.45 to $18.45 you’ll choose an entrée and soup or salad for one low price. The warm, homemade rolls are delicious dunked into soup and you’ll find entrees such as Jambalaya with chicken and sausage over rice, Hawaiian chicken on a bed of rice, or Blackened salmon with Cajun spices. The pulled pork sandwich sounded great, but my companion chose the juicy pork chops with apple sauce and devoured them to the bone. Classic diner comfort food like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, roast turkey dinner with stuffing and gravy, Virginia ham, and roast beef with sides keep the crowd happy. Sauteé specials include chicken Roma with broccoli, garlic and Romano cheese over pesto pasta or chicken Francese or piccata style with mushrooms and capers. Fancy seafood dishes include salmon filet, lemon sole, or the seafood fisherman’s platter with a mélange of shrimp, filet, scallops, and stuffed clams. And the portions are huge, so plan on having lunch the next day too.

Lunchtime is a busy time at the Court Square Diner, whether you dine in or have your order delivered to your office. Enjoy their triple decker sandwiches with roasted turkey, chicken salad, roast beef and Swiss and more. Many of your favorite items can be piled into a delicious wrap, such as the chicken Caesar wrap with lettuce, tomato, Romaine lettuce and classic Caesar dressing. Hot open roast beef or sliced turkey sandwiches smothered in homemade gravy will keep you going until dinner. The Cuban sandwich rocks, layered with roasted pork, ham, melted Swiss and pickles. The classic Reuben is piled with lean corned beef, sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese. Who can resist the classic souvlaki sandwich piled on with lettuce, tomato, onion and yogurt sauce? You can order souvlaki and gyro as a platter also, or try a juicy 8-ounce burger topped with your favorite cheese. Crunchy salads such as the Caesar, Cobb, Greek or spinach salad can make a great lunch or dinner, especially when topped off with grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon or steak. You’ll be hungry after seeing all the sights in the area.

Order an egg sandwich with ham, cheese, or bacon to go or a toasted muffin or bagel with a schmear and you’ll be on the 7, G, or M train in minutes with a cup of freshly brewed coffee in hand. Eat in and enjoy omelets filled with spinach and feta cheese, ham, cheese and peppers and more. Pancakes, French toast and Belgian waffles are available 7 days a week, but there is an extra special brunch served on

Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 3pm.

In a city where everything changes, thank goodness some things haven’t! The Court Square Diner is a classic since 1946. Visit soon for a great meal, a black and white cookie, a triple decker sandwich, and all your favorite diner dishes served in a clean, friendly setting. Make it part of a great day in Long Island City.

45-30 23rd St., Long Island City


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