Gussied Up Roxy Coffee Shop Makes A Mean Roast Pork Plate

There are a few diners downtown, but not many make me want to go inside. Every time I’ve walked by the Roxy Coffee Shop on John St. (btw. Nassau & Broadway) I’ve wanted to eat there. Its red retro sign would beckon to me, and the small space just looked interesting. And then it got a makeover recently, which is sometimes the kiss of death for any restaurant, diner or otherwise. Besides, aren’t diners and coffee shops supposed to be slightly frayed around the edges? Well, since I didn’t eat there before the renovation I can’t report on if the food quality or prices have changed. What I can report is that it’s like stepping into a small town where the proprietor, a very chatty guy, will sit down at your table and talk to you like he did with the ladies in the booth next to mine. And the daily special that I tried was freaking awesome. 

The Roxy seems to be a go-to spot for a lot of people for both breakfast (served all day!) and take-out lunch. My head wanted to order pancakes for lunch, because that’s how I roll, but my heart was there for one of the five or six daily specials that pretty much top out at $7.95. Actually, the entire menu is less than $10, making this a Midtown Luncher’s paradise.

I went with the roast pork ($6.95), offered on Wednesday and Thursday. For a side, I kept with the Latin flair and got the rice and beans.

The pork was great (and by that I mean bathed in its own grease) and the rice and beans weren’t dry at all.

The plate was pretty much half and half with meat and rice, and was definitely filling. Of course, you could always order dessert and still be under the ML lunch price cap.

Other specials include various Italian and comfort food staples like spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf, mac and cheese, and sausage and peppers.

My friend ordered a tuna sandwich ($5, or $6.25 with fries) and reported it to be good. I’m not kidding when I say that a minute after we ordered, the sandwich was on the table, and my pork plate came out a minute later. It helps that the food is cooked 10 feet away.

Most of the menu is made up of sandwiches, burgers and such, but I would go for the specials. In an area of the city that seems to be heavy on soup and salad chains and fancy restaurants, it’s nice to see a place like this still surviving. If you’re lucky, the owner will chat you up while you’re eating, or bid you farewell at the door.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • You can get out of here for $10, including tip.
  • They get the food out so fast it’s kind of mind-boggling.
  • The guy who runs the place is what you might call a “character.”
  • All day breakfast!

THE — (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I like my old-school coffee shops grungy.
  • Why does the food come out so fast? I’m suspicious.
  • They only have a few booths, and I don’t like to sit so close to where my food is cooked.

Roxy Coffee Shop, 20 John St. (btw. Broadway & Nassau), (212) 349-4704



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