It’s Worth The Long Walk To West Side Coffee Shop

There aren’t too many options for Latin food downtown other than Sophie’s Cuban and a few other places that are mostly out of ML price territory. West Side Coffee Shop on Church (at Canal) at first looks like a regular diner or coffee shop like the Roxy, but it is so much more. And even if you’re completely starving, I guarantee you can get enough food here in a single lunch to feed a small family.

Lunch’er Mike had recommended this place as it’s in the no man’s land by the Holland Tunnel entrance that is mostly void of good lunch options. I headed over and found the place completely full, including the counter, with the staff yelling at each other in Spanish. All of this was the sign of a good lunch to come.

They have a mix of burgers and other diner fare, along with Mexican and Dominican food. I went for the pernil with yellow rice and black beans ($9.25), although I was tempted by several other items. Mofongo anyone?

At first I thought I was being ripped off by the price, but then I saw the amount of food I was getting in my take out bag. There was an entire tinfoil container filled with nothing but rice, on top of the heaping pile of pernil and beans in yet another container.

The pork had a nice piece of crispy skin on the top and it was delicious. It was a tad on the greasy side, so beware if that’s not your thing. The beans and rice were also top notch and I would have been more than happy to call them my lunch even without the pork.

This is something of a hidden gem because you probably wouldn’t know it exists unless you work in the area or frequent the dingy shops around the corner on Canal. And if you really want to do some damage, you could follow your Latin feast with the buffet at Sea World next door.

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

  • I can feed myself to the point of a food coma on one lunch here.
  • It’s a good alternative to Sophie’s.
  • I like to pick up lunch here and then go buy a stereo around the corner.

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

  • It’s a little too dirty for my taste.

West Side Coffee Shop, 323 Church St. (at Canal), (212) 334-0185



  • If this place wasn’t so far from the train station I would so be there today, I’m running out of options now that I’m boycotting my company cafeteria.

  • Awesome! Glad you checked it out. Sophie’s is a bit far for me, so this is really a great option in my area.

  • Good stuff. Enormous portions. The rice and beans are a meal by themselves. There’s no way someone’s finishing the rice and beans *and* the entree in the same meal. The pernil was good. Not dry at all, though the seasoning could be better (I’m used to puertorican pernil I suppose). The black beans were very well seasoned though, not bland (or just beans and salt) like many others are. I thought the place was a bit pricy but considering you could make two good meals from the entree, it was worth it.

    • Oh Adam, you underestimate my appetite sir. I do finish the rice, beans, and pernil in one sitting.

      Also, I love to pour the latino red hot sauce they have on the tables all over the rice. Delicious.

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      Agreed, I’m Puerto Rican… I’ve hd pernil from Margon which I assume makes Dominican pernil and it lacks the flavor of a good puerto rican pernil. I feel Puerto ricans make their pernil a saltier which is always a good combo with pork!

  • Oh yeah, and they do a gigantic pernil sandwich for $6!

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    @Mike: I forgot to mention the hot sauce! They don’t mess around with the “hot” part.
    Also, I commend you on your stomach space. I can’t fathom eating all of that rice in one sitting.

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