24 September 2009

Why Eisenberg's Makes People Feel Good

Eating lunch at Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop always fills me with a particularly New Yorky sense of well-being. Everyone around me seems to be content and chipper as well. I thought about this recently as I sat at the counter and munched my BLT. Here are some of the reasons why I think this is:

*Eisenberg's has remarkably high ceilings. The place is airy. With the roof not crushing down upon you, your head (and mind) feels free and unburdened.

*Eisenberg's is always packed. This contributes to a happy metropolitan buzz about the place. It's not a din, because you can easily talk above it. It's the buzz of urban worker bees.

*The owner is always there, hovering near the cash register. Thus, you feel he cares. Every diner wants to feel cares for.

*The counter staff always takes your order right away, and part of that order (the drink, the soup, the fries) usually arrives within 60 seconds.

*It's a narrow place, and therefore, democratic. You can see everyone and everyone can see you. No one's sitting at the best table, because there is no best table.

*It's cheap. You do not part with too much money.

*No one is wearing the wrong thing here. Jeans. A suit and tie. It all works.

*The staff allows you to tell the cashier what you had, as opposed to presenting you with a check that proves what you had. Thus, you feel trusted and ever-so-slightly empowered.


MartinD28 said...

If there is one place that embodies the Lost City ethos it is Eisenberg's.

sue said...

i worked across the street from Eisenbergs 20 years ago, and went to breakfast every day there. One of the most memorable and touching scenes i can recall played out every morning. At a certain time, a few paper napkins would be laid out on the counter, and a bowl placed on top. Like clockwork, an elderly man would come in and order shredded wheat. he has such a palsy that he would shake milk all over the counter, but the napkins were there to catch the drops. This man was treated with such dignity and respect that thinking about this daily scene still brings tears to my eyes. At christmas I tipped the countermen 20 bucks for doing this every day. I wish i still worked near there, i would get a lime rickey and the best egg salad known to man every day.

Daughter Number Three said...

Here's one non-New Yorker who wishes she could eat at Eisenberg's. It sounds wonderful.

report from the heartland said...

Two other stars in the Eisenberg's crown: the best cheicken salad and the best black and white milkshakes. I can't believe it still exists. It must have squeaked by the last real estate bubble because some god of the shake kept it in her sheltering hands.