Major Fire at Old-School Broadway Diner


Photo by Mark Friedman.

A fire late on Monday at 2664 Broadway, the 10-story building near 101st Street housing the Broadway Restaurant, brought a large FDNY response and appears to have forced an evacuation of the building. Broadway Restaurant is a diner that’s been open for nearly 50 years.

An FDNY spokesman was not able to respond to our questions on Tuesday morning, given that there was a large fire still being fought in the Bronx, but we will hopefully have more information soon. NYCfire.net, which tracks fires, reported that the Broadway fire was on the first floor, indicating it was in the restaurant.

Mark D. Friedman said residents of the building were sheltering in his lobby across the street while firefighters worked. He said some residents were allowed to get back in afterwards, but not all.


Photo by Mark Friedman.

Smoke was pouring from the kitchen duct that comes out the front of the restaurant, according to another tipster. “They had to break down the windows to enter, LOTS of smoke. I assume the kitchen is damaged and the diner will be out for a while.” Callers to the restaurant got a busy signal as of Tuesday morning.


Photo by Nicolas Lawson.

Broadway Restaurant opened in 1970, according to this blog post from MBVintageNewYork. “It’s one of the last of the bygone Manhattan coffee shops, the kind with pastrami and eggs for breakfast and meat loaf parmigiana for dinner.”


Broadway Restaurant as it looked before the fire.

NEWS | 31 comments | permalink
    1. Paul RL says:

      Ohhhhh noooooo! My favorite throwback diner (coffee shop, really) in the whole city! Walking in there made me feel like I was in a scene from Midnight Cowboy. A speedy recovery please.

    2. wombatNYC says:

      Love Broadway Restaurant – Makes me feel warm and fuzzy

    3. Scott says:

      Looks like another grease fire.

    4. APF says:

      Do we know if there is damage to the apartments above. My friend lives on the 2nd floor but has been out of town. Trying to find information for her.

      • Lisa says:

        I have a friend who lives in the building who said the fire was contained to the diner, but smoke was severe throughout the building.

    5. Edith Fried says:

      We love the Broadway Restaurant, and the owners and workers are wonderful people. We hope they can reopen. A bad start to their year!

    6. UWSnativeLPN says:

      I celebrated my birthday brunch at the diner on Sunday. I’ve been going there all my natural born life. Hope everyone’s safe and that the building/diner have a speedy recovery. I need those greasy brekkies. I need them.

      Also, Paul RL… it is a diner. A coffee shop sells scones and a false sense of entitlement. The Broadway Diner sells neither.

      xx

      • Paul RL says:

        Well, I’ve never seen False Sense of Entitlement on any menu, but I was thinking of those 1960’s-style coffee shops that had more counters than booths. (Not to be confused with college campus Coffee Houses that come with an acoustic guitar playing dude doing a cover of “Brown-Eyed Girl.”)

        But fine, I’ll concede that it’s a diner. Either way, let’s hope it reopens and soon.

        By the way, in my opinion scones should be outlawed. They taste like cardboard to me.

        • Independent says:

          Yes, lots of counter space. Your post brought an image to my mind of a particularly long, winding counter that I recall (from circa the early 1980’s) at least one such coffee shop as having.

          Also, the STEAKS. CHOPS. SEAFOOD. on Broadway Restaurant’s sign was, I think, standard for establishments of that genre. Fried-eggs with hash-browned potatoes and plates filled with ample stacks of pancakes were, as I recall it, characteristic breakfast fare. Perhaps large muffins (corn, blueberry or bran) as well. (Anyone else find such muffins always created a strange feeling on one’s teeth?) I can recall plenty of such joints, both in the neighborhood as well as throughout Manhattan, but not any names. Wasn’t there one, perhaps on the Upper E. Side, called “Two Guys Restaurant” or something to that effect? (Or was it Three Guys? Not to be confused, of course, with Three Guys From Brooklyn, the celebrated fruit and vegetable store in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

      • Scott says:

        It most certainly is a coffee shop in the old school NYC sense of the term, which I think Paul was using. Coffee bar, it is not.

      • MQue says:

        It may be a generation thing calling them coffee shops. I grew up knowing these as coffee shops as well

      • Independent says:

        Prior to the advent of the Starbucks era, I always understood coffee shop to mean exactly the type of place that Broadway Restaurant is. And that, in turn, would seem more-or-less interchangeable with “diner”. When I think of “true” classic diners in Manhattan, I think of two iconic landmarks: the late Moondance Diner and the still-operating Empire Diner. Any others?

        ———
        I’ve been going there all my natural born life.

        As opposed to your unnatural born life? Wonder where you ate for that.

        • Paul RL says:

          Don’t forget the iconic Market Diners. There was a great one on 34th & 9th Ave, across from the Sloane House YMCA. What an awesome cast of characters I’d see in there at 2AM back in the early-mid 1980’s, while I was pulling all-nighters in college. The Cheyenne Diner around the corner ran a close second. Now THOSE were diners in the classic dining car style, art-deco stainless steel and all.

          To this day I can still taste those yummy greasy burgers.

    7. Citycatsman says:

      I love that such a modest, old school diner still exists , and the food was exactly what you’d expect, inexpensive, simple and satisfying. However, in the past year, it’s been unable to maintain an A grade from the health department, and It seemed a bit sloppy. There are good reasons why diners should insist on an A grade. I hope they reopen and are able to use this misfortune as an opportunity to upgrade the kitchen.

    8. Christine E says:

      Indeed a relic of the past…. I’ve seen several film and TV shoots there (Law and Order etc.), as you just can’t get that ambiance in a studio.

    9. Wendy says:

      Is that the one with an old building ? some waitress from Mexico ? Several Staff spoke Spanish language; &, 2 guys were speaking modern Greek language — if that was the eatery – where I treated meself to an expensive Breakfast, @ 2016. UWS was so different @ 1954. How many Diners have gone out of business in N.Y.C. since 2015 ?

    10. Stacey says:

      I live in the building and there was smoke EVERYWHERE. It was very scary as my husband and I grabbed our 6 month old twins and dog and rushed down 9 flights. The building lobby and hallways still reek of smoke. My neighbors were amazing in that I felt faint walking down the stairs so someone took a baby while someone else held the dog and my husband had our other baby. I also was barefoot so another neighbor gave me his shoes. We went to the building across the street and the tenants were amazing and so helpful. We New Yorkers sure know how to band together!!

      • Scott says:

        You’re lucky to be living in that building. It is a Beaux-Arts masterpiece. People seem concerned about the restaurant but that can be replaced; the building cannot.

    11. Paul says:

      Wishing the Bway Diner a speedy recovery

      Does anyone remember the Norwood Diner? If I recall, it was only a counter (I could be wrong) and was on the east side of Broadway between 99-101. Talk about old school…

    12. Lilibet of the West says:

      This cherished Greek diner is a neighborhood mainstay thanks to Tony and his team. My family has been steady customers for decades. When my kids were young, Tony would deliver their black & white shakes and our coffee within minutes of our sitting down. 100% authentic and one of the last of its kind in Manhattan. We hope they make a speedy recovery. Btw, the diner was featured in a book by Marc Grossman called New York Cult Recipes. A drawing of the diner graces the cover. As it should. Come back soon, Tony. xox

      • Christy says:

        Wow , Tony is my uncle I read him your comment and he was very happy to hear from you with your kind words 😊

        • Please give my best to Tony.

        • Lilibet of the West says:

          Tony is one of a kind. Just like his restaurant–an anchor and haven for the UWS community and a welcoming introduction to NYC for tourists staying at the Hostel and local hotels. Please do convey our very best wishes for a speedy recovery. As LPN said earlier on this stream, we NEED you. xox

    13. Ari says:

      I’ve been going here since I had teeth. My grandpa ate here weekly until he had to go to a nursing home and passed away. Even though I live in PA now, I never stop craving their blueberry muffins. That is the only thing I eat from there. I really hope they re-open soon because I need their muffins!!

    14. Chuck D says:

      I’d buy the sign if they want to sell it.

    15. Zenaida Pinero says:

      I Surely Hope They’re Able To Reopen Soon. I Am A Customer Of This Restaurant For Years.

    16. Christy K says:

      Wow Tony is my uncle, I read him your comment and he was very happy to hear your kind words and also hopes to come back soon 🙂

    17. Nj says:

      I ate there for breakfast that day!!! Can’t believe all these great places are burning!! Hope it can recover!!