What to expect when you’re Connecting: Breakfast at ICNY

Whether or not you believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you’re going to need some sustenance first thing in the morning when you’re learning, networking and connecting at Inman Connect New York. There’s nothing wrong with room service in the hotel, of course, but if you’d prefer a more authentic diner experience or an upscale brunch, we’ve got some suggestions for where you can find them.

1. Westway Diner
614 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

Westway Diner opens at 6 a.m. and doesn’t close until 1 a.m., so if you’re in the mood for breakfast for dinner — or a late-night snack — then you can find it here. This diner offers all the classic breakfast dishes you could ever want, plus Greek and Italian food just in case you’d prefer something besides breakfast. The service is quick, and you can build your own omelette if eggs are what got you out of bed; there’s also a wide selection of benedicts, bagels, breakfast sandwiches and wraps, pancakes, waffles, steak and eggs, or cereal and yogurt if you’re looking for something on the lighter side. You can also order online if sessions are about to start and you want to take your breakfast to go.

2. Brooklyn Diner
155 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036

Brooklyn Diner gets crowded fairly quickly, but the staff is experienced at turning tables on a dime, so don’t let the lines scare you away — ask if they can accommodate you, and you might be pleasantly surprised. (You can also order online ahead of time and take your breakfast with you.) You’ll find the typical diner menu items, plus a few that aren’t available anywhere else — like “The Mixed Marriage of Irving & Gina,” eggs baked in challah toast with sausage, marinara sauce, peppers, onions, crispy polenta and pomodoro sauce, or the noodle kugel breakfast, served with sour cream or Greek yogurt plus strawberries, blueberries, walnuts and honey. The servings are sizable, so come hungry.

3. Times Square Diner & Grill
807 8th Ave, New York, NY 10019

Breakfast is served all day at the Times Square Diner & Grill — and it’s open 24 hours a day, so no matter when you want breakfast, it’s available. This upscale diner offers all the typical fare, made perfectly and served with a smile, but you can also find plenty of healthier options if you’ve been sticking with those New Year’s resolutions lately. There’s plenty of seating (so even if there’s a line, don’t panic; it moves quickly) and portion sizes are large, so you might want to bring some friends who won’t mind splitting a meal with you. Try the smoked salmon gyro or create your own three-egg omelet; you can also opt for an English muffin or some Greek yogurt with honey for relatively cheap if you do want to eat a light meal for breakfast.

4. Rustic Table
504 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

For a laid-back atmosphere serving food with a Mediterranean twist, Rustic Table is where you want to go. The simple wood furnishings and light, bright dining room give your first meal of the day a fresh feeling, and if you’re looking for something a little healthier than pancakes, with several options for vegetarians, it’s a great choice. Try the Balkan croissant, an omelet made with roasted vegetables and served on a croissant with homemade harissa tahini and a healthy serving of arugula — or, if you’re feeling more decadent, the Nutella croissant is another popular options. Breakfast is served all day, so you can always stop by in the afternoon or evening if you’d prefer to enjoy the ambiance at Rustic Table a little later in the day.

5. Andrew’s Coffee Shop
463 7th Ave, New York, NY 10018

There’s plenty of room at Andrew’s, which is truly more of a diner than a coffee shop, so if you’ve got a group looking for somewhere to eat before sessions start at Connect, this should be on your list of possibilities — and if you’re dining solo, the breakfast counter can get you in and out before you know it. The food is traditional and plentiful, including eggs and omelets, pancakes and French toast, Belgian waffles, hot and cold cereals, and a handful of assorted baked goods; if you need some hair of the dog the morning after the night before, Andrew’s also carries mimosas, bellinis, champagne sunrises and bloody mary’s in addition to its coffee selections. Regulars rave about the corned beef hash and eggs.

6. Friedman’s
132 W 31st St, New York, NY 10001

Living a gluten-free lifestyle and trying to find decent breakfast options can be painful, but luckily for Inman Connect attendees in New York, there’s Friedman’s. There are numerous gluten-free options and substitutions available on the Friedman’s menu, none of which will make you feel like you’re missing out, and the servers are well-versed on food preferences and allergies. There might be a wait, depending on when you arrive (earlier is better), so plan accordingly. One of the favorites on the menu is the b.e.l.t. — a sandwich featuring thick-cut bacon, over-easy egg, lettuce and tomato with herb aioli on sourdough bread; the avocado toast with poached eggs, chili flakes and help seeds is another popular choice.

7. The Mill
375 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016

Sometimes you just want your breakfast — quickly, with few frills, but still nourishing and tasty. The Mill is a cafeteria-style eatery with reasonable prices, fast service and plenty of seating. Build your own breakfast sandwich starting at $ 2.25 for one egg and $ 3 for two eggs, then add on meat, avocado or cheese for nominal fees that will still net you a sandwich for less than $ 5 all day. You can also add fresh fruit to any meal, opting for apple, orange or banana, or selecting the seasonal fruit salad for a mix; any of the above mixes in beautifully with the Mill’s oatmeal or Greek yogurt, and there’s a coffee and espresso bar to take care of your caffeine needs, too.

8. Le Pain Quotidien
70 W 40th St, New York, NY 10018

There’s a walk-up counter for to-go orders at Le Pain Quotidien, but if you have the leisure time to sit and eat, consider it — the warm wood floors and fresh bread on display are a wonderful antidote to the noise and lights of Times Square. Le Pain Quotidien specializes in healthy, fresh food, including its breakfast options, which include several vegan and gluten-free selections if that’s part of your lifestyle. The baker’s breakfast features avocado toast, fruit salad, a poached egg and a side of greens; other popular options include the organic Dutch mini-pancakes, chia seed pudding, or the skillet eggs — available with salmon, bacon or avocado.

9. The Harold
1271 Broadway, New York, NY 10001

There’s room for groups at the Harold, and although the breakfast menu isn’t extensive, it’s got plenty of stand-out items — you can also pick up food to-go if you’re in a rush. Harold’s Scramble includes smoked salmon, chives and creme fraiche, and you can also order eggs Benedict with lobster (a local favorite), but if you’re not feeling seafood, try the wild mushroom scramble with Vermont goat cheese, or the breakfast bowl: two sunny-side-up eggs atop farro, quinoa, kale, spinach, walnuts and dried cranberries. Harold’s also serves croissant sandwiches, breakfast paninis, pancakes and yogurt — or you can always opt for the simple yet satisfying hand-rolled New York bagel with cream cheese and berry jam.

10. Norma’s
119 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

Norma’s is a breakfast restaurant located in the Parker Hotel, so you can expect some higher price tags here — but if you’re looking for a breakfast or brunch to write home about, this is where you can find it. The banana-macadamia nut pancakes are out of this world, or if you’d rather, try the french toast stuffed with cheesecake and rolled in coconut, served with vanilla ice cream. If savory is more your style, the duck and eggs with confit hash is a popular choice, and the potato pancake recipe won a James Beard award; or try the eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. Crepes, granola, breakfast pizza, omelets and a lobster frittata might also catch your eye; in short, this isn’t a place for a quick grab-and-go bite, but a real breakfast experience that you’ll be thinking about all day long.

Did we miss your favorite breakfast spot? Tell us about it in the comments!

Discover the opportunities in a changing market at Inman Connect New York, January 29 – February 1. Jumpstart 2019 with tactical takeaways, unlimited networking and thought-provoking speakers. Learn more.

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Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

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