Brandon Hernández noon, April 18
House with No Name
What’s the old saying? “Good wine needs no bush?”
I’ve just been eating an afternoon breakfast at this restaurant which has no name other than, uh, “Restaurant.”
It’s right across from City College trolley stop on Broadway at Park (ex 12th Avenue). People call it the 12th and Broadway Restaurant for convenience. (The official address is 999 Park Boulevard, tel 619-232-5998.)
And it has a tribe of faithful followers who have been showing up and chowing down - and chewing fat - for 55 years.
It’s the closest thing to a traditional, U-shaped diner I’ve ever seen. (Google Edward Hopper’s 1942 painting “Nighthawks.” It looks just like this).
And guess what? This is unbelievable, but “Mama” Teresa Gonzalez has been running the place and serving behind its counter for every one of those 55 years. She’s still here helping her kids today and every day of the week. (They're open from 6.30 a.m. till 2.00 p.m., 7 days.)
“I’m 80,” she says.
“Actually she’s 87,” says her daughter Connie.
I popped in yesterday because they have all-day breakfasts. At maybe a quarter of two I ordered the Greek omelet, one of the specials advertised on their window. It’s $6.99, just about the most expensive item on the menu.
Which is the other thing. Teresa and family (and she has a big one) have kept prices down. Five bucks can definitely fill your belly.
The omelet was great. That spinach-feta combo combined nicely with lots of slippery sautéed onions and tomatoes and green peppers. The crisp hash browns made a nice contrast.
But actually the 7-grain bread topped with the apricot and pineapple jam Connie brought to the counter was out of the ballpark. Totally scrumbo.
“People just have to ask for it,” says Connie.
Here’s what I fear: Seems the City owns the land, the historic Pearson-Ford building across the road is down already, so maybe it’s just today’s hard times that have saved “The Restaurant” from being bulldozed too, for another East Village condo block.
Me, I think The Restaurant and Mama Teresa are National Living Treasures and should be put beyond the greedy fingers of any developer or money-desperate politician.
Being partly selfish here. Where else around here don’t they cut breakfast at 11:00 a.m.?