There was once a day when luncheonettes and soda fountains lined NYC streets as much as today’s artisanal coffee shops, but now there are only a handful left.
One of the most authentic ones is the Lexington Candy Shop on the Upper East Side. It originally opened in 1925 and has been continuously owned and operated through three generations of family and partners.
Luncheonettes and soda fountains were at the height of popularity in the post-war U.S., and was even the time when Americans were eating more ice cream than ever before, particularly in New York City, according to Atlas Obscura.
A collection of vintage glass Coke bottles in the window and a sign advertising the telephone inside will transport you right back to old New York! You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time to the ’30s or ’40s at the Lexington Candy Shop, as you spin around on a stool sitting at the formica counter and watch them make your milkshake in their 1940 Hamilton Beach shake mixer. Or, as you scoot into a vinyl booth and read the old felt board menu off the wall—yes, there really was a time when a sundae was $0.20 and a Coke was $0.10.
And they still serve that classic American fare: milkshakes, lemonade, egg creams, club sandwiches and tuna melts. Oh, and of course, breakfast. Head there for omelettes of all kinds, your choice of toast, pancakes, and a hot cup of joe, available all day long.
But the most notable thing to order off their menu is definitely a Coca-Cola made the old fashioned way. Lexington Candy Shop is one of the few remaining establishments that still mixes Coca-Cola syrup and seltzer water that’s then topped with a scoop of delicious ice cream.
We’re not the only ones to appreciate this special spot: it was even on an episode of Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise!” And it’s available for hosting events and photo shoots.
📍: 1226 Lexington Ave, New York
🕐: Hours vary, see on their website here.