Something to crow about
The Roost Café serves up more than just good food
I used to walk by the Busy Bee Diner every day on my way to work. It looked like the classic diner—with an older crowd of men huddled around the ‘50s-style counter, carrying on and sipping coffee. But, for some reason, I never set foot in the place.
The diner, located on Park Avenue right next to Gates Resale, has been operating under one incarnation or another for decades. The Busy Bee Donut Shop filled the spot for about 40 years until 2000. Since then, Valerie’s Bakery and Deli and the Park Avenue Café and Steakhouse have both had short-lived tenures there before The Roost Café set up shop about a year ago.
The scene looks different nowadays. Some of the old Busy Bee regulars still shuffle in for an early-morning cup of Joe, but come noon, the place starts buzzing with haggard and hungry denizens of the local music scene. Two-thirds of the band La Dolce Vita works there and I’ve spotted members of Machine Green, Gruk and Lott Lyzzyrd (O.K., so that’s my band) noshing on eggs and potatoes.
I ended up going to The Roost for the first time only a few months ago because my friend Ginny Eck started working there (which is probably one of the reasons a lot of people go) and I discovered that the food is pretty tasty.
Like most good eateries, The Roost has a small menu—sticking to the standard breakfast and lunch fare with a nice selection of omelets and sandwiches. Everything is fairly priced, too.
Inside, the décor leaves no doubt as to why the place is called The Roost. The tablecloths are adorned with fowl and the windows are painted with roosters crowing about the daily specials.
A horseshoe-shaped counter fills most of the main dining area while an adjoining room, lined with wood-paneling, holds a few more tables. There’s also a cozy outdoor dining area with umbrellas to ward off the late-morning sun.
I joined what has become the usual breakfast crew and a couple of us ordered coffee ($1.75) while others opted for the hobo lemonade (free!). Like clockwork, our ever-so-attentive waitress Ginny came and took our order.
Miss D went with The Roost Omelet ($7.95)—a favorite among patrons fluffy eggs stuffed with linguica and cheddar, topped with salsa, green onions, sour cream and avocado slices, and served with toast and a choice of hash browns, home fries or fresh boiled spinach. The omelet truly looks too beautiful to eat. Mr. T ordered the San Francisco Scramble, also $7.95, which comes with ground beef, spinach, cheese and onions. Señor J and I went with the usual Eggs Benedict ($7.95), also a popular selection. J got a side of hash browns (always crispy) and I went with the home fries (red potatoes with diced green peppers and onions).
The eggs Benny came with the usual generous dose of tasty hollandaise sauce and both omelets were equally good. One thing I noticed is that the servings at The Roost are perfect in size—not too much where you want to crawl under the table and take a nap, and not too skimpy where you have to rifle through six packets of Saltines to fill up.
A couple more coffee refills and we were feeling fine. By 11:30 a.m., the place was really starting to fill up with the late-risers. Per usual, everything was good—the food, the service and the company.