Sutton Cafe: A Local Legend Is Better Than Ever!

If you want to get any kind of food any time of day (especially if you live close to or visit the Sutton Place area), I can’t recommend anyplace more reliable than Sutton Cafe. Situated at 56th and First Avenue, this 30-year-old eatery has a relaxed vibe thanks to the fact that the staff treats everyone like old friends, the peach colored walls, the adorable retro coffee shop art and photos and the fact that food seems to come out in only five minutes! Everything is house made with love here except the desserts which come from local vendors and are of the highest quality. I personally took two for a “test drive.” John Manolidis the owner was a regular back when this space was a Soup Burg 30 years ago. He loved it so much that he retired from his lucrative job as a mechanical engineer, took over the space and created the now legendary Sutton Place Cafe.

You can see Mr. Manolidis standing at the SC counter in the photo above. He is very hands on, has a great sense of humor and seems to meet and greet all his customers. He even seems to know how the regulars like their food!

Here is a custom mix of favorite appetizers—super juicy homemade Chicken Fingers, Mozzarella Sticks and Onion Rings with a side of marinara sauce. This is a meal in itself but save room for a classic American comfort food, Italian must-haves and authentic Greek cuisine.

Speaking of classics, this is the Spaghetti & Meatballs. If you think that this is a big portion, well, this is a “small size” portion that one of my do-diners asked for. I love all the fresh herbs scattered on the plate and the sauce is just like an Italian great grandmother would make. The staff is happy to make your spaghetti as soft or as “al dente” as you like it.

The Caesar Salad was my dining partner’s “side” and is one of the most ordered dishes at Sutton Cafe. The homemade Caesar dressing has made the restaurant a celebrity favorite. The greens are farm fresh! Get this with extra croutons if you like!

If you go to coffee shops and diners for Greek food, and love Stuffed Grape Leaves, look no further than Sutton Cafe. These are as authentic as they come and are made the same day as they are served.

You can’t go to a place like this without trying a super comfort food like Meat Loaf. You can see that you get two large hot slices with homemade beef gravy and generous helpings of buttery mashed potatoes and broccoli. You will be undoubtedly taking half home! Just FYI, most entrees are priced at $24.55 and include two sides.

The perfect “healthy entree” is the Greek Salad topped with chicken breast that has been lightly sautéed in a pan with extra virgin olive oil. The official name of this salad at SC is Horiatiki Salad. This culinary gem features chunks of onion, cucumber, Feta cheese and tomatoes. The Feta cheese is so fresh that you will be blown away. This is the perfect size entree portion in my eyes! I was full and did not feel like I was blowing my low carb diet.

There is any type of vegetable side that you can ever desire at Sutton Cafe. I got spinach sautéed with garlic and olive oil and loved every morsel! If you are a vegetarian, you can put together a custom plate of as many vegetables and starches as you would like.

As it should be in any NYC coffee shop, the chocolate layer cake is large and magnificent. This is truly a “death by chocolate” situation. The layers are super moist, the icing is fudgy and the small dark chocolate chips on top are a lovely enhancement.

Any good coffee shop also needs to have “out of this world” cheesecake and Sutton Cafe has it! This is the creamiest cheesecake you will even have, and the cookie and Graham cracker mixed crust is truly special and crispy. I probably will come back to SC one day and eat four slices paired up with a cup of their great Cappucino!

Here is a photo showing the relaxing atmosphere of the second room of Sutton Cafe (the main room is a relaxing peach color as mentioned before while the second room is a heartwarming shade of gold). The second room is ideal for big parties, especially when tables are pushed together. The gray banquettes are super comfortable. I want to add that SC is as famous for very complete breakfasts as much as their lunchtime and dinner items and their omelets are super customized and much raves about. Former New York Magazine editor Tina Brown ate breakfast here every morning and often brought along luminary friends. For more info on this magical midtown landmark, go to Their address is 1026 First Avenue and their phone number is 212-421-1022.

Article by anne241

Hardcore NYer who loves to enjoy the good life here in the Big Apple and beyond!

This Article Has 2 Comments
  1. anne241 says:

    Thank you, Gail!

  2. […] friends: Miriam, who’s been a long-time customer of the cafe, and my fellow food journalist Anne. Our waiter remembered how Miriam likes her food, and was happy to customize some of the menu […]

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