120 Essex St, New York, NY | Directions 1000240.719381 -73.987759
Neighborhoods: Lower East Side, Downtown
The world's largest menu, served by the world's grumpiest man, Shopsins is a New York legend, and the food actually lives up to the myth. Kenny Shopsin is actually as hostile as everyone says, but he is a true master of American vernacular cooking, and his menu is truly staggering: there are nearly 800 items on it, and practically every one is good.
The owner and staff are genuinely terrible people. The food is disgusting and it's extremely over priced. Plus the staff will often take your plate from you before you're finished, expecting you to then pay the bill. Seriously, if you really want to top your pancakes with mac n cheese then save yourself the experience of this boutique hell hole and do it at home for a fraction of the cost. Ultimately, this place is unnecessary in a city that boasts some of the best, most diverse food options in the world by owners who are appreciative of your business.
Why bother? – If I could give Shopsins zero stars, I would. A companion and I attempted to dine at Shopsins today for brunch. We each ordered one entree and one half entree (a full bread pudding french toast and a full blisters on my sisters, and a half slutty pancakes and a half mac & cheese pancakes - all things for which they are famous). The waiter informed us that this was too much food and the kitchen would not cook that much for just two people. He rudely challenged that he would only place the order for the entrees, and if we could finish the meal, then he would submit the order for additional food. We attempted to explain that we were aware of what we were ordering and were in fact capable of eating what we ordered. He still refused. Having never been to a restaurant who refused to serve paying customers what they ordered when the order was a standard menu item, we decided to leave. The waiter, as well as the two men working in the kitchen proceeded to yell at us, publicly, in front of other customers, telling us that they didn't want our business. They then challenged my companion to a physical altercation and told him to "suck my cock" and "get the f*ck out of my restaurant," which is located in the Essex Market, a public space with multiple vendors. I have never experienced a restaurant who refused me service because they thought my order was too large, nor have I ever been sworn at and thrown out of a restaurant because I was attempting to order three entrees for two people. Clearly, this is a restaurant to which I will not return. While the "Soup Nazi" idea was funny in Seinfeld, it most certainly is not a good business practice in reality. Beware, though it seems some on yelp have gotten lucky and been served here, if the Shopsins staff doesn't approve of your order, you too may be refused, insulted, and challenged to a fight. Honestly, with so many wonderful, affordable brunches on the LES and in NYC (try Clinton Street Baking Company or Stanton Social on the LES, Cafe Luluc in Cobble Hill, or Tom's Diner in Prospect Heights), why bother being treated badly for short order food from a dive?
Shopsin's-Top 10 reason to hate NY – I would say that it's places like this that give New York and the Essex Street Market a bad name and drive customers away, but nothing has actually come close to being as bad as Shopsin's! They walk around like little hypocritical princesses complaining that they aren't going to treat their customers like princesses. I can't imagine why anyone would ever patonize this dump!
Patience is a virtue. – The food is great here. Probably some of the best food I've ever had. The menu is 600 plus items, so you know there is something there for you.
Kenny is a bit of a legend and rightly so. He cooks on the fly, is self taught and is uncompromising in his efforts to bring the best possible creations to the table for his customers.
His son and heir to the chef's apron is Zack. He is just as talented as his father.
Do not come here if you are in any sort of a rush. I have waited over an hour on many an occasion and was happy to do so.
Do not come if you are unable to ignore your cell phone while eating.
No parties larger than four.
No one who thinks they are entitled to be treated like a king/queen/prince/princess. The customer is never assumed to be right here.
If you are unable to follow any of these rules you will be asked to leave. Maybe you will be asked nicely. Maybe you will be cursed at. You can argue. You can cry. But in the end, you will go.
The beloved West Village diner and its lovably grumpy guardian Kenny Shopsin relocate to the Essex Street Market. – Kenny Shopsin's diner may have downsized when it relocated to the Essex Street Market, but his eccentric personality remains as oversized ever. Posted hours are highly flexible, and even when it's open, there's never any guarantee that the famous curmudgeon will have the place open--or that if it is open, he'll deign to feed you. But if he lets you eat there, the massive breakfast and lunch menu--covering everything from blueberry pancakes to juevos rancheros to Nigerian beef stew--explains just why New Yorkers put up with Kenny Shopsin. The man is one of the great short-order cooks of all time.
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