Empire Diner, Chelsea, New York

Review | Empire Diner

The Empire Diner has been on a real rollercoaster ride since the 80’s, run by several different owners and shutting down months ago. But it’s safe to say the Empire Diner is back in the game, under its new owners Chef John Delucie and Cafeteria Group.


Ambience 5/5: The iconic Empire Diner is still recognizable for New Yorkers as the modern exterior remains untouched. The light filled inside space has been transformed for the better, while staying true to those diner vibes. The charming hosts and songs from every decade create a fun ambience like no other. Where else can you listen to Frank Sinatra and Jay-Z in just one sitting?

Food 5/5: The Empire Diner offers light snacks to share, beautifully presented salads and heartier mains. This isn’t your typical diner, serving steamed black bass, sautéed sea scallops and celery root soup. Don’t worry, the Empire Diner hasn’t had a total identity crisis. They still serve comforting American fare, including a creamy mac and cheese, pretzel fried chicken and a special blend burger, which really is special (just look at that cute little pickle). 


Drinks 4/5: Cafeteria Group’s Head Mixologist Jenny Castillo is the mind behind the drinks at Empire Diner, creating classic cocktails with a seasonal twist. Be sure to end on a high with the High Line, a cocktail infused with sage honey, lemon and bee pollen.

In a nutshell 4/5: Empire Diner is officially back to business, after opening their doors again on April 24. The new owners give American food a modern twist, creating an upscale diner experience in the heart of West Chelsea.

To book at Empire Diner, click here.

Photography by: Siobhan Gunner