We Went to America's First 'Fancy Denny's'
This is a Denny’s. All photos credit: Rachel Tepper
It was still dark when queues began forming in front of New York City’s first Denny’s location, which opened for business bright and early Friday morning at 5 a.m. “There were lines at 3 a.m., and I’ve heard it’s been busy since it opened!” an astounded bartender, Kenyanna Scott, told us.
A large group stood in the nearby vestibule waiting to be seated.
"It’s so crowded,” said one would-be patron.
"Dude, it’s Denny’s," replied his companion knowingly.
But it’s not a Denny’s like any you’ve seen before. Gone are the retro diner-style booths and formica tables. At this Denny’s you’ll find wooden two-tops, faux-leather burgundy banquettes, industrial chic metal chairs, and a stamped tin ceiling. A giant black-and-white photograph of the Brooklyn Bridge hangs on one wall.
This is a Denny’s with craft cocktails, people, and the first of its kind in the world.
"It’s definitely a classier Denny’s than any I’ve ever seen," remarked New Yorker Suzanne Becton. Becton, a native of the Denny’s-rich metropolis of San Francisco, had heard about the opening on Thursday night, and decided to stop in.
Why? “I missed the hash browns! They’re crispy and delicious,” she cried. In a flurry of celebration, she and husband Jack paired the taters with a bottle of Dom Perignon—part of the $300 “Grand Cru Slam” breakfast, which comes with pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, and (naturally) some crisp hash browns. A bartender confirmed to us that they were the first guests to order the pricey combo.
"I’ll never forget this experience," Jack said as a gaggle of reporters snapped his photo. "This is hilarious."
Susanne and Jack Becton enjoy their $300 Grand Cru Slam.