Hamiliton’s Luchonette is a newly opened luncheonette and soda shop that hopes to recreate yesteryear in modern day NYC.
The décor is bright and inviting with everything in white giving off the appearance of a sterile environment. The soda jerks were appropriately dressed in period attire and matched the aesthetic. There are 2 seating options either at the bar or at the tables which seat 2 or can be pushed together to accommodate a larger party. The tables are rather close together and can make getting up to leave or go to the bathroom quite the chore. In addition there are no coat hooks even at the bar which should make things rather interesting during NYC’s frigid winters.
While food is the essential part of a dining experience, service can make or break a restaurant. Unfortunately for Hamilton’s Luncheonette service close to abysmal. There is no one to great you and at other times there is an uninviting older gentlemen who tries to be jovial and helpful but it can come across as awkward and unappealing. We observed several times where he would interrupt people in conversation and spend several minutes at a table that clearly did not wish to have his added company. This is not the way to retain customers and keep them coming back for more.
This is compounded by the complete and utter lack of training of the wait staff. Several times we had to signal to the waiter that we were ready to order something else. After finishing our main course and our drinks our empty plates and cups sat on the table without anyone coming by to check on us for at least 15mins. This lack of regard for the customer will be the downfall of this restaurant. There is simply no excuse for the poor service.
There was one waiter that appeared to at least be interested in the customer by engaging in slight banter and checking on us sporadically but still not enough. Wait staff training is sorely needed.
The Drink Menu is broken up into several sections: Ice Cream Sodas, Milkshakes & Malts, Phosphates, Lactarts, Fizzes, Puffs, and Rickeys. It list drinks such as, the Cattawbaba Flip, Knights Egg Phosophate, and the Canary Island Special; without indicating what the ingredients are. Unless you have the excellent book, Fix the Pumps by Darcy S. O’Neils, memorized you will sit their totally lost and have to wait for a server who may or may not show up or have a clear understanding of the what is in the drinks. If the ingredients were listed or at least a flavor profile was listed it would help to greatly improve the dining experience.
That being said many of the drinks are faithfully reproduced and leave you refreshed without feeling weighed down with sugar and cream. You will just have to quiz the waiter until you find something that you might enjoy.
The food is plentiful and affordable. Its not designed to knock your socks off and it won’t but it will satisfy your hunger cravings. There are some solid offerings like the fish and chips which was well seasoned although slightly too bready for my taste.
Hamilton’s had the potential to be an interesting stop in the NYC food journey. The decor draws you in but you will quickly be turned off by the service. While the drinks are good and take you back to the days of the soda fountain, the service leaves much to be desired and that to me is a deal breaker. I shouldn’t have to sit and wait, and wait, and wait for a server to assist me or remove my empty glassware. I would recommend that the drinks menu be either updated with a list of ingredients or at least a flavor profile to improve the overall dining experience. With some staff training it could definitely improve but for now it serves as an interesting novelty. If your in the area stop by and try one of the sodas from yesteryear otherwise I wouldn’t make a special trip just to check it out.
51 Bank St
NY, NY, 10014