Travel, FeaturesDuke FORM

MeMe's Diner, New York City

Travel, FeaturesDuke FORM
MeMe's Diner, New York City

The neon orange immediately draws your eye across the space.  As if from a font, small bowls of classic cheese puffs sit on every table, an oversized jug from which they are filled, sits behind the bar.  Immediately, the food from this place screams of a paradox MeMe’s has pioneered, the high end restaurant whose intentional nonconformity gives it room to embrace it’s Americana Roots - the diner.

MeMe’s Diner, opened in November of 2017 in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, is the brainchild of owners Bill Clark and Libby Willis. The “first come, first served” style diner provides visitors with comfort through both aesthetics and food. Colorfully painted portraits rest on the wall above a long, faded leather upholstered booth, while red and white checkered napkins lay folded on the tables. A chocolate iced cake sits on the deep green bar in a cake holder reminiscent of what one might find at their grandmother’s house.  

One would be mistaken not to trust the Chips and Dip appetizer.  If the basket of ripple chips that could be from any Frito-Lays bag doesn’t already make you smile, that first bite with the deviled egg, trout roe dip will.  America’s staple of salt is humbled by the creamy dip, cutting the salt with a cooling cream that leaves the mouth watering for more. If a seasonal, healthy option is more your speed, try the Crudites and Dip.  Here, sweet, autumnal vegetables like carrots, fennel, and apple squash are coupled with a spicy yet salty pumpkin seed dip.  

An assortment of main dishes all present the customer with options that have become the canon of American cooking, yet in their descriptions, one begins to see the ingenuity at play.

The Meatloaf, an assuming block, is coupled with a gravy and carmelized onions which meld together in your mouth as soon as the melt-in-your-mouth loaf hits the tongue.  Sweetness, saltiness, crispy and smooth are all at home in this meal. Meanwhile, a welcome surprise is found in the Chicken Cutlet. Flavors of roasted grapes, olives, rosemary and fennel are perfectly measured into a pan fried cutlet, giving the customer the desired amount of crunch, and a sizeable portion of chicken.  Here, opposites coexist, and thrive.

MeMe’s Diner is shaping what is known as American comfort food.  Through their experimental diner meals, they not only make delicious and inventive dishes that you will want to come back for time and time again for, but they make you want to go back to your grandmother’s and taste her meatloaf you grew up on.  Just like their food, MeMe’s makes new memories for its customers, while renewing old memories with vibrancy.

More of FORM’s NYC Travel Guide will be available in Vol. XXI, exclusively available in print on December 6th, from 5:00-6:30pm at The Landing.

Words by Claire Gibbs and Bryan Rusch

Photos by Tommaso Babucci