Here's a gratuitous shot of a bubbly chocolate egg cream to start off your day.
I have a big thing for old-fashioned diners and soda fountains. I don't know if it's the vinyl booths, swirly bar seats, jukebox music, or overall nostalgic atmosphere, but every time I visit one, especially in Brooklyn, I come out feeling happier. Maybe I've just watched Radio Days or Brighton Beach Memoirs too many times.
Yet there aren't too many diners like this left in the borough anymore. Especially ones like Tom's whose decor hasn't really changed since the 1930s when it first opened. (Note: this is not to be confused with the Tom's Restaurant in Manhattan of Seinfeld fame.)
Earlier last week I took a long walk there with my friend Elizabeth, who was researching the neighborhood for an exciting new Brooklyn-based project (to be announced on these pages soon.) We stopped by Tom's to refuel after a couple hours of walking. This is such a hopping spot that on weekends the sidewalks fill with regulars waiting to get in. but on weekday mornings you can just stroll in and have your pick of tables.
On the inside, the stained glass windows, vintage plates, stringed lights, and decades-old newspaper reviews line the walls. Oldies tunes play on continuous loop, inside and outside the restaurant. Yet for all the kitschy memorabilia, the place itself still feels true to what it is, a neighborhood staple that has been around for generations.
As for the food, well, it's a place you go for hearty, reliable comfort food, nothing remotely pretentious. There's a solid repertoire of pancakes, waffles, eggy delights, burgers, and sandwiches. Our spread of omelets, egg cream, and cherry lime rickey was a little decadent for a normal weekday, but it was a nice reward after a productive morning.
And I was able to satisfy a craving a many-months'-long craving for old-fashioned egg creams.
784 Washington Ave. (at Sterling Pl.)