Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cosmos to Orion

This past summer, we lost the Cosmos Diner, which had stood at 23rd and 2nd since 1978. Along with it, we lost another example of "Steaks Chops" signage--always a sad occurrence.


2011

When this happens, we tend to think the worst. A Subway. A 7-11. Another diner vanished for an artisanal pork-centric bistro. But sometimes the equilibrium is maintained.

Reader Pat sends in the news that Cosmos has simply become the Orion Diner & Grill. It opens today.



Pat says, "The ceilings are blue painted with white clouds, there is a mural on the wall, and the arrow of the archer on the sign outside has a moving light to suggest an arrow in motion... When I walked by they were having a party inside. The dessert trays in the window were loaded with huge gooey pieces of cake. A Greek Orthodox priest blessed everyone inside. He had a handful of some kind of leaves which he dipped in water and then bopped (I hope that word is not disrespectful) everyone on the forehead with it, uniformed wait staff too! A religious icon was in evidence on a table. So, I know where I am having lunch tomorrow."

21 comments:

EV Grieve said...

I'll take it.

And I love that the Greek Orthodox priest was there to bless everyone...

Tom Rinaldi said...

I have fond memories of the Cosmos but like the Orion's new sign, though it's probably LED. May it live to be tomorrow's antique!

Marty Wombacher said...

It sure beats another chain! Sounds like a nice place, I'll check it out soon. Thanks for the update!

randall said...

Nice. We've gone from the whole Cosmos to the more specific constellation Orion.

esquared said...

Also, Orion's Diner & Grill logo features an image of a bare-chested archer (Orion the Hunter), which is somehow fitting, I suppose, since most of the Hunter students at the Brookdale Residence Hall and Brookdale campus on 25th street eats there.

I know where I am having dinner tonight.

Brendan said...

There is an essay or something to be written about the pork-centeredness of modern foodieism. This is historically a very Jewish city, is currently taking in a lot of Muslim and Hindu immigrants, has a sizeable number of vegan rastas, used to be associated with forms of political radicalism that might include vegetarianism or veganism...so what is this pork thing all about? It's like a deliberate "fuck you" to all that.

Usually I'm a little skeptical when you talk about mainstream American culture taking over New York but with the pork I definitely see it.

abrod said...

Wonder who's crazy enough to open an independent, non-artisanal, normal diner in New York in 2012.... what a rebel. Not even kidding either.

James Campbell Taylor said...

I peered in through the brown papered windows a couple of weeks back... Looked quite different from Cosmos. I will pop in for an egg cream today!!

Filmatix said...

I'm in fo' sho. My best friend grew up at nearby Waterside, and Cosmos has been an oasis for us since high school. Like that the name Orion is cosmically derived. Maybe the younger generation were sick of customers coming in to talk to "Cosmo"?

I really hope they do well; there's still enough institutions around there (hospitals/schools/etc.) that need an eatery that doesn't charge 13 bux for a sandwich.

Brendan said...

"Wonder who's crazy enough to open an independent, non-artisanal, normal diner in New York in 2012.... what a rebel. Not even kidding either."

It's not a question of being a rebel, it's the rent. That's all there is to it. The UES is now, amazingly, the cheapest part of Manhattan below 96th so it can still sustain normal businesses.

Most of the negative changes to the city discussed on this blog would be reversed if rents fell a significant amount. There are actual policy solutions that could encourage this, but the current administration is not interested.

Sorry that got kind of off topic.

laura said...

jeremiah, clue me in. is this the 1st ORION to open? do they have others? the priest thing is amazing. im not crazy about the red sinege, looks chain-ey. let us know how the food is, what you saw on menu. real food, (is it called "slow food") is making a comeback?

Laura said...

forgot to mention: do you know "cosmos" had an additional diner on upper madison? or am i confused w/"three guys" (love the coffee shop diner posts, im a fan of these places)! love you "J", from "laura's new york")

Pat said...

I went tonight at 6pm and the place was packed. The spinach pie and Greek salad was good and fresh. If they keep up these high standards they are sure to be a hit.

everettsville said...

I accidentally stumbled upon this place this morning during a long walk down 2nd avenue. Recognized the signage from this post and decided not to just pass by.

It was busy. I had elbow old ladies for space at the counter. The air was thick with classic New York accents.

Spanish omelette with homes fries, toast and coffee for a whopping after-tax total of $8.45.

BabyDave said...

At 8 p.m Thursday the place was packed. It was good to see the support. Hope it continues.

Eric Brasure said...

Years ago when I lived on 25th and 1st I would eat at Cosmos quite often. I'll have to make a trip over there and check out the Orion.

James Campbell Taylor said...

I ate lunch At Orion today. I got there around 2:30 and it was pretty busy. I ordered a tuna melt on rye and a chocolate egg cream. A few minutes later the waitress cam back to inform me they were out of rye bread, and asked me if multigrain was OK. How do you run out of rye bread — on day two?!!

I spent the whole time eavesdropping on the unintentionally hilarious conversation between two women at the next table. One was called Ethel, and neither could have been much younger than ninety. According to Ethel, the coffee is good and it's cleaner than the Cosmos, but if you're a family and want to eat a nice lunch she recommends Lamazou on Third and 27th.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i love overhearing the Ethels of the city.

Pat said...

@James Campbell Taylor,

Nancy and Aziz Lamazou have the cheese store on 3rd Avenue near 27th St. and I have enjoyed their great sandwiches for years. Last year they opened Bistro Lamazou on 3rd Avenue btw. 25th – 26th Streets. I have not been there due to budget constraints but I know it is a totally different kind of restaurant from a Greek diner in terms of food and ambience and price.

Jay Diamond said...

Dear Jeremiah,

You most likely remember, as I do, when it was the Riss East, and that would mean you remember the Riss on 8th Avenue, which was the Real Thing.

I walked in and looked at the menu and it looked like all the other plastic diners all over the place. Everything was twice the price of Cosmos and if one is to judge by the standard, oversized, totally artificial looking “cakes” in the window, I would not expect too much.

There are other decent diners in the neighborhood, namely the Gramercy, at the Southwest corner of 17th and 3rd, and the remaining classic, Joe, Jr. at the west side of 3rd. at about 15th st.

Orion is absurdly gaudy with the standard characterless 100 page 4 pound menu of all plastic food diners.

My standard rule is that the Gaudier the decor in a diner, the worse is the food.

I am not at all optimistic about this joint.

Foppington said...

I got bitten by something (never saw what, my hand was down by the wall in a booth and my friends swore I was making it up) at Cosmos in the 1980s. Needless to say, it's been a while since I'd eaten there.