Cafe Edison


The irony here is that many years ago, in my former life as an assistant to a notorious Hollywood douchebag, I was once told to fetch a turkey sandwich from “The Edison.” Like many of the adventures on which I was sent by Mr. Super-Producer, my instructions were vague and arduous. After calling all around (the Internet was in its infancy and completely useless), I came to the conclusion that I was apparently going to have to hop on a bus and find a place in Edison, NJ. This, of course, would not have been below him to do. In my desperation (the clock was always ticking with this guy), I walked out on the street and started asking people who looked like native New Yorkers if they knew anything about “The Edison” and if I could, in fact, get a turkey sandwich there. Being fresh from Los Angeles, and a little naive about how the city worked, I got mostly “screw you” looks, until a little, old Jewish lady pointed me to the Hotel Edison. A hotel? Typical of this bastard to send me somewhere to get something that they don’t even have. (He sent me once to a specific Big&Tall shop to get him a swimsuit and flip-flops in the middle of winter.) So I show up, and to my surprise, there is an actual cafe attached to the hotel. And I was saved–until I got back and found out that apparently mustard makes him puke (despite him asking for it), and that I would have to go back and have them wipe the mustard off the sandwich and give me new bread. So, I could go on and on… And this brings us to the present; a present in which the Cafe Edison hasn’t changed a drop in ten years. Handwritten signs adorn every wall, touting the fresh pastrami and the smoked whitefish. There are signs written about the chicken soup and the potato pancakes. You have signs about meatloaf specials and even soft-shelled crabs if you want ’em. Why they even bother with a menu is beyond me. The oddest part about those signs is the fact that every word on every sign is underlined multiple times. I had a great aunt who lived in Vegas and told people’s fortunes who always underlined every word in every birthday card she ever sent me with four lines. Apparently there are others out there that feel this somehow enhances or highlights the sentiment being conveyed either about how much love they feel for their nephew, or how great their kreplach is. In any case, walking in here feels like New York–or some parts of Florida. It just has that old school flavor that makes this city great. And then you open the menu and see the old school prices, and everything is right with the world. In the ultimate irony, I ordered a turkey sandwich, and it came piled high with fresh turkey (none of that pressed, Boar’s Head crap), and really hit the spot. Pair that with a nice, cold Coke and my week was complete. Despite the specter of my old boss floating around the place, I enjoyed my meal thoroughly, and could see making this a weekly destination once I retire to those woolen, old-man-pants, am on a fixed income and don’t want the hassle of being asked “make it a combo?” everywhere I go. [MF]

228 W 47th St.