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Zagat: Notable Chef Revamps Manhattan’s Classic Empire Diner

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Empire Diner, an iconic city diner on West 22nd Street, has been revamped by a notable chef. Zagat editor James Mulcahy filed the following report for NY1.

Chef Amanda Frietag, a familiar face from television's Chopped, is behind the revamp of Empire Diner, a landmarked dining car that's sat on West 22nd street for over 50 years.

"The diner car itself was built in the 1940s by the Fodero Dining Car Company," she said over a cup of coffee. "It probably landed on this corner somewhere in the '50s, and it's been here ever since. It's just an incredibly iconic space."

The interior has been updated, but keeps the feel of a classic diner, with comfy booths and a coffee counter. The menu also pays homage to the spot's history, offering spins on diner classics.

"Being from Jersey, there's so many diner things that I love," said Frietag, "Anything from a grilled cheese to an omelette. I'm making a Greek salad, which is a thing I order a lot at diners, and I'm putting grilled octopus on it."

While the corner diner is a mainstay in many New York neighborhoods, the food rarely stands out. This menu is much more ambitious. You go back in time when you enter this Chelsea dining care, but Frietag's reinvintion also gives you a glimpse of what the neighborhood diner should aim for in the future.

Frietag summed up her vision: "What would a diner be if it were born today, in this foodie world, in this chef-driven era? That's kind of what I'm trying to create."

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