How’s your brunch going?
EC: Street Meet: East Village, Manhattan
Credit: Photos by Amy Schulman

Every weekend, as hordes of hungry diners wait in line for brunch, Extra Crispy will hit the pavement, visiting a neighborhood’s most popular spots and talking to people who love the meal as much as we do. For this installment of Street Meet, Extra Crispy went to Manhattan’s East Village.

Caroline, 26, and Danielle, 23, at San Marzano

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Extra Crispy: How long have you been waiting to get in?
Caroline: We’ve been waiting since 1:30 p.m., and it’s 1:52 p.m., so 22 minutes.

What’s the longest you’ve waited for brunch?
Danielle: I feel like an hour.
Caroline: Yeah.
Danielle: Anything after that…

You’re done?
Danielle: Yeah.

Is that just for brunch?
Danielle: I would say anywhere. Except I really want one of those Black Tap milkshakes. I think I would wait up to two hours for that.

Why do you think Americans love eating brunch?
Danielle: I think it’s similar to the European culture where it’s just an experience. When we want to do something, we all want to hang out with each other. Usually our first go-to is to get a drink, or going to get brunch. It’s just an opportunity to hang out.
Caroline: I think also with American drinking and bar culture, no one’s going to be getting up early. So [brunch] is later in the day, but still gets you up and out of bed. [Laughing] That sounds really unhealthy, but it keeps you from staying in bed all day. I like brunch culture; it’s the time when I have the best conversations.
Danielle: It’s also very trendy at this point, with all the publications and influencers online. They’re showing flat lays of their dishes. You’re scrolling through in bed.
Caroline: [Laughing] Can you tell we work in social media?

Final question: What is your go-to hangover breakfast food?
Danielle: Anything Mexican.
Caroline: I am really weird, and people always judge me, but I really like tuna melts or a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese. There’s something about the seafood and the dairy and the bread—it’s so gross. I’m all about that. Something about it gets my body back on track.

Quincey, 22, and Eric, 23, at Prune

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Extra Crispy: How did you hear about Prune?
Eric: I watch a lot of cooking videos online, and I found a bunch that the chef does. I’m really obsessed with her now.
Quincey: I’m here because he wanted to go.

Is there a dish in particular that you really want to have here?
Eric: They have a Monte Cristo, which is like a deep-fried sandwich. I’m a huge nerd, and I look at the menu at places before I go there, so I totally scoped it out.
Quincey: I actually separately looked at the menu. I love Monte Cristos as a whole.

Are you both going to get the Monte Cristo?
Quincey: Now I think I might have to rethink it.
Eric: If one of us gets it, the other might have to get something else.

  • What about the 12 different kinds of bloody marys? Any interest?
  • Eric: I’m just going to play it by ear. Freestyle.
  • Quincey: Definitely going to get a little hair of the dog, but I don’t love bloody marys.

When you woke up this morning, how did you mentally prepare yourself to wait in line?
Eric: I made sure my phone was charged.
Quincey: I didn’t mentally prepare myself at all—I threw myself into this situation completely unawares.

One last question: what’s your favorite thing to make for your significant other or for a one-night stand?
Eric: Those are very different occasions, but spaghetti carbonara, because you can do anything with it.
Quincey: Significant other, I like to make pork with peach marmalade. One-night stand, I would make a bowl of cereal.

Charlie and Ben at Cafe Mogador

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Extra Crispy: What did you guys do last night?
Charlie: I went to a friend’s party in Brooklyn who was having a dance party, and they had a hired DJ with ’70s disco music.
Ben: ’70s disco music? Thanks for the invite on that. I went to a cocktail bar in Williamsburg.

We’re going to do a speed round of Would You Rather: Breakfast Food Edition. Ready? Bottomless brunch or bottomless booze?
Charlie: Bottomless brunch.
Ben: Bottomless brunch.

Yolk porn or scrambled?
Charlie: Scrambled.
Ben: Yolk porn.

Donuts or churros?
Charlie: Donuts.
Ben: Churros.

Pancakes or waffles?
Charlie: Waffles.
Ben: Pancakes.

Mimosa or margarita?
Charlie: Mimosa.
Ben: Mimosa.

Cool. Thanks, guys!

Matt, 27, and Bianca, 27, at Prune

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Extra Crispy: How long have you been waiting in line?
Matt: I’d say about 20, 25 minutes.
Bianca: Yeah.

Have you ever been to Prune before?
Bianca: I have.
Matt: I haven’t.

What’s your favorite thing to order here?
Bianca: I’ve only been once, but I got this egg and chicken thing that was baked. It was really good.

How did you mentally prepare yourself when you woke up this morning to wait in line?
Bianca: We did not. But as soon as I mentioned it, I knew we’d be waiting on line.

Are you guys in a relationship? Is that how you know one another?
Matt: Yeah.

So what’s your favorite thing to make for the other when you wake up in the morning?
Bianca: Coffee. That’s the only thing we ever make.
Matt: We usually go out.

Victor Malafronte, 53, at Cafe Orlin

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Extra Crispy: Have you ever been to Cafe Orlin before?
Victor Malafronte: I’ve been coming here since it opened, so for over 25 years.

So you’re an East Village resident?
I’m not. I lived in Manhattan for over 20 years, but my best friend of 40 years is an East Village resident, and has been most of his life.

Do you still live in one of the five boroughs?
No, I moved down to the sixth borough of Manhattan called South Beach, Miami. That’s what they call it.

How do you like living in Florida?
I enjoy it very much. I’ve spent almost 15 years there.

What made you want to leave New York?
The cold, the dark, the dreary winters and the hot, hot summers with no swimming available. And the $3,500 one bedroom apartment rent.

What’s your opinion on toasting bagels?
Toasting bagels?

Yeah, do you think it’s sacrilegious to toast a bagel?
No, absolutely not. Toasted bagels with heaps of melted butter. And I can afford it, as you can see, I’m kind of thin, like you [Pulls his shirt up].

Nisha, 24, at The Smith

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Extra Crispy: What did you do last night?
Nisha: I had dinner at the Ludlow House, and then went to Slate. Then I got home and just slept.

Did you eat something this morning?
No, I haven’t eaten anything. I drank some water. But I haven’t eaten anything at all, because I woke up at ten.

If you could have one breakfast food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Oh, my God, I don’t know. I like these breakfast tofu bean burrito things.

So you would have just that for the rest of your life?
Yeah, I would really want to go to Mexican brunch, but my friends don’t want to go. I love Mexican food.

Do you know what you’re going to get for brunch?
No idea. Hopefully they have something vegetarian.

Are you more of a savory or sweet bruncher?
Savory. I think sweet sometimes, but I can only have two bites of it. Usually it’s good to order one sweet thing and two savory things and share with people. Too much sweet is overload.

What’s your go-to hangover food?
Taco Bell.

Anything specific?
Bean burrito. Quesarito.

Finally, do you think it’s sacrilegious to toast a bagel?
No. Bagels not toasted taste… it tastes nasty without being toasted. It tastes really raw and stuff.