By Carol Brock
Lollipops Coffe Shop
153-31 Cross Island Pkwy.
Whitestone Shopping Center
Sometimes you want just a bite. Sometimes you want something simple.
Sometimes you want to go at an off-beat hour for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sometimes you want it to be “just me.” A coffee shop or low-key diner can be the answer — like Lollipops.
It’s in the Whitestone Shopping Center on the north side service road of the Cross Island Parkway at 153rd Street.
I stopped there to pick up some shampoo and always wanted to see what the intriguingly named Lollipops was about.
Picture this: A study in tan, two train cars long, wider than a train, with framed mirrors for windows, potted greenery up front and a counter with 13 revolving seats in the rear. A battery of 24 Tiffany-style lamp shades and some fans are overhead. Booths on both sides, train-like.
The night’s specials are posted on a sandwich board in front. Flanken sounded good to me but I was nostalgically committed to stuffed peppers or cabbage. I inquired of my server, “Might I have one of each?” “Two peppers or two cabbage” was the reply. “Cabbage,” said I.
A cup of split pea was served with croutons afloat and two packets of soda crackers which of course is de rigeur to crumble into the soup. This was comfort food that slipped down easily. “Here, Sweetie,” the waiter said as he placed the scalloped edged oval plate before me. (Well, I was breaking in my latest fall lipstick.) It was fresh spinach, nicely seasoned and the potatoes were terrific. Simple can taste beautiful.
The stuffed cabbage were ethereal, a word I have never, ever used to describe it. How fluffy the rice combined with sauteed ground beef. When James Beard came to my house for an early “farm” supper after lecturing at the Woman’s Club, it was the entree — large, compact, very meaty. Most importantly, the tomato-less broth in which it was braised was passed for spooning over it.
Just as there was a long wait for the order to be taken, there was a long wait for the dessert order to be taken. I ordered Jello. I watched in the mirror backing the service table, as he spooned the red Jello ( I never did determine — strawberry or cherry) into a tulip glass. Tradition. He set it down with a “Here, Dearie.” (Well, I was wearing drop earrings which I hadn’t done in ages.)
My second encounter was the night I chose from the specials, creole tripe with rice. “Very nice.” He approved. “Salad?” (Soup or salad goes with the entree and a glass of wine at dinner.) “Dressing?” “Russian.” It was a wonderfully crisp salad with Iceberg, sliced cucumber, tomato, shredded red cabbage and purple onion plus Russian mayonnaise and I liked that. The tripe was simple — just strips in a creole broth, no peppers, no onions, extremely well done served on a bed of rice. Pie for dessert — “Apple, blueberry or lemon meringue?” “Lemon meringue.” If you grew up in the My-t-Fine lemon meringue pie era, you’ll be pleased. The meringue was really chewy. “Check, please.” He placed it on the table with a “Thank you, Madame.” (No new lipstick. No drop earrings.)
P.S. It’s called Lollipops because of an old-time Whitestone favorite. And the present owners who bought it in 1999 kept the name.
Roast Beef Sandwich…S4.95
Fresh Brisket Sandwich …$4.95
Roast Ham Sandwich…$4.95
Food: American (oldies but goodies)
Setting: Two railroad dining cars long.
Hours: B L & D 7 days
Credit cards: None (ATMs close by)
Parking: Huge lot in front
Noise level: Low
Handicap accessible: Yes