The most uncomfortable comfort food experience in NYC


Karen’s Diner New York / Creative Commons License

Katherine Pappas, Staff Writer

If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind place to grab a bite, look no further–Karen’s Diner has got you covered. Karen’s Diner is a tasty, retro-themed pop-up joint located in the West Village, with service provided by literal Karens to create a “Rude Dining Experience” on purpose. A unique experience that pokes fun at and exaggerates the famous Karen character that has gone viral over the past few years. Whether you love them, hate them or are frightened by them, for better or for worse, Karen’s Diner is here to stay (at least until the end of this year).

Upon entering the restaurant, you are immediately teleported into the past based on the ambiance alone. Vibrant colors and loud patterns fill the walls and tabletops, ‘60s music plays from a jukebox and the smell of burgers grilling makes your mouth water! It’s all good vibes until you are greeted with a very unfriendly look at the hostess stand. “You better have a reservation!” yells one of the Karen hostesses. After checking in, Karen stomped her way over to a table and slammed some menus down before we had a chance to get situated. 

The diner offered classic American food: french fries, burgers, hot dogs, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, chocolate cake, milkshakes, beer and wine. One of my friends made the mistake of asking Karen for her recommendations. An extremely long eye roll later, Karen replied, “It’s not that deep, sweetheart. Just pick something quick, so I don’t have to talk to you any longer. You irk me!” We all ordered the I Want To See The Manager Burger!, served with two beef patties, cheese, lettuce, bacon and lots of pickles, complete with a giant knife stabbed right down the middle. It was filling, to say the least, as the portion sizes were more than generous. But while the burger and fries were incredibly tasty, there was nothing that special about them–it was just your average American meal. “Eat quickly and get out!” Karen stated firmly. 

The environment of the restaurant was filled with the loud sounds of Karen screams and insults accompanied by deep belly laughs from customers. “What are you laughing at?” was a common question. Customers were clearly trying to get a rise out of the Karens for the fun of it (who wouldn’t?). When our Karen asked if she could bring us any dessert in her unenthusiastic tone, we kindly turned her down as we were already extremely full. “Cheapskates!” she yelled, then slammed the bill on the table. Our $45 tickets went towards our tab, but we did put in some extra money to tip our lovely Karen. 

Karen’s Diner is definitely a noteworthy experience, but a somewhat pricey one. While it was a fun time, it’s hard to say if it’s worth returning for seconds. Although hilarious and unquestionably memorable, some would prefer a more relaxing meal with kinder service. Before the adventure came to an end, Karen was asked if she would like to say anything to The Pace Press. Her response was a simple one. 

“College kids irritate me!”