NYC Restaurant Review: Tillman’s


Only in New York City can you pay $14 for a single grilled cheese sandwich, but then at the same establishment hear an intimate concert with Talib Kweli for FREE.

Such contradictions make up Tillman’s, where expensive comfort food is balanced out by the pricelessness of your experience.

A hidden gem within the wasteland that I call Chelsea Heights (27th and 7th Ave), Tillman’s is a small underground bar and dance floor that hosts an eclectic mix of people — from the cute Filipina waitress’s curly tresses and her genuine megawatt smile to the icy cold platinum blonde Russian girl decked head-to-toe in too-tight leopard print — I’m definitely around people who aren’t afraid to be themselves.

Tillman’s is reminiscent of what I’d imagine an illegal speakeasy to be like during the Harlem Renaissance. But we’re a long way from Harlem, baby. Although the commercial bravado of mid-town is forgotten when you’re down here.

In addition to live music sets, guest DJs spin — one of whom is Lesly Bernard, the owner and the man responsible for turning an old lady’s clothing store into a place that’s a heck of a lot cooler.

In the middle of my late-night meal, I meet Talib Kweli (of Black Star) who just finished a set on stage. After a quick photo, I take a bite of this insanely delicious French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese Sandwich and think to myself “fifteen dollars for a grilled cheese sandwich?” It’s the last of my cash this week, but it’s well worth every penny.

Tillman’s
165 West 26th Street (at 7th Ave)
[Chelsea]

Images: Patricia Serrano and Citysearch

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About the author

Patricia Serrano - Destitute Diva

Patricia Serrano is a classically-trained screenwriter with a passion for one-of-kind life experiences and well-written paragraphs. Hailing from Bangkok, Thailand, she was disowned by her family when she decided to be a writer. She came to the states to pursue a career in journalism at Emerson College, but found that writing films pissed her parents off more. She successfully survived a two-year MFA program for Dramatic Writing at NYU that has left her bank account at a negative balance and gets instant gratification from writing for the web.

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