Before there was Life Cafe, Roberta’s or Northeast Kingdom, hungry and hungover Bushwick residents would flock to Tina’s Restaurant to get their greasy food fix. When my friend first moved to Bushwick years ago I made a late-night pit stop at Tina’s and was hooked ever since. When I later moved to the neighborhood myself, I lived off of her signature chicken fingers and some sort of magical dipping sauce.
Tina Skermo has been catering to the early bird factory workers and late-night riff-raff since 1969. Service is insanely fast and the menu consists of greasy-spoon diner standby’s. But probably one of the reasons why people crave Tina’s is that it’s not 24 hours. There is a special window of time you have to catch between 3:30 in the morning and sometime in the early afternoon otherwise you’re shit out of luck. To casual passerby’s, Tina’s looks like it’s never open, but if you’re the type to rage late into the night or get up early, you’re in for a treat. It’s one of the few places that hasn’t changed or raised their prices to cater to the influx of hot young things in the neighborhood. I love Roberta’s handcrafted pizza but somethmes choke on what they charge for what is essentially a personal pan pizza.
Besides their spot-on coffee and fluffy pancakes, I think it’s the service which keeps bringing me back like a moth to the flame. Tina herself is always friendly, fast, and is in a whole other league than some local waitstaff that are too hungover or “I’m only doing this to support my band and don’t give a crap about you” type of service. (Not all, but some!) As much as I’m happy the neighborhood is diversifying its dining options, it’s the kind of places like Tina’s that will always win over a broke-ass heart.
Photo courtesy of: BushwickBK
1002 Flushing Ave
At Wilson Ave [Bushwick]