I have a 30-year history with Zeke’s Roast Beef, which served my dining needs once per week when I lived on 73rd Street and 7th Avenue in Bay Ridge and walked to the train station at 62nd Street and 8th Avenue. In that era, I worked nights, beginning at 5PM and later, at 7PM, and my weekend was essentially midday Saturday, when I got out of bed, until the late afternoon on Monday. What better way to wrap up the weekend than a visit to Zeke’s Roast Beef, for a roast beef sandwich or a couple of hamburgers, fries and a free salad bar?
Really, there was no better way, and every Monday evening, no matter the weather, would find me in a booth at Zeke’s at 8th Avenue and 66th Street between 1982 and 1988, when I obtained a day job. This fortuitous turn of events did not interrupt my Zeke’s habit and I continued to be a weekly customer until finally moving to Queens in 1993.
After a time I was disappointed to see that Zeke’s had closed, only to be replaced by the Park Asia Restaurant. But that wasn’t the end of Zeke’s. It was resurrected on 3rd Avenue between 77th and 78th Streets a few years ago.
The old Zeke’s, on 8th Avenue, was in a diner-sized space, with over a dozen booths; the new place is a great deal smaller, but very attractive with a plate glass window and polished wood floors and tables and an exposed brick wall. Best of all, the fare is seemingly unchanged since the old Zeke’s era, and the salad bar, featuring lettuce, tomato, raw onion and pickles, is free as ever. I can have as much as I want with lunch or dinner (and no one has ever told me to take it easy.)
In the 1980s two burgers and fries would cost me about $5.95. Deferring to older age, I settle for one burger or roast beef sandwich today and the specials for each, including fries and a drink, are less than $10.
Wraps, fried chicken, fish and chips, BBQ ribs and corn on the cob are also on the menu, with the ribs the most expensive item with a half order $13 and a full order $25.
While my fondness for the place may be steeped in nostalgia, I’m sure you will find the food of excellent quality!