Journalists, executives, and longtime New York residents of a certain echelon likely hold The Waverly Inn as one of the temples, or last bastions, of the media elite. (Fun fact: It was also where I was inspired to launch this blog!)
Depending on the time of day or day of the week, Waverly Inn can be one of the hardest spots to get a table. But if you are flexible, you can walk in and get a table for two (at least) or even a spot at the bar without any trouble.
Owned by longtime and recently retired Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter, the West Village eatery has four seating areas: a cozy front patio, a slightly larger but still intimate bar area, a charming back patio, and then a mid-century dining room for the real bigwigs. The menu is also mid-century American (think burgers, crab cakes, onion rings, and chicken pot pie), with a refined touch and refined (meaning exorbitant) prices to match.
You're basically paying for the ambiance and the sake of eating at THE WAVERLY INN, but if you're there for a special occasion—or even just a glass of champagne with fries!—you should leave satisfied.
There's actually a footnote on the menu that says "No Photos Inside the Restaurant." I didn't know this until I actually sat down at the table in the back patio, and not one of the servers, hosts, or even one of the managers on duty (all of whom were incredibly nice to us) said a word. This is *most likely* because we arrived at a very early hour (just before 6 p.m. on a summer Thursday) and there was no one in the restaurant, only two other guests on the back patio, and three people at the bar in the front.
When we left, however, the place was packed. And in a place absolutely known for an establishment where one can see and be seen, I wouldn't dared have pulled out my fancy camera. (Thus why all the food shots are taken with my iPhone. Wink, wink.)
A good piece of advice in life: When trying to decide between getting the cheese plate or the side of fries, just get both. Especially at the Waverly Inn. The fries were perfectly crispy. (But not quite In-N-Out crispy, which in my book, is a good thing.)
And the cheese selection was diverse but nothing too sharp. Went perfectly with the salted almonds, breadsticks, raisin bread, and compote.
If you're ordering food—which you should here but expect to spend a pretty penny (the fries were $10, and the cheese plate was $18)—you can also look forward to some free biscuits. To be frank, they weren't far off from KFC biscuits, but I LOVE KFC biscuits, so I will not shake my head at these. Enjoy.
A final disclosure: While you might have noticed that we got fries, we did not get sparkling wine on this visit. Given the hot and humid temperature that afternoon, the idea (and taste) of the Sancerre Rosé really hit the spot. I guess this means I just have to go back...