The Origins of Lexington Candy Shop
The Upper East Side Manhattan shop was founded in 1925 by a first generation Greek immigrant. At the time luncheonettes could be found every few blocks and were frequently established by newcomers to the country, looking to make a life for themselves in the city.
To begin with Lexington Candy Shop was both a lunch joint and as a sweet shop (hence the name). Chocolates were made on site in the basement. As the years went by however and their lunchtime competitors were driven out of business by rent hikes, they began to focus more and more on lunch. Finally, in 1948, the shop was renovated to function wholly as a diner. Since then it bas been a candy shop only by name.
The Lexington Candy Shop Museum
1948 was the last time the shop was renovated. Its decor and furnishings date back almost exclusively to this time, and many of its contents are just as old. Its original coffee urns are still in use, as is its 1940 Hamilton Mixer. The display windows are full of vintage cans, bottles and toys, and the shop's walls are hung with photos of celebrity visitors: Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Matt Dillon to name a few. Even its menu is much unchanged since FDR's presidency.
In many ways the shop is a de facto museum of the era. It's funny then that it is just three blocks away from NYC's famous Museum Mile.
Lexington Candy Shop on the Silver Screen
By the 1970s the shop had begun to draw the attention not just of everyday customers but of Hollywood producers too. It was used in 1975 for a scene in the spy film Three Days of the Condor. The then owner's voice can be heard in the background shouting, 'Chicken plate!' Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway sitting in the foreground.
Since then the shop has been used by all manner of productions: adverts, more films and even an episode of the Travel Channel's Food Paradise, where it featured as a 'Blast from the past'.
Lexington Candy Shop Today
The shop is today run by John Philis, the grandson of its founder. John first started out helping his dad around the shop 42 years ago and is still going strong. He and his team serve up traditional American fare to a mixture of locals and tourists. The perfect place to grab an egg cream, soda fountain, pancakes, burgers and more, all while surrounded by authentic Americana.
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