So many favorite neighborhood businesses have been closing lately, it's making me nervous. The best way to combat this anxiety is to continue to support those that still live, so here's my plug for one I could not live without: The Stage Restaurant at 128 2nd Ave.
Seating is limited, but when it's full, I just take a walk around the block or run an errand and there's usually a free stool when I'm done. Or, just go at an off-peak time. The service is great, the company entertaining, and the food is good and affordable. I've tried just about everything here and have never been disappointed. You can see their menu here, but they also have daily specials, so be sure to pop in and ask.
The Stage is one of the few counter joints remaining and offers a real "old school" New York experience. The only drawback is there is no public restroom, but there's a Starbucks up the street that does just nicely...
Also, they're closed on Sundays.