Pardon the play on the Greek Alphabet but after toiling for over an hour over a cool and creative title for this post, my sense of humor got the better of me.
Sure, other appropriate titles could have included but were not limited to:
- 1975 Called and They Want Their Donuts Back
- Alpha Donuts in Omega Queens
- Excuse Me Sir but my French Cruller Has a Fly on It!
I felt I was hitting my stride with that last one but opted for the title you see above.
Well this place in Queens is simply a treasure and one that needs to be patronized 24/7, which happens to be their hours so if you find yourself in the five boroughs and it’s late and you say, “hmmm…where can I go at this hour for a donut, or an omelette, or a sandwich, or something that must be cooked on a greasy griddle?”
Look no further than Alpha Donuts in Woodside Queens!
A quick trip on the 7 Train from midtown Manhattan, this place has not changed in 40 years and upon my research, I was unable to even nail down a date as to when it opened.
Known for their French Crullers and greasy menu options, this place is certainly a throw back and for those of us who were not around to see the gritty, Taxi Driver days of New York, Alpha offers a rare glimpse into the city’s checkered past.
You even may have recently seen this place in a movie Robert De Niro shot here titled Being Flynn, an artistic tale of a relationship between father and son and two lives that are seemingly headed in opposite directions. De Niro’s character has a major fall from grace to say the least and finds refuge on cold nights here, sitting at the counter, having a good ol fashioned cup of Joe and a sandwich!
One of my favorite parts of the place, besides the fact that my sister and I would frequent the donut shop for breakfast, are the signature S-shaped counters, a thing of the past in New York and in most places as 21st Century diners enjoy having their own personal space. At Alpha, you have to make friends and you definitely will encounter some characters at the counter from the wall street banker to the roaming hobo.
The old-school menu still exists and while the prices have changed…they haven’t changed all that much…One of my personal faves is your standard Grilled Cheese and Fries, which only sets you back about $6.00 plus tip.
You can get Breakfast anytime and I highly recommend the potatoes, with or without peppers and onions, depending on your preference and psychosomatic anxiety, an immaculate alignment of the planets occurs with the potatoes having just enough grease, salt, pepper, and whatever else may have found its way into the heaping pile of potatoes, to satisfy even the pickiest of appetites.
One of the best parts of the place is of course, watching your food and the food of the other patrons being prepared by the master chef himself. It may not meet the standards of the Culinary Institute of America, but it does meet the standard of greasy goodness, lumped together on the same griddle with everyone else’s greasy goodness.
So what if your omelette taste like a cheeseburger and who cares if your tuna melt some how got a little pastrami mixed in? At Alpha, everything on the grill is family.
The only real suspect thing I ever saw at the place was their CPR kit…or lack thereof. I’m not a medical doctor but this thing looks like it was used back during Mayor Abe Beame’s administration. You’re telling me no one has passed out in this place in 40 years? Not too shabby a track record if you ask me!
Even still, Alpha is a place with a heart and if your heart lies in the gritty 70’s of New York, you really should take a trip out here before it is too late and Alpha Donuts becomes another Dunkin Donut/Baskin Robbins combo. When did they decide that Ice Cream and Donuts go together and did anyone tell the American Heart Association about this?
Simply take the 7 Train to the 40th St. Station and head down the platform to the south side of Queens Boulevard and you’ll see Alpha’s giant yellow sign. Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner, packed or empty, De Niro or no De Niro, Alpha does not disappoint.