The GEM SALOON in Murray Hill

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There was a restaurant in the same location for about 30 years, with mediocre service and horrible food. A friend of mine told me once that the waitress refused to serve him sunny side up eggs because “she couldn’t speak Spanish to the chef in the kitchen.” But Rodeo Bar is gone now, and the Gem Saloon has replaced it with a charming staff, great food and wonderful drinks at reasonable prices for the up-and-coming neighborhood of Murray Hill.

In the last few years, there were talks about a new place, but very little seemed to be happening on the corner of Third Avenue and 27th Street. I even found information on local newspapers about the opening of The Gem Saloon in the summer 2016, but it didn’t open until February 2017. I mostly fascinated by the vibrant crowd whom you see dining there every day now. I asked two bartenders in different times of the day to make me a non-alcoholic cocktail since I stopped drinking for 3 months, they didn’t disappoint at all; in fact, their drinks off the menu were top-notch.

This afternoon I had brunch with a friend who now lives in South Florida and was in shock when I mentioned the new place to him. “Oh, are you sure they have good food there?” I have actually been having a lot of fun convincing my friends that The Gem Saloon is a different ambiance, with a good, descent crowd and excellent service.

Today, for St. Patrick’s Day special menu, a friend and I ordered a delicious Shepherd’s Pie, a Roast Beef Sandwich, and a chocolate and orange mousse, a surprisingly good dessert. (We shared, naturally, because dessert is overrated!)

On other occasions, I tried and recommend other interesting brunch choices, such as the Chuckwagon Skillet Eggs–I had it myself, and saw an older gay couple also enjoying one. (Interestingly and coincidentally, they were sitting outside close to my table on the inside, so we could dine and chat at the same time.) The traditional Two Eggs Any Style were served with delicious crispy bacon, just the perfect texture one looks for.

Later at night, another friend and I stopped by, after 11 pm., to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Congratulations to the management of the new place, every aspect of the Gem Saloon is New York City at its finest.

RESTAURANT REVIEW by Lucas Eller, New York