New Yorkers who prefer their meals with a side of filming location should head straight to The Mansion. The historic eatery, situated on a bustling corner at 1634 York Ave. in the Upper East Side’s Yorkville neighborhood, is currently enjoying a stint portraying The Pickle Diner on the sophomore season of the Hulu hit “Only Murders in the Building.”
Named in honor of Gracie Mansion, which stands just steps away, the establishment was originally opened in 1945 by John Philips, a Cyprus native who immigrated to America in 1922. After initially toiling away as a barber, he found his way into the restaurant business, eventually working up from a dishwasher to a cook to a chef. Following a tour of duty in World War II, John returned to New York on June 9, 1945 and opened The Mansion two days later. It has been going strong ever since, quickly becoming a neighborhood staple and frequent stomping ground for both Yorkville denizens and visitors alike. Just a few of the regulars who have been known to drop in over the years include broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite, onetime Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox, “60 Minutes” creator Don Hewitt, New York Mets president Sandy Alderson, former mayor Bill de Blasio and cookbook author Jessica Seinfeld.
The eatery, which is known interchangeably as The Mansion Restaurant and The Mansion Diner, is still owned and operated by the Philips family today, nearly eight decades after its inception! John’s son, Philip Philips, inherited the reins in the 1970s and his son, John G. Philips, who formerly managed such tony hotels as The Plaza and the Soho Grand, took over in 2006. Though it closed later that same year to undergo a massive $1.2 million renovation, during which the original brick walls were exposed, the décor reimagined, the menu updated and the kitchen equipment upgraded, The Mansion is still known for serving up tasty meals with a smile at affordable prices. (The place has also become quite renowned for its epic holiday decorations, with John adorning the exterior in extravagant trimmings each St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas.)