Salty Lunch Lady serves up sweet vintage nostalgia

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Friday, April 26, 2024
Salty Lunch Lady serves up sweet vintage nostalgia
The vibe of the restaurant is inviting with nostalgia and retro items from the owner's home.The restaurant was inspired by cooking during the pandemic and popups. It includes some sandwiches that are as creative as the name of the restaurant.

RIDGEWOOD, Queens (WABC) -- Let's visit The Salty Lunch Lady's Little Luncheonette in the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood.

The restaurant was inspired by cooking during the pandemic and popups. It includes some sandwiches that are as creative as the name of the restaurant.

"I've always thought of myself as a lunch lady because it's nostalgic and just kind of nurturing and all the lunch ladies were taken up," said Dria Atencio, the owner. "I was just kind of trying to imagine another fun funny way to think of myself and I think salty would be a really good one, so that's how it was born, and then it just kind of stayed and when I opened I was like I think I'll just keep it and make it longer and weirder."

I've always thought of myself as a lunch lady because it's nostalgic and just kind of nurturing.
Dria Atencio

Atencio started cooking 15 years ago and said she's always loved sandwiches.

"I've kind of cooked my way through New York. I've done French food and wood-fired American food and Sichuan food and all these different foods, but I've always just loved sandwiches," she said.

The vibe of the restaurant is inviting with nostalgia and retro items from the owner's home.

"I went about creating the menu, it wasn't a straightforward process, I just know what I really like and I've been in a lot of restaurants where we catered to other people's tastes and I was just like, let's just see if other people like what I like," she said.

I was just like, let's just see if other people like what I like.
Dria Atencio

While she doesn't have a favorite among her sandwiches, she said they sell a lot of the dill party and says people are always looking for a good turkey sandwich.

"I think the chicky might be the most interesting. Which is a big chicken meatball which we take and smash in a pan, cook it with some charred onions, some Bulgarian feta, some smoked paprika some mayo and arugula on a seeded bun," Atencio said. "Another sandwich I really love is one of our vegetarian sandwiches, it's called 'Squash Me.' It is roasted butternut squash with roasted garlic and thyme and we send that room temperature with a kale and basil almond pesto and this cheese spread that's a mixture of this really amazing Italian ricotta and goat cheese and we make this little salad on top."

The restaurant is also known for its amazing desserts.

"Today I made for you a coconut funfetti cake. It's coconut cake with sprinkles filled with coconut milk pastry cream a vanilla coconut frosting and shredded coconut and sprinkles. It's like funfetti meets coconut cake hybrid," she said. "I also made a take on our favorite snacking cookie. It's like an oatmeal cream pie or a stuffed oatmeal sandwich cookie and it's kind of a molasses oatmeal cookie filled with a cream cheese vanilla bean frosting and I think it's good."

Atencio said she just loves all of her customers and puts a lot of love and attention into everything she makes.

"Honestly, I love making sandwiches. It almost feels like it would be boring putting things on bread but I really care about what we're serving and I really care about our customers," she said.