Joe Jr. Restaurant — 76.4 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The decibel reading was a surprising 76.4 for our visit to Joe Jr.  Surprising because the reading was higher than we would have guessed, but Joe Jr. Restaurant is a small space with lots of hard surfaces and plenty of chatter (including a few patrons who appeared to be hard of hearing).  The reading also reflects the hum of the grill and the sounds of dishes being stacked and binned–the kitchen is open, so you will see–and hear–your meal being made.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Every once in a while a space will read over 75 decibels yet will be tolerable.  Joe Jr. Restaurant is one of those places.  And the place was fairly crowded during our lunch time visit, so an off-hours visit should be quieter.

Joe Jr. Restaurant is well worth the visit if you are looking for very good diner fare.  Eater NY rated its burger the best no-frills burger in the city.  We concur, adding that the fries were pretty good, too, and the service was friendly and efficient.   If you want to experience what’s left of old New York City, Joe Jr. shouldn’t be missed.

HOURS

Open 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day (may vary on holidays)

LOCATION

167 3rd Avenue (at the corner of 16th Street), NY, NY 10003

WEBSITE

Joe Jr. Restaurant menu

Kings Kitchen — 81.2 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

In a word, no.  The kitchen noises, yelling waitstaff, and constant clatter from dishes coming into contact with hard surfaces made for an uncomfortable experience.  There were occasional pockets of relative calm during our visit, but they were dwarfed by the general cacophony.   We came for an early bird dinner on a Sunday evening specifically to avoid a crowd.  Our timing was right–the place wasn’t packed during our visit, but it was busy.  That said, 81.2 decibels for a busy but not full restaurant does not augur well.  It was plainly obvious to us that a packed restaurant would be intolerable.

The reason to go to Kings Kitchen isn’t for the decor or the atmosphere, it’s for good food that is reasonably priced.   But good food, reasonable prices, and attentive waitstaff could not compensate for the noise.  It simply was intolerable.

If you are in Chinatown looking for a nosh and see that Kings Kitchen is empty, you could take a chance and go in for a quick meal.   Otherwise, the only safe option is take away.

HOURS

6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day

LOCATION

92 E. Broadway (betw. Eldridge and Pike Streets), New York, NY 10002

WEBSITE

No website