Junior's interior has been updated in its more than six-decade history, but it has retained its old-school feel. Vintage marquee signs hang over the entrance. A pressed-aluminum-lined bar with stationary stools sits just inside. Partitioned booths fill the large space. A lounge lies to the side. “We're not just a restaurant, we're an institution. I take that responsibility quite seriously," says Alan Rosen, the third-generation owner of this family business. The restaurant won fame for its cheesecake, which Rosen's grandfather Harry developed with baker Eigel Peterson back in 1950. Rosen insists the recipe is the same today as it was then, though flavor options have changed. Look for fancier renditions like chocolate mousse and pumpkin spice, and simple treats like original New York plain or fruit. Junior's was once a mostly kosher restaurant — “We also served crab, so go figure,” says Rosen — but today it serves a solid compilation of classic diner fare. The deli sandwiches, like the corned beef and pastrami, are prime. And the “Something Different,” a self-proclaimed sensational sandwich of brisket served between two perfectly seasoned potato pancakes with jus (or mushroom gravy), sour cream, and applesauce on the side, is spectacular. Junior's has seen its Brooklyn neighborhood “come full circle,” Rosen says, from days when people would catch a concert at Paramount and then stop in for a bite, to the present, when he'll spy families pushing strollers down the street. As testament to its longevity, the staff can point to regulars who've been coming here all their lives.
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