This quartet from the buffet ($5.49 per pound) sported an unusual ornament. In the company of smothered chicken, curry goat, jerk chicken, and okra gumbo, a greenish-gold hot pepper suggested a kitchen not bound by soul-food convention. At the steam table, whole, single-serving fish (passed over by me, and not shown) reinforced that signal, as did an event flyer posted just inside the front door: The chef comes from the Ivory Coast. Hot pepper notwithstanding, curry goat was the best of the lot.
Two with onions and relish, part of a "recession special" (now inflated to $5.95) that included a medium-sized, convincingly papaya-colored drink. Ketchup and mustard are self-service, sauerkraut and onions are on the house, but chili or cheese incur a surcharge. So did relish; I managed to dig up another 10 cents per dog.
Disregard, for the time being, the name "deli," which nowadays has been adopted by proprietors of many persuasions. These two South Asian storefronts are unusual because of awnings that illustrate, if indirectly, a category of desired customers.
Doaba Deli and Little Gujrat Deli face each other across one of the northernmost blocks of southward-bound Columbus Ave., not far from a West Harlem commercial garage. Many taxis pass this way. The images of yellow cabs are implicit assurances of fast and familiar food; so is Doaba Deli's checkered trim, though that detail may lost on current cabbies. It's more likely that they'd take note of the business name, which employs a less common spelling of "dhaba."
Of course, to attract taxi drivers, the most convincing yellow cabs are actual cabs — here reflected in the window of Doaba Deli and stationed in front of Little Gujrat. Parked (and double-parked) taxis attract a certain class of pedestrian customers, too.
Taxi-driver pit stops Doaba Deli 945 Columbus Ave. (106th-107th Sts.), Manhattan 212-222-2636 Little Gujrat Deli 946 Columbus Ave. (106th-107th Sts.), Manhattan 212-866-2937
Like the short-lived original Teacher's, which was swallowed in the early 1980s by a Zabar's expansion one block to the south, Teacher's Too offered "international cuisine specially prepared to your order at moderate prices." By one account, in fact, the fare was "vaguely Oriental." Teacher's Too closed after a fire in 1996.
Teacher's Too Surviving signage, 2271 Broadway (West 81st-West 82nd Sts.), Manhattan
This limestone-clad structure, trimmed in glazed polychrome terra cotta, was built in 1930 for the self-serve restaurant chain. Horn & Hardart occupied the ground floor and mezzanine but rented out the top floor, originally to a "midget golf" course, then to a billiards hall. In the 1940s, a later billiards establishment added ping-pong tables, too.
Horn & Hardart did business here until 1953. Since then the building has been home to many tenants, most recently a Rite-Aid pharmacy at street level, law offices and a Latino arts center above. Renovations in 2014 exposed the tracery of the old Horn & Hardart signage (second photo) as well as that of a long-vanished supermarket, Food-O-Rama (third photo). The new ground-floor tenant is CityMD, an urgent-care facility; no word on any upstairs neighbors.
The designation report of the Landmarks Preservation Commission offers much more about the architecture and the tenants as well as many photos.
Horn & Hardart Automat-Cafeteria Building Surviving signage, 2710-2714 Broadway (at West 104th St.), Manhattan