Finally took the time to locate the venerable Chumley's yesterday afternoon. For those who don't know its exact location, it is at 86 Bedford St. (very near the intersection of Bedford and Barrow St.s). There is no sign, just an open door.
I had a particularly enjoyable experience in terms of both the ambiance and the food. The walls are covered in pictures and paper covers of books written by previous (current?) patrons. The juke box plays opera, big band, classical, and songs from the WWII era. I'm in my late 30's so there really isn't a personal nostalgia factor, but what a refreshing difference! The wait staff was friendly, and allowed patrons to take their time.
On to the food...I ordered the Chumley's cheeseburger which comes on a toasted english muffin. I asked for the burger to be cooked medium-rare and onion rings rather than french fries as the side. The burger was simply superlative! I've eaten cheeseburgers, so far, at Corner Bistro, Molly's, Burger Joint, Burger Heaven, and Tracks (inside Penn Station) among others, and the Chumley's burger is clearly superior. It was very large with a nice char to the outside and the inside was exactly the medium-rare I had requested. It came with lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, and with a pickle on the side. Highly, highly recommended. The onion rings were a nice accompaniment.
People eating a few tables away appeared to have ordered the burger and fish and chips, and made comments about how much they were enjoying their choices as well.
For beer lovers, it seems they have draft beers that are idiosyncratic. Out of the list of about 12 or so, the only name-branded option was Bud Light. I opted for the Labrador Lager, and it was quite good.
On the weekend, you can choose from an abbreviated brunch listing that includes more traditional items such as egg and meat combinations, omelettes, pancakes, french toast, etc. as well as fish and chips, shepard's pie, and the burger. You can get any of these including one drink for a flat rate of $13. A great deal in my opinion.
Afterwards, I headed up Barrow St. and across 7th Ave. to Cones. It has always been a favorite of mine. I had my usual cantaloupe and mango in a cup. The mango was as good as ever, but the cantaloupe was a bit "weak". It may be too early in the season for more flavorful cantaloupes. I'll definitely give them another shot.