THERE was no doubt about it, Blondie was missing home.

The Sopranos was on heavy rotation at Tec Towers and Toots was reminiscing about the night I turned over Tony’s diner after a tip-off about a burnt pizza. Those cats had it coming.

I couldn’t whisk her off to her New Jersey homeland but hoped a trip to a brand new diner on Glasgow’s upper West Side might put the smile back on her kisser.

NYC Express had just opened on Great Western Road (I couldn’t figure out what it had replaced but would sniff that lead out) promising New York-style comfort food that’s quick, tasty and affordable.

The joint specialises in good old macaroni cheese, one of the Moll’s favourites so hopes were high it would lighten her mood.

We’d taken Toot’s eight-year-old niece Patti June off her parents’ hands for a week so I decided to drag the ankle-biter along and we buckled up in the Buick.

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Toppings for the mac 'n' cheese range from beef and pork through to veggie haggis or mozzarella, tomato and pesto and even a vegan chilli variety. There’s also a range of hot dogs, with a Value Dog on offer for just £2.

At these prices, I figured it wouldn’t be too long before I could take Toots back to the motherland.

Owners Bruce MacLeod, a former coffee shop owner, and Tom Lei said they also plan to expand the comfort food range to sourdough pizzas.

The kid opts for the Classic Mac and it’s swiftly delivered to our booth. It was packed full of cheese as the dish should be and garnished with a toasted herb crumble and she was as quiet as a mouse.

I was trying to shift a few pounds so opted for the Veggie Bomb, a healthier version of the traditional mac n cheese that came with cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, crispy onion and truffle oil. 

It was tasty enough but I really missed the high octane-cheesy hit of the kid’s Classic Mac. If you are going to have the dish as a treat, you may as well go for it, I figured.

Blondie was still on her vegan kick so she opted for the vegan chilli version and boy it was good. I’d go so far to say it was the winner out of the three and it didn’t even have real cheese in it.

The owners explain they make up a vegan alternative with sweet potatoes, carrots and soaked cashews all mashed up with olive oil, salt and pepper. It came with a few tortilla chips and the tub was scraped clean. 

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I’d promised the kid a milkshake after her main and hoped they would measure up to the kind we were used to back home.

I wasn’t disappointed and neither was she, declaring her Oreo Smash: “The best milkshake I’ve ever had.” There’s no powder involved in the drinks unlike some eateries and is packed full of ice-cream and full-fat milk.

The joint is offering free ice-cream to any diners who buy a main meal and there is also a School Meal Deal for £3 that includes a portion of Classic Mac, a slice of garlic bread and a soft drink.

After settling the very reasonable bill, we took to the kid to Kelvingrove Park to burn off some of that milkshake sugar and vowed to return to try out everything else on the menu.



Classic Mac - £4.50
Veggie Bomb - £5.50
Veggi Chilli Baby - £5.50


Oreo Smash - £3.50 
Still Water - £1.00
Diet Coke  -  £1.50

Total - £22.50 


Food - ⭐⭐⭐

Service - ⭐⭐⭐

Atmosphere - ⭐⭐⭐, 532 Great Western Road