When you think of New York, food might not be the first thing that comes to mind—but maybe it should be. New Yorkers created New York-style pizza, cheesecake, and bagels. We made baked pretzels, eggs benedict, and Lobster Newberg. We created the doughnut, the Waldorf salad, and the black & white cookie, not to mention we were the first to slap bacon, egg, and cheese onto a roll. As a global melting pot of tastes, cultures, and cuisines, New Yorkers have tried it all, and we champion what comes out on top, which is why New Yorkers love to let each other know when they’ve discovered something delicious—especially when it’s worth trekking across boroughs to eat. Whether you’re in NYC for the weekend or forever, you will hear about the newest food craze or the best new restaurant, and you may want to know what you’re getting into. We rounded up some tips to make the food craze experience a hassle-free, tasty one, but first, we’re taking a look at a few of New York’s most wanted items…
Foods to Try
Pronounced “dough,” do is edible raw cookie dough served by the pint. You can find it at Do Cookie Confections, which has 20 flavors of doughs, including s’mores, cake batter, chocolate dream, and, of course, chocolate chip. They’re not selfish about the recipe, even offering classes on how to make food-safe cookie dough. This possibly explains why you can also find it speckled throughout many a NYC restaurant menu.
New Yorkers are famously picky eaters, but with no food are we pickier than with our pizza. Food & Wine Magazine, the New York Post, Eater, and Grub Street have all gone wild over Di Fara’s Pizza. Dubbed “the best of the best” by the late Anthony Bourdain, owner Dominque Demarco has been making pizza in Midwood since 1965. He’s 81 and still behind the counter making every single delicious piece.
This croissant donut first appeared in NYC in 2013, and has since made its rounds throughout Asia and Europe. Creamy on the inside, flaky on the outside, you can easily try this food craze for yourself at The Donut Pub in Manhattan. If you want to go straight to the source (always recommended), head to Spring Street’s Dominique Ansel Bakery, where pastry chef Dominique invented the recipe after 10 failed attempts. He now whips up a different flavored cronut every month.
Best Day of the Week
When to go depends on the type of food and if it’s sit-down or grab and go, but here are some general rules of thumb. The shortest wait times for dinner in New York are Mondays through Wednesdays. Breakfast is a different story. As New Yorkers often pick up breakfast on the way to work every day, your best bet for mornings will actually be before noon on the weekends. Beware of Restaurant Week (January 21 – February 8, 2019), which may find you begging for food since restaurants are booked solid weeks in advance. If you’re a stickler for freshness (or you’re dining on seafood), Tuesdays are when most restaurants receive their food deliveries… so Mondays might be best avoided.
Best Time of Day
New Yorkers eat late—think European late—so restaurants are more likely to face the evening rush from 7:30pm – 12am and the lunch rush from 1:30pm – 4pm. So if you’re looking for an anytime food, your quickest wait time will be if you show up from 10am-1pm. If you’re hungry for dinner and don’t want to wait, try to show up at or before 6pm. Way too early? Call and make a reservation, or order your meal for pick-up and eat outside in one of New York’s famous parks.
If you don’t mind standing in line on a rainy or cold day, you may find a slightly shorter wait time when the weather is less than ideal. Even if you try to plan the perfect time to go, there’s a good chance some type of wait will still be involved. It’s never a bad idea to bring some reading material or make sure you have a podcast downloaded. Good luck!