Everyone knows New York City is known for its food. From pizza to bagels, to hot dogs, you don’t have to be involved in New York City’s nightlife to partake in its exciting cuisine. But with restaurants on the verge of shutting down or being forced to close down due to the pandemic, it’s important that we try to find ways to support the restaurants that we know and love. So with new spots finally coming to light, we want to ensure the safest way to do so, so that they stick around. But how do we do that with limited city space and restrictive guidelines? Here are some spots that are doing their best and are definitely worth checking out.
1. Oh K-Dog NYC at 159 Ludlow St
Located on the Lower East Side, K-Dog puts the perfect spin on New York City’s classic hot dog. Korean rice hot dogs are the perfect snack food covered in deep-fried dough with fun insides like potatoes, cheese, or even rice cakes instead of hot dogs. It’s really affordable, ranging from $3.99 to $5.99 per hot dog, and you have your choice of sauces from ketchup, honey mustard and Gotchu Hot Sauce, among many others.
My personal favorite has to be the avocado egg toast. This spot is a perfect snack stop for brunch, no matter what you’re in the mood for. And with the rise of popular Korean cuisine, it’s no surprise that the line is typically out the door. Just make sure to bring a mask and be prepared to have your temperature taken before you go in for take-out. Or better yet, order take-out online.
2. Dough: Handmade Artisanal Doughnuts at 14 West 19th Street, 5th Ave
After all the salty goddess from K-Dog, what you need now is something sweet! Dough is the perfect spot for that. Originating in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn in 2010, Dough makes all of their donuts homemade and fresh throughout the day. With seasonal donuts throughout the year, it’s the perfect time to check out their fun flavors such as cheesecake or margarita or one of their year-round flavors such as cafe au lait, which is inspired by coffee cake. I just can’t wait until their s’mores donut comes back for August and September.
With vegan options as well, Dough is the perfect place to indulge your sweet, savory and tangy needs all in one pastry-wrapped treat. Each donut is approximately $4.50, which is a little pricey but for the flavors they offer, it’s definitely an item that can be splurged on. They deliver and cater but if you’re just stopping by, you can visit one of their many locations including Brooklyn, Rockefeller Center and Times Square — if you go to their Flatiron location you can sit in Union Square Park a few blocks over to enjoy your snack.
3. Mikey Likes It Ice Cream at 199 Avenue A
Just in case you were wondering, you can never have too many desserts. Mikey’s is a Black-owned ice cream shop that specializes in artist-specific and pop culture-oriented flavors. Creations such as Ebony and Ivory (hot chocolate with vanilla ice cream mix) refer to the song by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder on racial harmony, and a milkshake named 2 Live Crew references the late ’80s rap group.
The inside is decorated with famous artists’ faces all the while throwback hip-hop music plays through the speakers. “I use the music in combination with our look to push the history and keep the culture alive,” quoted founded and owner Michael Cole to Rolling Stone in 2015, a year after he opened up shop. It’s a small and comfortable space to be with plenty of rich history mixed with equally rich and creamy goodness. They have vegan options too, and their prices are fairly low so make sure to stop by.
4. Mamasushi at 237 Dyckman St
This Japanese-Latino fusion restaurant is exactly the type of food we expect from the finest foodie spots in New York City. And Mamasushi takes the cake when it comes to sushi. The Inwood location has patio seating for your indoor dining regulation concerns and dim lighting that gives the restaurant a nightlife aesthetic. Though a little pricey, it’s the perfect spot to go out with a few friends for a nice meal where you can order more than just sushi. The dinner menu includes truffled lobster, udon and cheese, steak or the Kobe burger, which comes with Asiago cheese, bacon and batatica frita. Along with that, they have bento boxes and of course, a glorious sushi menu. Their merengue rolls were one of my favorites and their variety of sauces makes trying all of the different rolls that much more exciting.
5. Chicken’nCone at 1000 S 8th Ave
Advertised as “fork free,” this chicken and waffles spot is the perfect pit stop on the way home. Located in Turnstyle Underground Market, Chicken’nCone is an over-the-counter market shop that serves chicken in waffle cones with any sauce of your choosing. Prices range from $4-$12 depending on whether you get a meal, a cone or fries and the sauces include Yalla BBQ, Buffalo Blue and Kick’nRanch. Despite the small spot they have in New York City, they are a pretty popular franchise across the country so if you have any friends in Georgia or Florida, let them know to stop by. But since you’re close to Columbus Circle, maybe check out the Spyscape museum before you get there and have Chicken’nCone as your foodie treat before ending your day in the city.
Given the impact COVID-19 has had on all restaurants, it’s sad to see places like New York City — where tourism is a huge reason for why people come to visit — when restaurants begin to close down or struggle to stay open. Outdoor dining gives people hope for the future, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still do our best to support our favorite and new food spots. There are so many options for take-out, social distanced dining, or public spaces you can turn to that will provide a safe and comfortable place to eat. So pick up your food, go to a park, and have a picnic with a few close friends or family. Or better yet, order in and make an effort to try all the new foods that show up on the food apps. It might not be the same as walking around and discovering new food shops on your own, but despite the decrease in dining-in, we don’t have to lose out on the experience that is eating fun foods in New York City.