Are you a foodie? Do you love trying new restaurants? If so, this article series is for you. The “Top New York City Comfort Foods”, series exists to share some of the best restaurants with both New York City locals and visitors. If you’ve visited the Big Apple- or have ever watched an NYC-based television show- then you’re familiar with the hype surrounding food in this wonderful city. While foods like NYC pizza and bagels are labeled as iconic New York City foods, there are so many different types of foods in this city that visitors and locals alike should try. In this second part of the series, we’ll be focusing on authentic American chow. We’ll take a look at some of the juiciest burger joints and most iconic diners in the big apple. If you’re a fan of meat or traditional American comfort food, then you’ll want to read on.
Top NYC Burger Places
Who doesn’t love a thick, juicy burger? The burger has been an American comfort food for decades now- and for good reason. They’re absolutely delicious! Unfortunately, not every burger is the same. If you mostly eat burgers from fast food restaurants, you’re doing yourself a disservice. NYC’s top burgers are found at authentic American restaurants and diners throughout the city. If you’re in the big apple, here are a few places you should try:
J.G. Melon – 1291 3rd Ave
J.G. Melon was established in 1972 and is situated in the middle of the Upper East Side in Manhattan. This cozy, eclectically decorated pub offers a family-friendly atmosphere and some of the best burgers you’ve ever tasted. The restaurant was founded by friends Jack O’Neill and George Mourges- the “J” and “G” in the iconic restaurant’s name. While J.G. Melon attracts a bevy of loyal customers, it has also been featured in several blockbuster films, namely Kramer vs. Kramer with actors with Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman.
Schatzie – 2655 Broadway
Schatzie is a veteran butcher shop in the Upper West Side, known for its organic meats and homemade sandwiches. Founded in 1911, it is one of the only butcher shops in the city that has an attached restaurant which serves up affordable eats. Their burgers are the reason why many people visit their restaurant. Unlike other establishments, the burgers at Schatzie are always made with fresh meat. Before hitting an elegant Broadway show, why not indulge in some of the best NYC comfort food around?
Balthazar – 80 Spring St.
Unlike most of the locations for NYC top burgers, Balthazar is not an American restaurant. Instead, they focus on French cuisine. This well-known French brasserie is located in the Soho neighborhood and has been open for just over 20 years. Despite not being around in the New York restaurant scene for too long, it has become incredibly popular and serves up to 1500 guests per day on average. While some of its most popular dishes are steak frites, duck confit and French onion soup, its Balthazar Burger is absolutely scrumptious.
Whitman’s – 406 East 9th St.
Whitman’s deserves one of the top spots on the list of best NYC comfort food. Whitman’s is a Manhattan burger bar chain with locations in the East Village, Hudson Yards, and Soho. The founders of Whitman’s were friends and New York City natives whose collective vision was to bring comfort food to their neighborhood with locally-sourced ingredients. While the burger chain has only been in operation since 2010, they have amassed quite a cult following. Their signature burgers include The Hound, the PB&B, and their iconic Juicy Lucy. The Juice Lucy features two beef short rib patties held together with a layer of pimento cheese and topped with caramelized onions and spicy pickles.
Fanelli’s Cafe – 94 Prince St.
Fanelli Cafe is a classic old Soho pub with roots dating back to the late 19th century. While the name Fanelli Cafe was created in 1922, the location of Fanelli’s Cafe is regarded as the second oldest food and drink establishment in New York City. Fanelli Cafe has possibly the richest history of any restaurant in the city. It has been a grocery store, a saloon, a speakeasy during Prohibition, and finally the cafe that it is today. It attracts a wide variety of customers, which were predominantly artists in the mid to late 20th century. Celebrities like Rocky Graziano and Bob Dylan have frequented Fanelli Cafe- and all for its world-famous burgers. Their beef and bison burgers are any meat lover’s dream!
Top Iconic NYC Diners and Luncheonettes
There’s nothing more quintessentially American than sitting in a diner booth, enjoying some comfort food. While most of the original American diners died out years ago, a few of the iconic restaurants and social hubs are still standing in New York City. If you’re on the hunt for the best NYC comfort food, you’ll surely find some behind the doors of these classic diners. Whether you’re craving a burger, stew or All-American breakfast, these NYC diners have you covered.
Pearl Diner – 212 Pearl St.
Pearl Diner, which opened in 1960’s, is one of the last remaining stand-alone diners in the entire city. Even as the financial district grew and buildings began to get taller and more corporate in nature, Pearl Diner refused to budge. This diner is filled with classic diner decor like neon signs and metal barstools. Open 7 days a week, Pearl Diner is famous for its breakfasts and hand-crafted burgers. Their menu boasts dozens of unique and delicious burgers to choose from. It’s a must-visit location in Manhattan!
B&H Dairy – 127 Second Ave.
Vegetarians across the city squeal in delight at the mere mention of B&H Dairy. The Jewish and Eastern-European restaurant is known for ranking among the best NYC comfort food spots. This shoebox-sized location serves up a bevy of vegetarian cuisine- including a hearty vegetarian burger. Before meat lovers scoff at the idea of a meat-free burger, they should give the dish at B&H dairy a try. This tasty dish has captured the hearts of vegans and carnivores alike.
Tom’s Restaurant – 2880 Broadway
Tom’s Restaurant is truly a classic American diner that may be as well-known as the famous street it’s located on. This Greek-American Diner was featured in the popular sitcoms Seinfeld- but that’s not the only special thing about it! Tom’s is known for its home-cooked and made to order cuisine, including its unique menu items like the pizza burger and roast Virginia ham. If you want to sit in an iconic diner and munch on some amazing food, this is your spot!
While American food can be found throughout the country, there’s no American chow quite like that found in the Big Apple. Some of the best NYC comfort food includes burgers and traditional diner foods. Many burger and diner joints in the city put their own unique spin on traditional All-American comfort food, which makes the dining experience that more enjoyable. The next time you’re in the Big Apple, make sure to stop at places like Whitman’s and Tom’s Restaurant. These iconic New York City restaurants will completely change your perspective on American comfort food.