If you were asked to name a reason why New York City is so popular, what would you say? Times Square? The buzzing night nightlife? Daily celebrity sightings? The Big Apple is famous for so many reasons that it would be hard to name them all. However, one of the most significant benefits of visiting New York City is its diversity. Given the mix of cultures that coexist in New York City, it’s only fitting that our, “Top New York City Comfort Foods”, series features a wide variety of food. We’ve already covered iconic NYC comfort food like pizza and bagels, as well as authentic American chow, so it’s time for something different. In part three of the Best NYC Comfort Food series, we’ll learn more about the variety of sweet and savory foods that can be found in the city. Some of the most popular savory foods in the Big Apple include creamy mac ‘n cheese and rich dumplings. While these dishes are delicious on their own, they’re even better when topped off by a scrumptious half-moon cookie. You may be familiar with these foods, but if you’ve never had them from one of these restaurants, then you’re missing out.
Top Half Moon / Black and White NYC Cookies
Half moon cookies and black and white cookies are similar in appearance but different in design. While both of these iconic cookies originated in New York City and appear as cookies with half black and half white icing, they are not as identical as some would believe. Black and white cookies are made of shortbread and fondant icing, while half moon cookies are made of cake and icing. However, many restaurants use these names interchangeably. Although the exact origins of these cookies are unclear, rumor has it that Glaser’s Bake Shop was the first to create black and white cookies and Hemstrought’s Bakery created half moon cookies. Wherever these cookies came from, they have since taken over New York City. The cookies can now be found in nearly every bakery. But which bakeries have the best half moon cookies?
Glaser’s Bake Shop – 1670 1st Ave (Closed as of Jul 1 2018).
If you have a sweet tooth, then just wait until you hear about Glaser’s Bake Shop. Glaser’s is a German bakery on the Upper East Side that has been open since 1902. This quaint family-owned bakery makes every sweet treat under the sun, but is well-known for their famous black and white cookies. Customers from all over New York City visit Glaser’s just to try one of these delicious cookies- and it’s worth the journey! Some of the best NYC comfort food can be found in classic hole-in-the-wall bakeries!
Orwashers – 308 East 78th Street
The original Orwashers Bakery is situated in the Upper East Side and has been open since 1916. What started out as an artisanal bread shop has long since turned into a full-fledged bakery, offering treats like jelly donuts, croissants and the iconic black and white cookies. These rich and decadent cookies are too good to ever just eat one! If you fancy a stroll in the nice summer weather, why not visit Orwashers? The good news is that if you’re visiting the Big Apple on official tourist business, Orwashers Bakery is only a short walk from iconic tourist destinations like Madame Tussaud’s and the Ripley’s Museum.
The Donut Pub – 203 W 14th St.
The Donut Pub is the first restaurant on the list of top NYC comfort food spots to be located in Chelsea. The Chelsea neighborhood of New York City is filled with delicious food, beautiful sights, and fantastic opportunities- but it’s often overlooked. Built in the 1960’s, The Donut Pub is the only 24-hour donut shop in the area. There’s no time that isn’t right for a donut! What better way to end a luxurious Broadway show than with a warm, fluffy donut? The Donut Pub offers a wide range of donut flavors and types including maple bacon and mint chocolate chip.
Junior’s – 386 Flatbush Ave
Junior’s is located in the heart of downtown Brooklyn and has been for over 60 years. While it is known throughout the Big Apple as the location of the best New York cheesecake, it sells several other sweet delicacies. When you walk into Junior’s, you’ll instantly be transported back in time to the days when quaint, eclectic diners were the norm and dessert was a staple. Junior’s is now a chain, with restaurants located throughout the city. While it may have become famous for its cheesecake, many New Yorkers stop in nowadays just to grab a classic black and white cookie. Don’t miss out!
Top New York City Mac ‘n Cheese
No matter what state you’re from mac ‘n cheese is a timeless comfort food staple. Whether you like it creamy, extra cheesy, crunchy or out of a box, mac n’ cheese is a universally loved dish. When it comes to the best NYC comfort foods, we would be remiss if we didn’t include the NYC top mac ‘n cheese locations.
Murray’s Cheese Bar – 264 Bleecker St.
Located on the popular Bleecker Street in New York City, Murray’s Cheese Bar is a dream come true for all cheese-lovers. While Murray’s Cheese had been selling out of a Bleecker Street store in New York City for nearly 80 years, it wasn’t until 2012 that Murray’s Cheese Bar opened. This restaurant opened with the sole purpose of providing loyal Murray’s Cheese customers with an intimate spot to enjoy the cheese. However, the restaurant has since grown into a popular NYC dinner spot with a full menu. One of the most popular item on the menu is Murray’s Classic Mac N’ Cheese, made up of a four cheese blend. If you’re in need of some cheesy, carb-filled comfort food, Murray’s Cheese Bar should be your go-to spot.
Cafeteria – 119 7th Ave
The name of this swanky traditional American restaurant in Chelsea gives visitors a pretty good idea of what to expect. While the restaurant is much classier than a school cafeteria, the tables are set up in a similar way and the food served is hands-down the most filling comfort food you’ll ever eat. This trendy restaurant is located smack-dab in the middle of hip Chelsea, which means it attracts quite the variety of customers. If you’re a dairy fan, we strongly recommend you try the Mac Attack, which is three small portions of mac n’ cheese in different cheese sauces.
S’mac – 345 East 12th St.
S’Mac, an abbreviation for Sarita’s Macaroni and Cheese, has been going strong in the East Village for just over 12 years. It is a trendy eatery that puts a modern spin on the classic mac n’ cheese dish. Each mac n ’cheese dish at S’mac is inspired by a different dish or region of the world. Their menu features everything from cheeseburger mac to La Mancha. If you like your mac n’ cheese dishes to be cheesy, but unique, then you’ll love S’Mac’s menu.
Blue Smoke – 116 E 27th St.
Blue Smoke is a famous barbecue joint known for its Southern cooking. Menu items like A White Wings, and Cornbread Madeleines draw inspiration from the chef’s native Louisiana. While Blue Smoke may seem like it’s better known for its ribs and chicken wings, many customers come just for their decadent mac n’ cheese. Sold as a side, this creamy and delicious mac n’ cheese could be an entree all by itself!
Top Dumplings Places In New York City
Dumplings are a hit in New York City. They can be found in nearly every neighborhood and each dumpling restaurant attracts its own loyal crowd. And can you blame them? There’s nothing better than a hot plate of savory dumplings after riding around the big apple all day or after a long night out. On a comprehensive list of the best New York City comfort food, dumplings just had to be included. Here are some of the best dumpling restaurants in the city that will help you understand why:
Dumpling Man – 100 St Marks Pl.
This tiny Chinese dumpling shop is located in the heart of the East Village. The dumpling man specializes in Northern Asian style dumplings, which have been around since 1400. They look very different from Western dumplings but are absolutely delicious in their own right. The fillings for these dumplings are beaten with herbal juices to infuse extra flavor and moisture, which is one of the reasons they explode with flavor in your mouth! Loyal Dumpling Man customers trek from all areas of the city to enjoy these mouth-watering dumplings- and you should too!
Lan Zhou Handmade Noodle and Dumpling Inc – 40 Bowery St.
This beloved noodle and dumpling shop used to operate on Broadway under the name Lam Zhou, but has since appropriately relocated to Chinatown. Lam Zhou is known for its delicious hand-pulled noodles and, of course, its famous fried pork and chive dumplings. New York residents have long raved that Lam Zhou makes the best pork dumplings in the city! Their new location in Chinatown is bigger and better than ever; why not find out for yourself?
Dumpling Galaxy – 42-35 Main Street
Dumpling Galaxy is a recently opened dumpling shop in Queens, New York. The Chinese name of the groundbreaking dumpling shop translates to “100 Kinds of Dumpling Garden” because it features 100 different kinds of dumplings. Dumpling Galaxy makes traditional dumpling flavors, as well as unique and unexpecting fillings like lamp and shrimp dumplings. All of the dumplings here are made with fresh ingredients and are light and savory in your mouth. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind dumpling experience, you shouldn’t pass up a visit to Dumpling Galaxy.
Who doesn’t love a balanced mix of sweet and savory? Whether you like to indulge in rich delicacies or sweet treats, there is a food category in this list of top New York City comfort foods for everyone. From enjoying a cheesy bowl of mac from S’mac to savoring a chewy black and white cookie from The Donut Pub, visitors and locals alike should explore these jaw-dropping restaurants. The restaurants listed in the Top NYC Comfort Foods series are the best in the entire city- if not the world!