Best Thanksgiving Restaurants in NYC.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite meals of the year. I’ve been lucky because someone else has always cooked for me; I suppose that’s one of the benefits of a small Manhattan apartment. These days I like to let restaurants do the work, which makes the day so relaxing for everyone involved and gives you time to enjoy the parade.
Tony DiNapoli (147 West 43rd Street & 1081 3rd Avenue) This is my favorite place for family style dining on Thanksgiving. For $35 per person you’ll get a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings and none of the stress. They are friendly, prompt and serve delicious food, that including dessert. I love the sweet potatoes and the apple pie. If you’re craving Italian food, you can order from the regular menu to round out your experience. They even give the kids crayons to keep them busy and quiet.
Carmine’s (200 West 44th Street & 2450 Broadway) For groups of eight or more, this is the perfect spot. The menu includes an 18-pound turkey, sides and a pie for $239.95, or $30 per person. They book up fast, so get your request in and save doing the dishes for another day. The meal includes five sides and sausage and sage stuffing. They give all their food that Italian kick of garlic and spices to make it special.
Bocca di Bacco (5 locations) Bocca offers a four-course dinner with homemade pumpkin pasta and turkey with apple sausage chestnut stuffing. Their homemade pastas are top notch; I’ve been known to order it for dessert. They don’t serve family style so you’ll have your own platter for $40 per person.
Family Friendly Restaurants in NYC.
As the Holidays approach, many families plan visits to the city. While there are restaurants on every corner, not all are truly family friendly. Nobody wants to gobble a meal while a meltdown is brewing. If you want to have a good time without worrying about your kids making too much noise, give these places a whirl.
Bierhaus (712 Third Avenue) Kids under 10 eat free on Sundays 12pm-9pm and families get 10% off the bill. Monday through Thursday groups of 8 or more get 10% off the bill. Brunch on Saturdays from 12pm-3pm and Sundays all day for $15.95, includes a 1/2 liter of beer or unlimited mimosas until 3pm. They usually have live music to add to the festivities. $4.99 kids menu daily.
Big Daddy’s (3 locations, UWS, UES & Flatiron) Big Daddy’s delivers awesome burgers, shakes and tater tots in an old 1950′s diner vibe. Appetizers are $6-$10 and burgers start at $12. Monday through Friday from 4pm-7pm beer, wine and specialty cocktails are half price. Thursdays beer is half price all day. $10 kids menu includes a drink and fries.
Ellen’s Stardust Diner (1650 Broadway) Kids and adults love the singing waitstaff at Ellen’s. It’s loud, friendly and entertaining. The staff is very talented and working their way to Broadway. Without notice you’ll be serenaded by the next Idina Menzel. Sandwiches and salads start at $15 and the kids menu is $10.50. Adult shakes with alcohol are $10.95 like Mudslide. Cookie plates and sundaes are $7. Scream away kids!
If you haven’t had enough of pumpkin mania, keep reading. After enjoying a delicious fall meal ( maybe a pumpkin pasta from my previous blog!), go for a pumpkin dessert. They won’t be around forever and are sure to satisfy.
Magnolia Bakery (5 locations) Magnolia is in full pumpkin mode. They have pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting, pumpkin brownie bars with a layer of chocolate and mini pumpkin cheesecakes with graham cracker crust. Don’t worry, they also serve pumpkin pies which are great for holiday dinners and pumpkin whoopie pies. Start your day with a cup of coffee and a pumpkin muffin. Yes, they have other flavors but try these seasonal desserts and become friends with the pumpkin. Cupcakes start at $3.50.
Doughnut Plant (2 locations) Doughnut Plant has upped the game for all doughnut makers. They combine traditional flavors with unconventional stuffings and toppings. They created the first square doughnut and filled creme brulee doughnut. It’s sinfully good. Stop by now for their pumpkin or apple cinnamon doughnuts or cakes. The Plant promotes a special flavor every day and they do sell out quickly. There is always a line but it’s worth the wait. The original recipe was hatched a hundred years ago. $3.25 never tasted so good.
Francois Payard (3 locations) For a limited time enjoy their pumpkin macarons. They are so light and flaky yet full of pumpkin flavor. Buy a dozen for the perfect hostess gift ($30). They are also offering a Jack O’Lantern cake ($39) made with pumpkin pound cake and pumpkin creme brulee. They have a full array of chocolates and truffles like milk chocolate with key line and praline truffles. This chocolate is top notch.
I find Halloween a reason to eat all the candy I want in one day. I guess I didn’t get enough as a kid. These days there are plenty of adult activities to keep everyone busy. Nothing will get you more in the mood than the annual Village Parade. When your finished marching down 6th Avenue, try some of these places for treats of all kinds.
Village Halloween Parade (On 6th Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street) On October 31st, dress up and join the fun of New York’s signature parade. If you want to participate you must be in costume and line up between 6:30pm-8:30pm on 6th Avenue at Canal Street. It’s a fun excuse to dress up and act like a kid and it’s free.
Webster Hall (125 East 11th Street) All 40,000 square feet will be transformed into “Webster Hell.” There will be acrobats, dancers, DJ’s and a $5,000 costume contest. This place attracts serious costumed creative people so don’t expect some fake blood will cut it. If you’re looking for the king of parties, this is the place. Tickets start at $40.
Blind Tiger Ale House (281 Bleecker Street) If you’re thirsty after all the parade festivities, Blind Tiger will quench your thirst. They offer twenty eight rotating craft beer taps and three cask ales. Monday through Friday from 11:30am to 8pm you can save $1 off all drafts, wine and prosecco. The menu offers something for everyone including gluten free selections. I like the blistered peppers ans the veal meatball sliders (3 for $10.50).
Thunder Jackson’s (169 Bleecker Street) Thunder is a good choice if you want the party to continue. They offer different food specials daily and from 11:30am-7pm take advantage of $3 beers. Definitely visit on Monday nights for$.30 wings. They have a standard pub menu with good fries and pigs in a blanket.
John’s Pizzeria (278 Bleecker Street) If you’re looking for a kid friendly place for dinner after the parade, go to John’s. The pizza is absolutely outstanding and the atmosphere is loud and festive. John’s has one of the few coal fired brick ovens left in the city. Large pies are $16.50. No slices.
Best Football Bars in NYC.
Many bar goers are gladly trading the idyll of summer for the beginning of football season. New York City is a passionate sports town with rabid followers of both the Giants and the Jets, and everywhere you look there are food and drink specials just begging you to take advantage. Be part of the electric energy and save some money at the same time. Here are some local gems for game day.
Rattle n Hum (14 East 33rd Street) They offer 40 beers on tap and $.50 wings on Sundays. You can score $5 “kick the keg” craft beers all day Sunday as well. If you visit Monday through Friday from 11am-7pm, you’ll score $5 select drafts, wine and well drinks. The long bar is always tended by knowledgeable bartenders who know the beers.
Croxley Ales (28 Avenue B) Every Sunday you’ll find $.20 wings and $.10 boneless wings. Each week they also promote $5 “beer of the week” specials and have forty beers on tap. Monday through Friday from 4pm-7pm all drinks are $1 off and on Fridays from 5pm-7pm there is a free buffet at the bar. Score!
Dalton’s (611 Ninth Avenue) Dalton’s has twenty 50” TVs and $4 beers and $5 shots 365 days a year. For football they have $.25 wings, $16 pitchers and $12 for two foot-long hot dogs with a beer. Located near Port Authority this is a good choice to meet friends coming in on Sundays. I like the sliders with fries for $12.95.
Village Pourhouse (982 Amsterdam Avenue) The Pourhouse is a good choice for larger groups. They have several rooms and a large bar area. On Sundays take advantage of $5 mimosas and Bloody Marys, $10 pitchers and $20 margarita pitchers. The Drunken Chili ($6) is amazing. On Monday nights go for the $16 unlimited wings and Bud Lights for two hours. They always add food and drinks specials during sporting events.
If you’ve had your fill of German beer and enormous pretzels, check out these pop-ups to complete your fall experience. We all need a change from the normal scene and pop-up fever has taken over Manhattan. They won’t last forever so try something different this weekend.
Talenti Gelato (Bryant Park, 41 West 40th Street) The Southern Pecan and Pumpkin flavors are like fall in a cup. The shop rotates about five flavors daily for $4. If you haven’t tasted Talenti, you are in for a treat. It is noticeably creamier than most. Hurry, they pack up October 10th. If a pint is the only way to satisfy your cravings, you can find it at Gristedes and D’agostino.
Friends Central Perk (199 Lafayette Street) Twenty years later the Friends frenzy is still alive. Until October 18th you can feel like Monica (my favorite), Rachel or Chandler. Complete with the orange couch enjoy Eight O’Clock coffee and a little bit of television history. They are planning contests, sing-alongs and giveaways. The best part…the coffee is free.
Hester Street Fair (Corner of Hester and Essex) The fair brings together a collection of NYC’s best food, vintage clothing and jewelry. The fair ends October 25th and is closed October 11th and 12th. You’ll find unique items not found at your average street fair and food trucks for great affordable grub. Try a pumpkin pie snocone from Handsome Dan’s.
Cat Footwear (Corner of Lexington Avenue & 47th Street) Cat Footwear has come a long way and this pop-up will prove they don’t just make work boots. In celebration their 25th anniversary, Cat is showcasing fashion boots and shoes for men and women. The shop is open October 21st through October 29th and will include hand painted shoes and pink work boots to support the charity Everyday People Initiating Change.
Craft & Claw (356 West 58th Street) Behind the front desk at The Hudson Hotel, lives a beautiful “outdoor” pop-up bar and restaurant. It only lasts until October 30th and creates an Oktoberfest vibe less the sausages. Instead you’ll find lobster and crab rolls and specialty cocktails. They have several pumpkin beers by the bottle ($9) and my favorite sandwich is the Fennel Orange Crab Roll ($20). You are paying for the atmosphere but it does deliver. Even in bad weather, the space is tented. It opens at 4pm daily.
Best Oktoberfest Bars in NYC.
After appearing on PIX11, I received many questions about where to go for Oktoberfest in New York City. Most bars are bringing in Oktoberfest and fall beers but if you want the German experience I would visit a few of these restaurants.
Bierhaus (712 Third Avenue) For lunch lovers, book a party of 8 or more and receive 10% off your bill Monday through Thursday. On Sundays kids under 10 eat free from 12pm-9pm. Until October 31st you can enjoy free live music and $5 pretzels. Visit on 10/4 for a bratwurst eating championship.
Zum Schneider Restaurant (107 Avenue C) Zum is sponsoring Oktoberfest tents with all the bells and whistles at 23rd Street and The East River for the first two weekends in October. General admission is $25 and will guarantee you a seat under the tents. You’ll enjoy traditional German food, beer and oompah bands. It is cash only.
Hallo Berlin (626 10th Avenue) For the month of October Hallo Berlin is offering $5 beers all day. At lunch time take advantage of the Oktoberfest special for $8. The menu is as authentic as it gets. Don’t leave without trying the potato pancakes and the giant pretzel. They take reservations for six or more people.
Lederhosen (39 Grove Street) Until 10/19 wear your lederhosen to Lederhosen and get a free 1/2 liter draft! Take advantage of the Wurst & Beer Special for $10 and from Tuesday through Friday all pints are $5 and well drinks are buy-one-get-one free. Visit after 10pm Tuesday through Friday for half off all appetizers. Come at 1pm on weekends (through 10/19) and enjoy a “tap a keg” special for $25/pp and drink until the well runs dry.