Category Archives: NYC Restaurants
Non-Meat Eaters, Meet Shake Shack’s New Veggie Burger

When it comes to veggie meals, non-meat eaters expect legitimate grub. In other words, they’re looking for the real deal, and it appears that Shake Shack has nailed it with their brand new “Veggie Shack” burger.

Fans in New York City got to taste the veggie debut at select Shake Shacks located in Midtown East, the Upper East Side and Astor Place on Thursday, according to an item in GrubStreet.

The burgers look absolutely yummy and taste wicked good, say those who took a big bite. The Veggie Shack burger features a potato roll that holds the delicious goods inside like the vegan patty created with roasted beets for that medium rare appearance and blended with black beans and brown rice. The faux-beef burger comes dressed up with a tangy vegan mustard mayo and includes pickles, onions, lettuce and provolone cheese. The non-beef burger sells for $7.29 in NYC.

YouTube says that the Veggie Shack can also soon be ordered in a lettuce wrap or gluten-free bun for those who desire a different kind of burger and true vegan experience minus the cheese.

According to the Shake Shack kitchen, it took food experts approximately eight months to design the meatless burger and come up with the ideal blending of vegetables and legumes. The burger restaurant chain believes they’ve constructed the perfect veggie burger.

Some fans say the meatless version is pretty good because it’s not mushy or dry, and Shake Shack even added an interesting textural grain coating to mimic the effects of a typical char-grilled meat-filled burger one can find on the restaurant’s already famous menu.

There’s good crunch with the onions and pickles also, so it’s a delightful new, healthy option.

Where’s the beef?

Who’s asking?

Shake Shack in Manhattan Tests Vegetarian Burger

One of the most prominent fast-food restaurant chains in the United States chose New York City as the testing ground for a new vegetarian hamburger patty, and the taste tests reported thus far are not very encouraging.

In recent years, Shake Shack has emerged as a worthy competitor to major fast-food empires such as McDonald’s and Burger King; the company already had a vegetarian burger option on the menu, but it mostly consisted of a large portobello mushroom dipped in a creamy cheese sauce, a recipe that does not quite evoke a burger patty. On April 20, Shake Shack started serving a new veggie patty made with black beans, beets and brown rice; the texture and consistency of this new recipe is supposed to evoke the experience of a traditional burger patty, but at least one review by a food journalist from the gastronomy website Eater suggests that Shake Shack is not quite hitting the mark.

Ryan Sutton described the Shake Shack vegetarian patty as an overly crunchy eating experience that dissolves into a mushy feeling with an offbeat taste. Mr. Sutton’s summary is that the portobello burger offered by Shake Shack is a better option for diners who do not want a beef patty. This meatless burger is served on Shake Shack’s popular hamburger buns that are made with potato starch; the toppings are generous and include provolone cheese, tomato, lettuce, onions, and pickles.

Shake Shack faces competition in the New York market from White Castle, a legendary chain that has been trying to improve its menu with the “Impossible” burger, which is made with a vegetarian patty that is surprisingly tasty even though it does not evoke the texture or flavor of a regular slider.

The New York Shake Shack locations currently serving the new veggie patty are: Upper East Side, Midtown and Astor Place.

Unfortunate Restaurant Closings Across New York City

April 2018 has been a difficult month for restaurant lovers in New York City. Specialty, ethnic and trendy eateries are closing their doors all around the city; in some cases, the owners intend to open elsewhere, however, quite a few do not have immediate plans and may not seek new ventures in the restaurant industry. The following is a rundown of the pubs, bistros, cafés, and restaurants closing this month across the boroughs:

McAleer’s Irish Pub

Located in the Upper West Side, McAleer’s has been pouring pints and servings shots of fine whiskey for more than six decades; alas, its closure was announced on Facebook earlier this week. According to a report posted by Eater NYC, the McAleer cousins from Northern Ireland started the pub in 1953; it started off as a hole-in-the-wall bar and progressed to an authentic Irish pub serving traditional snacks such as fish and chips as well as bangers. McAleer’s was once featured on the television series “NYPD Blue.”


This trendy East Williamsburg eatery closed down without notice in mid-April. The owners did not give much notice, although the Williamsburg restaurant market has become extremely competitive in recent years.

El Quijote

One of the best Spanish restaurants in the city is closing due to the transformation of the historic Chelsea Hotel, but it is expected to reopen later this year.


Located in Tribeca, this Puerto Rican restaurant is used to getting favorable reviews; however, the high cost of rent in this district may have played a part in the owner’s decision to close down. Sazón is expected to pop up at a different location in the future, but there are no estimates as to when this may happen.

La Carbonara

The future of this West Village restaurant is uncertain; what is known, however, is that the landlord has taken possession. Although the owners have said that the situation is temporary, frequent diners believe that permanent closure is imminent.

New York City’s Hottest Restaurants

It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the hottest restaurants in New York City. It will tell you about the latest food trends regardless of whether you plan on visiting the Big Apple or not.

There are quite a few restaurants that food critics are currently talking about.

Grain House
Located at 929 Amsterdam Ave., this restaurant goes above and beyond a standard Chinese restaurant. Located on the upper West side, there are dishes that include burning noodles and pork in garlic sauce.

Legacy Records
Located at 517 W. 38th St., the Mediterranean restaurant hosts a café during the day while the evening menu includes crudo, pasta, and duck by Chef Ryan Hardy.

Located in the Flatiron District at 44 W. 29th St., the restaurant is identified as new American but has influences from around the globe. Executive Chef Greg Proechel creates a number of enticing dishes that includes squid with fennel, charred broccoli, and duck breast with charred eggplant jam.

Located in Chelsea market at 435 W. 15th St., this restaurant includes lobster rolls, reubens, and cheeseburgers, all served inside of pitas. The restaurant is the brainchild of Eyal Shani, a star chef from Israel.

Plenty of new restaurants are popping up, showing New Yorkers that there are more flavors to life than cheeseburgers and Italian food. Even the Freehand Hotel in Gramercy Park is getting a food renovation thanks to two new restaurants from restaurateur, Gabriel Stulman.

If your travel plans have you visiting New York City, you can pop into any of these restaurants, assuming you have reservations. Of course, you can always wait for the trends to slowly reach wherever it is that you live.

Restaurant Closings in NYCs Classic Neighborhoods

Running a restaurant is a tricky feat, especially in a waning economy. With the advent of the internet and accompanying services such as UberEats, the competition has never been more fierce. New York City is lined with restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, and any other consumer good or service you can imagine. It takes a certain special something to stay ahead among the rest.

A number of coffeeshops and cafes throughout Manhattan have announced their closings. Some are shutting down the whole operation, such as Paradiso in the East Village blaring a sign that everything in the building is for sale. Others, like Tekoa in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood, are transforming their brand. In Tekoa’s case, they’re staying in the food service business in the same building and going from selling coffee to fish.

The science of a successful restaurant is in no way exact. No one knows the right move to make in every single situation, even when they’ve been in business for 20 years. Markt in Chelsea is a perfect example, closing its doors after 20 years in business. Hopefully Tekoa’s will fare as well. If they have to close after 20 years that’s an admirable stint in the restaurant world. Or, maybe they’ll be lucky enough to shut down after 26 long years of business like Three of Cups.

I, personally, consider even 9 or 10 years to be impressive. In my mind, Paradiso actually had a good run for 9 solid years in the coffee business. Live Bait, an eccentric restaurant with seafood fare, is closing after a whopping 31 years and being replaced by – you guessed it – coffee shop!

New Pizzeria Opens in Long Island City

Beebe’s is now open for business in Long Island City’s Boro Hotel. With its mouthwatering thin-crust Neopolitan-style pizzas, the restaurant is a collaboration between pizza maestro Louis Tomczak and chef George Mandakas. While Tomczak preps the pies, Mandakas prepares the rest of the Italian-inspired menu.

Louis Tomczak is a longtime staple of Brooklyn pizzerias. He began his career making pizzas at a Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn, later moving on to Pizza Loves Emily on Fulton Street. In 2016, he partnered with Emily Hyland and her husband Matt to open popular Detroit-style pizzeria Emmy Sqaured on Grand Street. The eatery quickly became famous for its mozzarella-drenched square pizzas.

In April 2017, Tomczak and several other investors in Emmy Squared sued the Hylands, claiming that they withheld company profits and opened new branches without consultation. The lawsuit also alleged that the couple used company funds for personal expenses like vacations. After an undisclosed settlement with his former Emmy Squared partners, Tomczak moved on to Beebe’s.

Tomczak decided to debut his new concept at the Boro Hotel, venturing outside of his comfort zone to Queens. With Boro Hotel executive chef George Mandakas taking care of the non-pizza portion of the menu, Tomczak debuted his Neapolitan-influenced pizzas at the end of March.

The new eatery seats around 100 patrons and is also open for breakfast. The pizza menu consists of thin crust pizzas, including a vodka-sauce pizza and a meaty Hot Italian sausage pie. As different vegetables come in season, the restaurant will also add a pesto pizza and a squash pizza to its menu.

Beebe’s menu also boasts traditional pasta dishes like basil-infused spaghetti and rigatoni with pecorino and Parmesan cheese. Appetizers include rosemary-flavored fries and homemade ricotta. Patrons looking for tasty dishes for breakfast can enjoy smoked salmon on toast and warm farro cereal flavored with rosemary honey.

Oaxacan Eatery Receives Two Stars

On Tuesday, New York Times food critic Pete Wells gave Oaxacan restaurant Claro a two-star review. A collaboration between Freek’s Mill owners J.T. Stewart and Chad Shaner and chef T.J. Steele, the Mexican restaurant has turned heads with its tasty moles and goat cheese memelas. Eater also gave Claro a nod in January, giving it three stars for its wood-fired, smoke-infused cuisine.


Claro, located on Third Avenue in Gowanus, Brooklyn, first debuted its tasty take on Oaxacan cuisine in August 2017. Featuring artwork by Oaxacan painter Francisco Toledo, the restaurant is situated in the former space for The Pines, a New American eatery that focused mainly on pasta. For its latest incarnation, the space has been transformed into a Mexican wonderland complete with homemade pottery crafted by Francisco Martínez Alarazón.


The kitchen is helmed by Chef T.J. Steele, who fell in love with Oaxacan cuisine after moving to Oaxaca City in 2002. Adorned with tattoos celebrating tacos and the god of maize, Steele runs the restaurant’s outdoor wood-fired oven, as well as the more conventional gas oven indoors. Under Steele’s guidance, the kitchen churns out complex moles, rich sauces that are traditionally believed to have originated in Oaxaca. All the corn used in Claro’s dishes is from Criollo, Oaxaca and is stoneground in-house by restaurant staff.


Despite the layers of tradition that run through Claro’s cuisine, the menu also includes some modern twists like kale salads and dishes flavored with Jerusalem artichokes. The restaurant offers a wide selection of tortillas and tostadas with tasty plates of lobster chile relleno and goat meat tacos. Traditional offerings like chochoyotes, a type of corn dumpling, are updated with kale and chicken consomé. The restaurant bar sports a collection of cocktails, mezcal and beer, including the ubiquitous aqua fresca, a fruity blended drink popular in Mexico.

Middle Eastern Eatery Opens in the West Village

The West Village is now home to Bleecker Street Luncheonette, a new gluten-free restaurant. Located at 270 Bleecker Street, the café is the brainchild of chef Joseph Pace, the former owner and chef of popular Italian eatery Risoterria, which closed in 2016. Pace has returned to the site of his old business to try again with a Middle Eastern-themed venture. However, his love for gluten-free offerings has not diminished.


Pace began his love affair with delicious food at the University of Arizona where he studied agronomy and meat science. He went on to serve as the executive chef at the French-style restaurant Petrossian in Midtown Manhattan. After three years at Petrossian, Pace left to start his own establishment in 2000.


With Risoterria, Pace anticipated the gluten-free craze. Initially, the restaurant attracted patrons suffering from celiac disease. Unable to enjoy conventional bread and pizza, diners flocked to Risoterria in droves to enjoy delicious meals made without wheat and oats. The restaurant even offered gluten-free beer. Eventually, guests without gluten sensitivity came to Risoterria to enjoy healthy dishes like saffron risotto and mushroom panini.


In 2015, Pace opened a new branch of Risoterria on Amsterdam Avenue in the Upper West Side. Unlike its predecessor, the new location was not a success and closed after only six months. Due to the skyrocketing cost of rent in Greenwich Village, Pace was finally forced to shutter the original Risoterria in 2016.


Pace has emerged from retirement to try again in the same space, persuading his old landlord to rent him 270 Bleecker Street for a new concept. He launched Bleecker Street Luncheonette in late March. The name is an homage to the Bleecker Luncheonette, a long-defunct establishment once famed for its green minestrone and eccentric Italian owners who refused to print menus. The Bleecker Street Luncheonette’s menu includes grilled lamb sandwiches and Lebanese-style kofta. True to form, the eatery also offers gluten-free pita and biscuits.

The Exciting History of Pizza in NYC Being Reimagined

While New York has always had a great reputation for serving good pizza by the piece, many people may not realize how much of the city’s history is tied to this little piece of pie.

America’s First Pizzeria in NYC

The Pizza Hall of Fame says that Lombardi’s in Manhattan was the first pizzeria in America. The first pizzas was served to local workers as a lunchtime treat in 1897. In order to make these pizzas easy for workers to grab and take with them, they were wrapped up in paper and tied with string.

Coal-fired Ovens for Pizza

When people from Naples, Italy, started arriving in the city, they brought their love for wood-fired pizzas with them. They discovered, however, that wood in New York City was much more expensive, so they soon changed to baking pizzas in coal-fired ovens.

Introduction of Deck Ovens for Pizza

New York-style pizza continued to be baked in coal-fired ovens until the 1940s when the first deck ovens were introduced. While there are still several establishments in the city that use these deck ovens, a more recent trend has been to return to using wood-fired ovens.

Five New Pizzerias Coming to NYC

If you love pizza, then there are several new spots around New York City that you will want to check out. Una Pizza Napoletana is set to reopen in Manhattan serving Neapolitan-style pizzas. Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria is also set to open in Manhattan after delighting diners on Staten Island for several years. Matt and Emily Hyland are set to open two new pizzerias in the East Village. Finally, Beebe’s is poised to open in Long Island City.

Chef Lou Tomczak Opens New Restaurant in NYC

New York City is getting a new pizza destination. Beebe’s, a popular restaurant in Long Island, opened a few weeks ago and are serving pizzas designed by famed chef Lou Tomczak. Situated inside the Boro Hotel in Long Island City, Beebe’s offers traditional New York thin crust pizza, layered with delicious toppings such as prosciutto and sweet fennel sausage.


Fired in a classic brick oven, each crust is made from scratch, then fired up briefly in a gas oven set to 700 degrees. This gives the thin crust the strength to support the toppings without tearing, and the pie finishes baking in a wood fired oven.


Like many upscale pizza restaurants, Beebe’s offers more than just pizza, serving a variety of pastas and other Italian-inspired fare. But the restaurant isn’t all Italian, either. Chef George Mandakas contributes a variety of inspired takes on classic ideas, such as avocado toast for breakfast. Beebe’s is an all-day restaurant and serves a full menu, so you’re not limited to a pasta lunch or pizza dinner.


As you might expect, beer and wine are also on the menu. Beebe’s has several different beers on tap and offers a complete wine list. So whether you’re looking for a pint with lunch or want to share a bottle with your friends for dinner, you have options.


The next time you’re in the area, stop in and see what Beebe’s has to offer. It’s located between 38th and 39th Street in Long Island City, and it’s open all day long.

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