12 mouthwatering Memorial Day weekend events for food lovers
Make the most of the three-day weekend with barbecues, jazz parties and brunch celebrations at these top New York bars and restaurants
Fri May 23 2014
Photograph: Jessica Lin
As a general rule, the phrase Sunday Funday should be banned from our collective vocabulary, mainly because of its overuse by those who flood our Instagram feeds with photos of mimosas. But this weekend, the term is completely allowed—and encouraged—since the Moody Mondays will be banished and you'll gain another relaxing weekend day. So go ahead: Browse our list of events and start planning your Sunday Funday.
Roasted Pig and Punch @ Ariana
Gear up for holiday weekend, Russian-style. Chef Vitali Kovalev shows off by marinating a whole swine, stuffing it with buckwheat and then roasting it for five hours. Completing the old-timey feast is Ariana’s infamous 29-Minute Vodka Punch (is it the time it takes for you to get hammered?), a dangerously sweet combo of sparkling wine, flambéed fruits, vodka and fresh herbs. It’s first-come, first-served, so get there early.
Fri May 23 at 7pm; free
Annual Backyard Memorial Day BBQ @ Soft Spot Bar
Come early and stay late to grab plenty of booze and burgers at this neighborhood backyard “bar”-becue. Find a spot in the garden and much on patriotic grub, including $2 hot dogs, corn on the cob, ribs and sausages. Sip on two-for-one drafts and well drinks, $6 margarita pints and $3 canned beers while grooving to blastin’ summer beats.
Sun May 25 3–9pm; free
Memorial Day Pig Roast @ Crown Victoria
March on down to this annual carnivorous cookout anchored by the grill team of chef Jose Ramirez-Ruiz (Isa, Per Se) and John Ratliff, owner of Greenpoint charcuterie Ends Meats. Get choice cuts—first-come, first-served—of the spit-roasted swine, and groove on sides of charred potato salad, smoked beans, slaw and corn bread, saving room for peach cobbler for dessert. Postchow, kick back in 9,000 square feet of backyard, and get ready for bocce ball and dollar-off Narragansett and sangrias.
Sun May 25 at 4pm; free
Rub-a-Grub Barbecue @ Do or Dine
The Bed-Stuy bar is back for its fourth annual shindig, with live music from local DJ group I Love Vinyl and a prix fixe three-course spread of eclectic noshes and spirits. For each DJ set, Chef Justin Warner cooks fried dumpling nachos, Dr. Pepper–glazed frog legs and mini vegan chimichangas with miso-grilled corn. Wash it all down with gin-and-yuzu Bloody Marys, mimosas and beer-shot duos.
Sun May 25 2–10pm; $30
Jazz Sunday Memorial Day Rooftop BBQ @ Level R
The Empire Hotel’s rooftop bar hosts this swanky soiree, featuring live jazz by Paris native Stephane Wrembel and BBQ specials. Toast with two-for-one Bellinis, mimosas and prosecco, and watch the sun set over Lincoln Center.
Sun May 25 at 5pm; free
Memorial Day Brunch @ Back Forty West
The Soho eatery will offer its regular brunch menu, featuring buttermilk biscuits, oatmeal brûlée and brisket hash, as well as specials like rhubarb skillet cake and smoked duck and grits, throughout the long weekend. This means they’ll be there to help you nurse your hangover on Monday.
Sat May 24–Mon May 26 11am–4pm; free
Memorial Day Party @ Maison Premiere
Brooklyn’s oyster-and-cocktail haunt will offer its beloved raw bar—featuring oysters, uni and clams—as well as a few holiday specials, courtesy of chef Lisa Giffen. Expect BBQ pork ribs with red cabbage slaw and biscuits, spicy shrimp with potato salad, and house-made ice cream sandwiches.
Mon May 26 at noon; free
Brunch and Pig Feast Supper @ North River
Feast on a brunch of cavatelli carbonara, steak and eggs, and brisket burger throughout the weekend, paired with cocktails like the Dublin or Nothing (Irish whiskey, Lillet Blanc, yellow Chartreuse). On Monday night, the East Village spot will host its first-ever Pig Feast, a family-style spread of crunchy-skin pork roast, crispy potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Make sure to give them a call three days beforehand—the pig requires serious prep time.
Sat May 24, Sun May 25 11am–4pm; Mon May 26 5:30–11pm. Pig feast $55 per person.
Memorial Day Luau @ The Dutch
The holiday gets the tropical treatment at Andrew Carmellini’s Soho stunner, with a BBQ menu featuring coconut shrimp sliders, char siu St. Louis pork ribs and Kahlúa pig from Caja China. The umbrella-topped cocktails include the threateningly named Zombie, made with two kinds of rum, absinthe, pineapple juice and hibiscus grenadine.
Mon May 26 11:30am–11pm; free
Memorial Day @ Recette
Jesse Schenker’s West Village eatery offers a three-course menu, packed with seasonal specials like salt-cod fritters, soft-shell-crab sandwiches and s’mores by pastry chef Christina Lee. Starting on Memorial Day, Recette will start serving "summer suppers" seven nights a week, a $40 deal that includes a snack, two plates and one dessert from the regular menu.
Mon May 26 5:30pm–midnight; $25
Memorial Day @ The Gander
At his other joint, Schenker will replace the lunch menu with à la carte weekend brunch fare (lamb pastrami, a dry-aged cheeseburger, German pancakes with rhubarb marmalade) and go old-school for dinner, with a suckling pig for two, served with potato salad, cole slaw and beans and paired with Porkslap beer. The sweet ending: lemon-meringue pie.
Mon May 26 11:30am–10:30pm; $80 for two
Pig Roast @ Dassara
Feel like extending the celebration until next weekend? Head to this Brooklyn ramen joint and celebrate the opening of its redesigned backyard with DIY roasted pig buns, cold brews and half-price bottles of sake. Dance the afternoon away with tunes by DJ StillLife (East Village Radio) and Mexico City’s DJ White Visitation.
Sat May 31 noon–5pm; $10–$35