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Photograph: Time Out/ Ali GarberA bustling Paulie Gee's Slice Shop, before COVID-19 took the city by storm, causing restaurants to close or pivot to delivery-only.

10 New Yorkers tell us the restaurant meals they're most looking forward to having

Emma Orlow
Written by
Emma Orlow

No one comes to New York to sit in their apartment...the rent is too damn high for that. With a city full of the best bars and restaurants, going out has always been one of the most unifying hobbies for New Yorkers and a point of pride over our friends in other cities (and, now, sadly, we have to find some new ones like squeegeeing our shower or taking isolation walks with iced coffee that we pretend came from a coffee shop). When the time comes for restaurants to safely reopen, we will welcome them with open arms.

For us, our first stop will be a global dumpling tour of the city: starting at Dumpling Galaxy in Flushing, Queens, and then heading to have momos at Ridgewood’s While in Kathmandu. Right now, you can get a lot of these dishes via delivery and takeout, but the atmosphere and communal experience just can’t be replicated at home. So we reached out to some of our favorite New Yorkers about where they’re most excited to hit up once this is all over, and where they’ll never take a meal out for granted again. Keep in mind though, without government bailout of small, independently-owned restaurants, many of our favorite spots may never reopen, so keep calling your representatives and supporting your favorites in any way you can.

Aidy Bryant, comedian and star of Hulu’s Shrill: Café Altro Paradiso

"I can't wait to go back to Cafe Altro Paradiso. For as much pasta that I've been making in quarantine, it doesn't hold a candle to Altro Paradiso's cacio e pepe. Or their citrus salad with dates! I miss the food, I miss the people!"

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Stephanie H. Shih, artist: Yun Nan Flavour Garden, Mama’s Noodle House and Chuan Tian Xia 

"New York’s Chinatowns have taken a huge hit during this crisis, not just from business closures and lost wages but also xenophobia and racism. I can’t wait to slurp a big bowl of crossing-the-bridge noodles at Yun Nan Flavour Garden and buy frozen wontons from Mama’s Noodle House and eat a wok full of smoky cabbage at Chuan Tian Xia."

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Caroline Calloway, Instagram personality: Short Stories

"I’m most excited to have an Aperol Spritz at Short Stories and ask my friends about the person they most regret sending nudes to during quarantine." 

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Tyler McGillivary, fashion designer: B&H Dairy

"The first meal I’m going to go out for after this ends is breakfast at B&H Dairy, hands down. I’ll be getting the full spread: a muffin— toasted with butter—, potatoes with melted American cheese and an omelet. It feels like home and I miss it dearly, probably primarily because I spent many mornings there in college crying to my friends about one drama or another. Cant. Wait."

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Sydnee Washington, comedian: Sugarfish 

"I cannot wait to take my sushi deprived butt to Sugarfish. Yes, there will be a 2 hour wait with every West Village young adult, but it’ll be worth it. One bite of the crab hand roll and my soul will be replenished." 

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Lucas Sin, chef of Junzi Kitchen: Astoria Seafood

"This crisis painfully reminds me of the fact that humans are the only animal species that have built a sense of ritual around our eating and that this very human act of eating together—around a table—is the basis for our relationships. And when I imagine that convivial spirit and rhythm of communal eating, I can only imagine the day when we get to go back to restaurants like Astoria Seafood, where the restaurant is as much a living space as it is one for dining: fresh, brilliant seafood on ice catching the flickers of the fluorescent lights above, the persistent smell of the grill, guests hastily pushing plates and squeezing lemons, bottles and bottles of BYOB and sudden bursts of song. I miss it so much."

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Trinity Mouzon, Founder of GOLDE: Newtown

"I can’t wait to get back to Newtown in Bushwick. They’re mostly known for great Mediterranean food at exceptional prices, but their house made pastries are, in my opinion, one of the best kept secrets in New York. I’m dreaming of their date cake and lemon bars."

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Nicole McLaughlin, artist: Little Mo

"When it’s safe to go out and dine again, I’m really looking forward to having a big bowl of delicious pho at my favorite spot in Bushwick, Little Mo! It’s such a cozy place, and the shared tables create a nice community atmosphere—which I’ve definitely been missing during this time." 

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Catherine Cohen, podcast co-host of Seek Treatment and comedian: La Bonbonniere

"I am simply dying to sit with a dear friend at a classic NYC diner and chat about love and how it affects our moods over a massive omelet and unlimited hot coffee. I live right by La Bonbonniere in the West Village and that's my go-to diner spot. It is the cutest and coziest and everyone who works there is an angel. Obsessed."

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Jared Rydelek, body contortionist and creator of "Weird Fruit Explorer" on Youtube: La Savane and Upi Jaya

"Last summer, my girlfriend and I decided to do something that you can only do in a place like New York City: Eat food from as many countries as possible, without leaving the five boroughs! By the time we quarantined ourselves, we had already sampled traditional food from 44 different countries. We have so many new favorite foods now and can’t wait until we can hit the streets again. We already have been planning where we’ll go when restaurants open and are stuck between two places. For example, trying the vegetarian stew at La Savane in Harlem, so we can try a cuisine we haven’t had yet: Ivorian. Or going with one of our new favorite meals stink bean fried rice with a side of chili soaked jumbo nuts at the Indonesian restaurant Upi Jaya in Elmhurst." 

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