So, you just looked at your calendar and realized that Thanksgiving is this Thursday. Ahh! You still have no plans, your family is too far for you to trek to, and there’s no way you’re slaving over a stovetop and cooking. So what should you do?
Here at The Daily Meal, we understand your plight. That’s why we’ve compiled this last-minute list of Manhattan restaurants (in addition to our earlier Thanksgiving-dinner roundup you can find here) serving up special Turkey Day menus, making it easy as apple pie to partake in the ritual of stuffing your face, and without a heaping helping of stress. No matter your price-point preference, you’ll be able to find an NYC eatery to call your temporary home for the holiday.
Whether you want a traditional homey spread or something fancier for the festivities, the following restaurants provide plenty of options for the discerning New Yorker to choose from. Wherever you wind up, we hope you have a wonderful holiday and we’re thankful for your readership!
Humphrey at the Kimpton’s Eventi Hotel
If you can’t choose between celebrating Hanukkah or Thanksgiving, make it easy and choose both with the Thanksgivukkah-themed dinner at Humphrey. Dishes include green onion and zucchini latkes with brandied jalapeño applesauce and crème fraîche; "The Ultimate Thanksgiving Sandwich" with roasted turkey, cranberry chutney, green apple and cornbread stuffing and grandma’s gravy on marble rye or sourdough; and pumpkin cheesecake with candied cranberries and malted milk chocolate ice cream. Cap off your night by booking a room with views of the Freedom Tower.
ATRIO at the Conrad Hotel
From noon to 9 p.m., ATRIO is serving an elevated interpretation of the usual Thanksgiving spread along with some non-traditional selections, including apple and chestnut soup with toasted pepitas and foie gras crostini; Arctic char crudo with cucumber mustard relish, hearts of palm, and lemon aioli; and butter-basted turkey with chestnut and cornbread stuffing, baby heirloom Brussels sprouts, spiced yam purée, and cranberry sauce. Vegetarian options include seasonal cauliflower risotto with hazelnut brown butter and poached egg and a local burrata with heirloom tomatoes and balsamic. Executive chef Antonio Cardoso’s menu also features non-turkey mains like acacia honey roasted cod and maple-glazed Berkshire pork chop, and goes for $60 per person.
James Beard House
Any meal at this house-turned-culinary-shrine in the West Village is special, so you’d better be ready for an extraordinary experience on a major eating holiday like this. Chef Brandon Frohne of Mason’s in Nashville, Tenn. brings his Southern cooking skills to New York City for an epic five-course meal with wine pairings. Dinner starts with pass-around hors d’oeuvres like deviled farm eggs with heritage pork belly marmalade and mustard seed caviar and spiced sweet potato-walnut biscuits with blackberry mostarda and speck. After that, you’ll be whisked upstairs where the dishes gets even more outrageous. View the full menu to rev up your salivary glands, and make reservations as soon as possible because seating is limited.
Asíate at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Overlooking Columbus Circle and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Asíate is an excellent choice for extravagant diners. At $108 per person, you’ll be treated to an opulent feast featuring autumn squash velouté with ricotta croquettes and ham, turkey roulade with a foie gras emulsion, and venison with dark chocolate and pistachios. And if you drink too much wine to feel like trekking home, you can spend the night in a cushy suite.
Clement at The Peninsula Hotel
If you’re looking for a place that feels luxurious yet still provides the comforts of home, Clement has you covered. Chef Brandon Kida will wow you with his presentations on dishes like heritage turkey with shiitake mushroom gravy; scallop degustation with truffle, cauliflower, and lardo; butter-poached lobster with kabocha squash, chanterelles, and beurre fondue; and porcelet with Honeycrisp apples, chestnuts, and cabbage. The interior was designed by the acclaimed Yabu Pushelberg and features ornate rooms each done up in different styles, including a "mirror room" with an array of reflective artwork, a "color room" with a 60-foot hand-etched jungle growing over the buildings of New York City (entitled "Wild New York") and a book room that’s inspired by old-school hotel libraries.
High-rollers should consider Betony’s three-course dinner ($115 per person; $60 for each person 12 and under; available from noon to 8 p.m.), which offers enticing choices like poached hen’s egg with black trumpet mushrooms and ginger; smoked foie gras with kabocha and buckwheat; and grilled Kobe beef tenderloin with romaine and sweetbreads. Guests will receive an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, and sides (including roasted parsnips, pickled beans, cornbread stuffing, and gravy) will be served family-style with the main course.
The Difference Between Feeling Safe and Being Safe
The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight
A Mixed Message For New Yorkers This Thanksgiving: Stay Home, Or Dine Inside A Restaurant
Governor Andrew Cuomo kicked off Thanksgiving week at a press briefing in Midtown on Monday, where he delivered a lecture on safety protocols for our Pandemic Thanksgiving. As he has been saying for weeks, he once again told New Yorkers to stay at home for the holiday. "It's not the traditional Thanksgiving," he said, noting that this year we show our gesture of love and gratitude by not showing up at the dinner table.
“Why don’t we really honor that this Thanksgiving?” the governor said. “And saying yes, we’re going to be alone physically but we are spiritually together celebrating in a way that is even deeper than just the proximate location of sitting next to someone.”
Later that day, it was revealed that he had not been planning to follow his own guidance, when he let it slip during a radio interview that his 89-year-old mother was going to come to Albany for Thanksgiving. “My mom is going to come up and two of my girls,” he said on WAMC, adding, “The plans change. But that’s my plan.”
After receiving immediate criticism, he backpedaled through a spokesperson, who released a statement on Monday evening saying that the governor will not see his family on the holiday, but will work instead.
"As the Governor said, he had been discussing seeing his mother with two of his daughters for a four person Thanksgiving in accordance with all state issued guidance, but as he also said the plans were still changing and given the current circumstances with COVID, he will have to work through Thanksgiving and will not be seeing them," spokesperson Rich Azzopardi said in a statement. "Don't tell his mom—she doesn't know yet."
All that aside, Governor Cuomo's messaging around the holidays has actually been pretty clear, and uncharacteristically aligned with that of Mayor Bill de Blasio's: stay at home. Don't mix households. And whatever you do, don't travel.
Cuomo has emphasized that travel is a problem because every state except Vermont and Maine have higher infection rates than New York, but he's also stated that there is no "safe zone" at home this holiday season—hence why he isn't picking up his own daughter in Chicago for this year's festivities. "Your safe zone, it's not a safe zone," he said Monday. "Your safe zone is dangerous this year. Please -- love is sometimes doing what's hard. This year, if you love someone, it is smarter and better to stay away."
And yet, even with the two officials issuing warnings against Thanksgiving gatherings in a private family home, indoor dining is still open for business throughout the city and state.
At his briefing on Monday, the governor declared: "I'm sitting there last night. I'm watching television. All these commercials, Thanksgiving is coming. people around a table, everybody drinking, passing turkey, laughing, kissing, hugging. Yeah, all beautiful pictures of Thanksgiving in the storybook setting, the way we wish it could be. Those commercials have nothing to do with what this Thanksgiving should be." And yet, it's under his own guidelines that you can do exactly this indoors at a restaurant in fact, the press releases are still pouring in promoting scenes just like this.
Mayor de Blasio has stated multiple times in recent days that he has spoken to Cuomo about the subject, and de Blasio believes more parts of the city will be designated orange zones in the next week or two, which triggers a halt to indoor dining. Restaurants have already begun planning for this eventuality the entire industry is desperate for a federal stimulus in order to survive these seemingly inevitable closures this winter.
New York City is seeing more new cases daily that at any time since last May.
We have been forced to reopen an emergency hospital on Staten Island to handle overflow.
But you can still eat at indoor dining in 90% of the city.
What's wrong with this picture?&mdash Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) November 24, 2020
Welcome to month nine of the pandemic, where mixed messages are up a tick.
Part of the problem is that the state and city use different data to determine COVID test positivity rates—so while according to the city's data, NYC has long since passed the 3% 7-day average positivity rate, the state's data puts the city at just over 2.5% for that figure currently.
Cuomo has been more invested in a strategy of targeting micro-clusters in individual neighborhoods and areas, rather than more sweeping policy changes.
"Why close down businesses in a neighborhood that's doing better? It makes no sense," Cuomo said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. "There is no citywide number beyond the collective of the individual numbers."
But will that strategy still hold if the city rate goes above 3% overall? Cuomo and advisor Melissa DeRosa implied that it would not—that the city going above 3% would trump any micro-cluster strategies—and that there's an expectation that the numbers will increase across the board after the Thanksgiving weekend. "Is it possible all these numbers would be showing 3% as we go thought the holiday season? Yeah it's possible, especially if you think you're going to wind up at 9%," Cuomo added.
Studies have shown that restaurants, gyms and other indoor venues accounted for around 80% of new infections in the early months of the pandemic in the U.S. As coronavirus cases have started skyrocketing around the country, major cities like Los Angeles have already ended not just indoor, but also outdoor dining.
In most of the city, indoor dining is currently permitted at 25% capacity with a limit of ten people per table. But when a restaurant finds itself in a yellow zone, only four people are allowed per table. Indoor dining is stopped completely in orange zones, and outdoor dining can continue only with four people per table and all indoor and outdoor dining is paused in red zones, where only takeout/delivery is allowed. On Monday, parts of upper Manhattan, Staten Island and other areas of New York state were all shifted to various zones before the holidays.
Cuomo said on Tuesday that he didn't expect any updates or changes to the city zones until after Thanksgiving.
He also defended changing his mind about having Thanksgiving with his mother, and the seemingly contradictory advice he was giving New Yorkers about how to spend the holiday.
"I never said to anyone, you should be alone," he said. "CDC guidance is only your household. Their guidance is stronger than ours. Ours is no more than 10. You can be with your mother. A lot of people are going to be with their mother."
‘It’s all about resilience:’ COVID-weary restaurants prep for a Thanksgiving like no other
For New York City’s restaurant owners, 2020 was a recipe for disaster — and it’s not over yet.
Instead of scrambling to secure enough Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing to feed the usual horde of New Yorkers opting for dinner at a favorite eatery, the crippling pandemic created unexpected holiday hurdles for restaurants big and small: How, where, and whether to welcome any in-person diners at all.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s kind of the new normal,” said Philippe Massoud, 49, the owner of Ilili restaurant in Chelsea. While he hopes to serve customers indoors at 25% capacity, he’s also creating hundreds of to-go baskets for guests staying home this Thursday.
“It’s all about resilience,” he said. “We will not allow [ourselves] to not celebrate Thanksgiving, no matter what, and this is kind of the alternative way of celebrating.”
He’s not alone. With a surge in COVID-19 cases across the city, restaurants are doing everything they can to prepare for any Thanksgiving Day eventuality — spacing out tables, building heated tents, and offering an unprecedented number of takeout turkey feasts through online portals.
Ilili’s gourmet dinners will include all of his acclaimed Mediterranean-inspired Thanksgiving dishes — with some minor reheating required — and can feed groups in sizes from two to eight.
“It was a no-brainer for us,” said Massoud. “If you cannot come to our dining room, we’re going to come to you, and we’re going to do everything we can to give you that moment of Thanksgiving.”
At the Wicked Wolf in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx, manager Emma Rosenberg believes keeping the doors open for Thanksgiving dinner — even on a scaled-down basis — will bring holiday cheer to regular customers who might otherwise be celebrating alone.
“This year, it’s hard, but we opened just to have more people be able to go somewhere,” said the 41-year-old Rosenberg. “You’re sitting at home, you’re by yourself, it’s so depressing on a holiday … We’re really hoping to be open for the customers, especially because we have a lot of older people.”
The restaurant plans to do its traditional three seatings at 12:30, 2:30 and 5:30 p.m., with a strict maximum of 50 people per time slot. For server Jennifer Comerico, 41, this year’s small crowd will be a far cry from the hundreds of hungry patrons she remembers from her past Thanksgivings at the local pub and eatery, but she plans to be present nonetheless.
“If we’re still open, I sure will,” she said.
Other restaurants and bars, despite long-standing traditions, will sit this turkey day out.
“Considering how unpredictable everything is right now, we made the decision to close for Thanksgiving this year,” said Sophie Deverell, 26, the general manager at The Farm on Adderley in Brooklyn. “It was a big call, but we didn’t see any other ethical option.”
The famed Ditmas Park joint, after cooking up a not-to-be-missed feast for the past 14 Thanksgivings, wanted to offer its staff the option of celebrating this year’s holiday safely at home. To keep that promise, there won’t be any turkey to go, either.
“We were considering doing some kind of takeout option, but the staff have been so over-taxed with all of the new restrictions, so I’m really glad they’ll get to take a rest and be home with their families,” said Deverell.
Las Vegas Dining Is Entering a New Era
The soon-to-open Vegas Test Kitchen takes a gamble on a new kind of restaurant.
Chef Lanny Chin never wanted to have his own restaurant until his industry was upended in 2020.
“I’ve never felt like I’ve had that entrepreneurial spirit,” Chin said. 𠇋ut with everything that’s happened and with this opportunity, it’s really raised the question in my mind. Like, why not?”
Chin is one of the Las Vegas chefs who have signed on to cook at the new Vegas Test Kitchen, which hospitality entrepreneur Jolene Mannina plans to open in November at the community-minded Fergusons Downtown complex.
“Through the pandemic, I’ve seen all this amazing talent that had a lot of time on their hands and started to actually think about their own businesses,” Mannina said. 𠇊 lot of chefs are trying to set up these side hustles, and they need commissary space. They need places for food to be picked up. They need an outlet for creativity.”
Located in the space that was formerly home to Chow, Vegas Test Kitchen will empower chefs to test dishes and ideas as they work toward opening their own businesses, all while fulfilling takeout and delivery orders. Mannina, who’s the founder of food-and-beverage ticketing platform Secretburger.com, will also host events (including some with a big focus on entertainment and cocktails) at the space.
Chin, who’s the chef de cuisine at The Slanted Door (which debuted in Vegas this past March and is still waiting to reopen), will kick things off at Vegas Test Kitchen with a three-month residency known as Slurp Society.
Chin recently did a ramen popup with Secretburger and was overwhelmed by the positive response. So he’ll serve tonkotsu and miso broth at Slurp Society as he works toward opening his own ramen shop. He plans to weave in his Chinese-American heritage with dishes like egg rolls that are made with a family recipe.
“I eat egg rolls everywhere, and I’ve never had anything that’s even similar,” Chin said. “I have cousins that don’t even know how to make them because my grandfather was that secretive with the recipe. I can tell you that the three key ingredients are ham, shrimp, and peanuts.”
After Chin’s residency, chefs Roy Ellamar (Harvest at Bellagio), Chris Conlon (Piero’s Italian Cuisine), and Geno Bernardo (formerly of Herringbone, which closed in January, at Aria) will have their own three-month residencies. Ellamar, Conlon, and Bernardo are all part of a forthcoming food hall, Platform One at UnCommons, so Vegas Test Kitchen will be a place where guests can taste the future of Vegas dining.
In addition to the resident chefs, Vegas Test Kitchen will house numerous pop-ups, with a variety of options for breakfast and lunch.
“One of the main goals at Fergusons from the get-go is to own the daytime, especially in downtown Las Vegas,” said Jen Taler, Fergusons Downtown’s co-founder and creative strategist.
Mannina wants Vegas Test Kitchen to be a casual destination, where guests can come by for a quick-service experience that makes it easy to try food from multiple chefs. Pop-ups will include Bodega Bagel from Sonia El-Nawal, the Armenian-Lebanese chef behind Rooster Boy Café and Rooster Boy Granola. Bulgarian-born Nina Manchev of Forte Tapas will run Banichka, which will serve banitsa (a flaky Bulgarian pastry dish) with fillings that include Georgian cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and even a Bulgarian hot dog.
Sung Park, the executive chef at Sake Rok at The Park, will have a sushi pop-up called Sliced. Alex White will bring underground sourdough sensation Yukon Pizza to Fergusons Downtown. Andrea Mclean, a pastry sous chef at L&aposAtelier de Joël Robuchon, will have a pie pop-up known as Pop ’N Pies.
El-Nawal, a globetrotting pastry chef who worked for Jean-Georges Vongerichten at New York City’s Lafayette (where she baked alongside Kerry Simon) and JoJo, has been enamored with bagels for decades. She opened the Spoonful Diner in Belgium, where she attracted a lively crowd of actors, artists, and expats. Her bagels and the scene at that Brussels coffee shop were covered by The New York Times Sunday Styles section in 1993. But for most of her career, El-Nawal has been a 𠇌loset bagel maker.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, El-Nawal’s Vegas restaurant pivoted into a market. And she suddenly had a lot of time to bake.
𠇊nd of course, the New Yorker in me was like, ‘It’s time to make bagels,’” she said.
The bagels have been a hit. El-Nawal now has a wholesale bagel business with clients that include a high-end casino and a private residential/golf community. At Vegas Test Kitchen, she’ll have bagel sandwiches, bagels by the dozen, housemade gravlax, various schmears, and matzo brei.
“It’s an ode to New York,” she said. “It’s an ode to when I used to go buy bagels and lox at Russ & Daughters. I felt like Vegas needed a little more New York. For me, it’s the inspiration of the Lower East Side.”
Food and Beverage Industry
Indoor dining in New York City will expand to 75% capacity beginning May 7.
The 12 a.m. food and beverage curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining areas beginning May 17 and for indoor dining areas beginning May 31.
The 1 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will be lifted May 17, with the curfew for all catered events to be lifted May 31.
Catered events can resume at residences beginning May 3 above the State's residential gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Also on May 3, the guidance for dancing among attendees at catered events will be aligned with neighboring states, replacing fixed dance zones for each table with social distancing and masks.
Seating at bars in New York City will be allowed starting May 3.
Indoor dining capacity in New York City expanded to 50% on March 19. The rest of the state expanded to 75% capacity, and NYC outdoor dining capacity expanded to 75% as well.
Weddings and Catered Events resumed statewide on March 15. Review the guidance for Food Services and NYC Indoor Food Services to see the safety requirements.
12 Themed Restaurants That Will Transform Your New York Dining Experience
Tired of eating at your regular chain restaurants that you can find just about… anywhere? While New York is no stranger to unique places to eat, there’s something about the restaurants that made our list today that go above and beyond the average dining establishments. So, if you’re looking to step outside of the box and dine somewhere that will truly keep you entertained, these 12 themed restaurants will absolutely transform your dining experience:
Possibly the most self-explanatory restaurant on our list, Ninja is everything you're imagining it to be. As if the theme wasn't already extraordinary, you'll often find the dishes you order will be served to you glowing. Another cool thing you'll experience during your meal? A magic show! With so much to see and enjoy at this one restaurant, we highly recommend checking it out.
How to get here: 25 Hudson Street New York, NY 10013
Calling all Whovians AKA Dr.Who fans! Your perfect restaurant is waiting for you here on the East Coast. Pictured above you can see one of the coolest features of the restaurant, the "crack in time," something all visitors can appreciate even if you don't understand its reference to the show. Not only does this restaurant have quite the unique theme, it also has some savory dishes that will be hard to forget.
How to get here: 165 Main Street Beacon, NY 12508
One of our favorite spots on our list, the Circus Cafe is a wonderful circus--themed restaurant with a fun and vibrant style. While you're normally use to being served bread before your meal comes out, here at Circus Cafe you'll get to hold yourself over with a basket full of popcorn! The only problem you'll run into here is trying not to devour all of the popcorn for yourself, unless you decide to dine alone. Serving all your favorite American-style dishes, topping off your meal with an enormous cone of cotton candy is an absolute must. Because, of course there's cotton candy here!
How to get here: 392 Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Recently new to New York, you may have already heard about this amazing Tim Burton-themed bar and restaurant. Here you'll have the chance to run into Beetlejuice himself and enjoy a "Beetles Juice" drink. The atmosphere is everything you would expect it to be and more, with funky works of art surrounding you at all times.
How to get here: 308 East 6th Street New York, NY 10003
A retro-themed restaurant that will literally keep you entertained while you dine, this New York City diner has acquired a staff with quite the set of vocals! The energy inside this restaurant is always alive and kicking, making for a truly fun experience. From the singing waiters to the perfect diner, Ellen's has it all!
How to get here: 1650 Broadway New York, NY 10019
This New Orleans-themed restaurant on Long Island is home to some of New York's most amazing Cajun dishes, you'll have a difficult time choosing what to eat! A lively restaurant with a fantastic staff, this hidden gem is worth visiting.
How to get here: 1 Park Lane Massapequa, NY 11758
New York's most popular haunted bar, this eerie restaurant will surely give you an unforgettable experience. Here, you'll find Jekyll and Hyde decor and souvenirs all around the restaurant, with an equally unique staff that will surprise you. Like nothing you've ever seen, this restaurant is worth checking out if you're brave enough to handle it!
How to get here: 91 7th Avenue South - Between West 4th Street and Barrow Street, New York City, NY 10014
Because sometimes after a long day's work, we need an entire margarita-themed restaurant and not just the margarita. With several locations all around the United States, we're more than glad that they decided to bring this slice of paradise to New York.
How to get here: 1 Destiny USA Drive Syracuse, NY 13204
Another one of our favorites, this luxury train-themed restaurant is literally a hidden gem of New York. Hiding on the 6th floor inside of Bloomingdale's flagship store in New York City, you'll find this unbelievable restaurant that will instantly take you back in time. To read more about this themed restaurant, click here.
How to get here: 1000 3rd Avenue New York, NY 10022
A subtle theme that will give you a wonderful experience, Beginnings is a literary-themed restaurant that will make you feel right at home. Providing the perfect atmosphere to wine, dine and dive into a new book, this restaurant is every bookworm's dream. Our suggestion? Try a new drink you've never tasted before!
How to get here: 1986 Park Street Atlantic Beach, NY 11509
Right in the Capital Region, this little diner tucked away on the corner is filled with Betty Boop decor that will catch your eye! Serving up all your favorite dishes, you'll enjoy dining here while you're surrounded by your favorite glamorous animated character.
How to get here: 115 Philip Street Albany, NY 12202
While many come to this restaurant to take advantage of its unique bar and Happy Hour, the food at La Caverna will make you wish you could never stop eating. The bar and restaurant has an underground cave theme, with unique structures and decor that will make you forget you're right in New York City.
How to get here: 122-124 Rivington Street New York, NY 10002
Amazing! What restaurant looks the most interesting to you? For more New York restaurant inspiration, check out the 15 Best ‘Hole In The Wall’ Restaurants within our state that will blow your taste buds away!
All Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives Restaurants in New York
The band of cousins who run this diner are always ready with more than 40 different types of homemade cakes, pies and bread. Guy was a fan of the focaccia bread topped with feta, onions, olives and tomatoes, but the short ribs for dinner and the brownie Sunday for dessert were Guy's favorites.
Byblos Mediterranean Cafe
Byblos is a Lebanese joint in downtown Syracuse putting mama's touch on Middle Eastern food. Violet Khabbaz, along with her son Fady and husband Phillip, makes a seasoned falafel sandwich Guy can't get enough of, and a big time baklava for a serious sweet tooth.
When New Yorkers and Italians call it the best pizza they&rsquove ever had, it has to be legit. Guy digs into the pistachio and sausage pizza fresh out of the wood-fired oven imported from Naples. He also can&rsquot get enough of the Montanara Starita, a fried pizza with a smoky flavor and fluffy crust.
Relief Opportunities For All Restaurants (ROAR) is a new non-profit that was established as a response to the hardships faced by New York City restaurants during the pandemic. ROAR has partnered with Robin Hood to create a New York City Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. Robin Hood’s mission is to create economic mobility for New Yorkers living in poverty. We are New York City’s largest poverty-fighting organization. For over thirty years, we’ve been finding, fueling and creating the most impactful and scalable solutions to lift families out of poverty. We partner with over 250 nonprofits to support food, housing, education, legal services, workforce development, and more to New Yorkers living in poverty across all five boroughs.
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