New York: Alternatives to What’s Famous, Flickr: edenpictures

Grub at Doughnut Plant


We’ve all seen New York hot spots on television, and I’m sure many of you have been to a couple. What you don’t know, however, is that for every restaurant in New York that’s hit it big thanks to a television show or a movie, there are plenty of alternatives out there that are both better and lacking both the notoriety and the long lines that come with it.

Let’s take a look at five spots you need to hit, and there’s a good chance you haven’t seen them on television:

1. Italian: A number of high-profile Italian restaurants in New York have made it to your living room, and I’m a big fan of a few of them. To get off the beaten path, though, head down to Bianca on Bleecker Street. The food is incredible, and it’s not at all expensive. There’s one catch, though: the restaurant only takes cash. If the wait is long, don’t sweat it; you can get a drink next door at VON and bring it over to Bianca when you’re table is ready.

2. Cupcakes: Yes, Magnolia Bakery is the famous one, but there are other places you need to try. As an alternative, check out Buttercup Bake Shop, which was founded by a former Magnolia employee – although the icing has been described as less than exciting, the cake itself is said to be better.

3. Hot dogs: Gray’s Papaya is the one that always winds up on camera, and Papaya King is the oldest, according to a tweet they sent me on Twitter a while back. My favorite, though, is Crif Dogs, down in the East Village. The hot dogs are exceptional, and the toppings are downright crazy – from fried eggs to avocado to, of course, bacon.

4. Cocktails: Yes, 21 Club gets all the attention, but there is no shortage of exciting watering holes in Manhattan. To make your trip interesting, while you’re at Crif Dogs, just step through the phone booth to PDT. It’s one of the city’s speakeasies, and you might find some hot dogs on the menu that aren’t available at Crif Dogs.

5. Doughnuts: In general, think of this as trading the swishy places you see on television for something totally opposite. Well, that’s not fair to the Doughnut Plant. What you pick up here is unlike any doughnut you’ve ever experienced. It’s closed on Mondays, but from Tuesday through Sunday, it opens at 6:30 a.m. and stays that way until all the doughnuts are sold out.

Don’t forget these tasty treats on your next flight to New York City.

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photo: edenpictures

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