When it comes to pure concentration of absolutely delicious food, there are few areas in New York City that compete with the Lower East Side. Historically a place of poverty and privation, rife with tenements through the 18th and 19th centuries, the LES currently exists in a state of absolute abundance, bursting at the seams with bars, stores, and more vegan donut shops than you could possibly know what to do with. Yes, the food here is excellent, and while you’re practically guaranteed a delicious meal 24/7, we’re only breaking down the ‘hood’s breakfast offerings for the purpose of this piece. Herewith, our guide to scoring the best egg-and-cheese, maple-syrup-everythings your heart desires.
El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette
Bright, light, and airy, El Rey offers a little slice of California by way of New York City. It’s where the beautiful, yoga-toned people of the LES come for coffee in the morning, kale salad midday, and some sardines with a glass of something delightfully less healthy in the evening.
100 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002
Russ & Daughters Cafe
Step under Russ & Daughters‘ cobalt awning and slide yourself into a seafoam vinyl booth, where you’ll treat your palate to a leap back in time with Jewish deli classics like knishes, latkes, and pastrami russ. In the mornings, go for one of their boards, which features artfully sliced smoked fish, a variety of smear, thinly cut veg, and your choice of carb. We vote for the classic: smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato, onion, and capers. We’ll leave the kibitzing to you.
127 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
For those who need to keep their social media feeds on the up-and-up, Dudley’s is one of those see-and-be-seen, ‘gram-and-regram type of places. Oh, and the grub’s great. Beneath the charming wooden beams, help yourself to a fried egg over avo toast, housemade granola, or go big with the aptly named Big Breakie, complete with two eggs, bacon, mushrooms, baked beans, roasted tomatoes, potatoes, and toast. Just don’t forget to take a picture of the spread from above. #toldyouso
85 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
All juice joints are not created equal. Juice Press creates cold pressed concoctions that are transcendental. Stay healthy with a so-good-how-is-this-green Dr. Green Juice and a burns-real-hard-on-the-way-down Ginger Fireball. For those who like to chew their breakfast, there’s the Acai Blueberry Bowl, the Almond Butter Smooth Bowl, or some tasty-as-hell Chia Seed Pudding. How much do we love Juice Press? Let us count the ways.
105 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002
The Swedes really whip up a strong brew. Konditori–with locations in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and the LES–works with a Brooklyn roaster for a cup of Joe (or is it Josef?) all their own. Grab a Swedish Roast with some classic cardamom bread to go before roaming the streets to your next adventure.
182 Allen St, New York, NY 10002
Clinton Street Bakery
“EAT” the red sign commands behind the counter of Clinton Street Bakery, hovering just beyond a tantalizing display of scones, cakes, cookies, muffins, pies. It’s a delicious tableau that’ll send you into diabetic shock or sweet-tooth heaven. For heartier fare, there’s the Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich (scrambled eggs, melted cheddar, house-made tomato jam) or the Brioche French Toast (caramelized bananas, roasted pecans, maple butter). Conde Nast Traveler called it “Mayberry in Manhattan.” Opie would certainly approve.
4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
Illustration by Jessica Ollah for SIXTY Hotels.