The saying often goes: If you want to really see a city, experience it like a local. And that might be all well and good, but it shouldn’t discount the value in asking for tips from the transients themselves, if only for a pair of fresh eyes. Nathan Michael, one of our favorite guests from Chicago, is that set of trusted peepers. In the past, he’s leant his tips for the Lower East Side, discovered while staying at SIXTY LES. More recently, Michael spent some time more westerly, at SIXTY SoHo, and prepared for us a handful of his new favorites around Lower Manhattan. He’s done the shooting; we’ve taken care of the elaborating. The most sound advice, after all, requires multiple sources.
Milk Bar is to diabetics what bacon is to vegetarians. In other words: nearly irresistible–and admittedly of debatable health merit. Pastry chef Christina Tosi whips up cookies, cakes, and ice creams that err on the side of insanely sweet. (Those out-of-towners who haven’t heard of Milk Bar have likely heard of supermodel Karlie Kloss, who has an ongoing collaboration with the multi-location shop: her own line of cookies called “Klossies.”) The Crack Pie is a local favorite, as are the B’Day Truffles. And their yummy Cereal Milk soft serve, seen above, tastes just like what it sounds like. They’ve basically turned the delicious, sugary bottom of a cereal bowl and whipped it up into ice cream. Just remember to go for a run or something afterward.
251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003
Russ & Daughters
If you want Old School New York–and all the noshes, knishes, bagels, blintzes, and lox that go with it–you head to Russ & Daughters. They’ve been churning out the good stuff since 1914 years from their East Houston storefront. While you can get plenty of takeaway at their original outpost, those who want to park it for awhile are advised to hit the cafe, which opened in 2014. The platters are big enough to feed an army, and the classic egg creams are sure to knock you back into another era.
127 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Pink has been the color du jour of late, and Café Henrie didn’t skip a beat when it decided to scatter rose-colored table tops throughout the joint. (The choice has been immediately embraced by Instagrammers city-wide.) As for the food, André Saraiva, who is perhaps best known for his international late-night hot spot Le Baron, has decided to keep things more wholesome, with market salads, healthy bowls, and teas from House of Waris.
116 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10003
Sushi on Jones
While we might be moving strongly away from any semblance of dining al fresco, Sushi on Jones is something to remember come spring–or at least visit in winter while donning a substantial parka. It’s part of a recently opened, super tiny outdoor market on Bowery, which also hosts Alidoro (Italian sandwich shop), Pulqueria (taco joint), The Butcher’s Daughter (a veg-friendly mecca), and Champion Coffee (self-explanatory). This place is like the UN of snacks. Sushi on Jones is the jam if you want to eat your slivers of fish on the fly. Their omakase promises to get you in and out in 30 minutes and will run you $50. Economical in all regards.
348 Bowery, New York, NY 10012
El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette
California’s airier influences have been quickly creeping up on New York City. One of the places it was first and most clearly felt was El Rey. The light and bright space delivers on a kind of West Coast promise: there’s plenty of kale, avocado, and sunflower butter to go around. Weather permitting, the windows facing Stanton open wide, making for the perfect place to perch.
100 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002