Photo: The Stewart House, Athens
Written by Kathleen Willcox + New York Makers
In New York State, eating isn’t something we do to live, it’s something we live to do. And restaurateurs are looking to us for support, so they can thrive once more. As we advance in COVID-19 reopening phases throughout state regions, the following restaurants are open for partial indoor dining (except in New York City which begins September 30), outdoor dining weather permitting, and for takeout.
We enjoy being one of the most culturally diverse places in the world, and, with that, comes delicious food. For centuries, people have traveled to New York from around the world to visit, work, study, and live. The imprint of their culinary tastes, techniques, spices, sauces, recipes, and foodways can be tasted wherever we roam across the Empire State.
We have it all: New World redos of Old World classics, such as ramen, pizza, General Tso’s chicken, chow mein, macaroni, chicken tandoori, and bagels; New York comfort food originals like Buffalo wings, beef on weck, Thousand Island dressing, potato chips, Jell-O, the garbage plate to name a few; mongrel mashups like the cronut and the cragel; purist offerings of farm-to-table and plant-based cuisine; and new interpretations and creations every day by chefs trained at powerhouse New York culinary schools like The Culinary Institute of America (ranked #1 in the nation by TBS The Best Schools) in Poughkeepsie, the Institute of Culinary Education and the International Culinary Center (both tied for #2 and #3) in Manhattan, and the outstanding Paul Smith’s College Culinary Arts Program in the Adirondacks.
Not to be too uppity about it, but we have heard people who say New York has the best Italian food in the world -- even over Italy! The James Beard Foundation, which hands out coveted annual culinary awards for best in the United States, recently announced the semi-finalists for 2020. New York is one of the few states to have its own category for Best Chef.
The ideal way to experience our gastronomic riches is to travel to the restaurants setting the standards. For now, start with the ones located nearest you. Then, perhaps make an adventure around visiting a couple more at a time. Follow your tummy!
This very subjective list is based on what New York Makers and our friends have tried and found delightful, a list we welcome expanding. Please let us know your favorite New York restaurants and what makes them stand out. We are always eager for new discoveries! NB: Every restaurant we feature is following the state’s mandated guidelines for safe reopening, so before heading out, it's best to call ahead and ensure the restaurant will be open when you plan to visit, and find out if reservations are required.