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What's the Best Strategy for Theater Dining?

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Sutton recommends where to go before and after the show

The Rum House
The Rum House
The Rum House

Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater New York where the site’s editors, reporters, and critics answer specific or baffling restaurant requests from readers and friends. A new question and answer will run every Thursday. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form.


Hey Eater,

I’m coming to town to see Hamilton (woo), and I want to eat before the show. I'd like to keep it a bit on the lighter side. My partner isn't picky, but he does prefer wine or cocktails to beer. But I'm easy and would even take a suggestion for a dive after the show. Any thoughts?

Not Throwing Away My Shot

Hi My Shot,

To dine pre-theater, or post-theater, that IS the question. The quandary is a real one; the Sutton Solution is to do both.

For pre-dinner, let me suggest starting the evening off with Ethiopian fare. New York doesn't have as deep of a bench of Ethiopian spots as, say, Washington D.C., but as luck would have it the Richard Rogers theater is close enough to Meske, one of the city's better horn of Africa spots. The right move is the combo platter ($17), a heady tasting of stews like gomen besaega (beef and collards), miser wat (spiced lentils in berbere), and minchet abish wat (ground beef cooked in butter). You scoop up the preparations with gently sour injera bread. There's your fast pre-show dinner; you'll be in and out in about forty minutes, maybe less.

Then go see Hamilton (!!!), which has a run time of two hours and forty five minutes, plus a fifteen minute intermission. You'll be hungry afterwards. Trust me.

So when the show gets out, walk around the corner to The Rum House. It's the best cocktail spot in Times Square, and a solid choice for free live music. Think of it as a little post-theater, theater. Order a classic daiquiri or a pina colada and have it with a hot pretzel, or a pressed ham and gruyere sandwich. Boom.

— Ryan Sutton

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