Probably no human activity is more hunger-provoking than shopping, and that makes Black Friday the hungriest day of the year. Accordingly, Eater NY will help out with gustatory needs for that delightful or horrific day — depending on your perspective — by recommending restaurants in seven of the city’s busiest shopping areas: Herald Square, Soho, Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue, 125th Street in Harlem, Steinway Street in Astoria, 86th Street in Bay Ridge, and Bleecker Street in the West Village.
This square is the mother of all shopping zones, anchored by Macy’s, ringed with other big-box stores, including Old Navy, Target, H&M, Urban Outfitters, and many, many more.
Good for relaxing
Nearby Cafe China occupies three nook-filled levels. While the ostensible focus is Sichuan food in large servings (good for groups), plenty of milder Cantonese dishes are presented with flair. 59 W. 37th Street, near Sixth Avenue
A quick bite with lots of choices
In the heart of nearby Koreatown, Food Gallery 32 is a tri-level food court offering Korean fried chicken, fist-size dumplings, deeply flavored soups, Japanese over-rice bowls, sushi, and desserts like churros washed down with bubble tea. 11 W. 32nd Street, near Fifth Avenue
For some real luxury
Old-timer Keens Steakhouse has been around since Abraham Lincoln’s day — the weird white clay pipes hanging from the ceiling attest to that. And its labyrinthine dining rooms and bar can seat 350. Walk-in seats are often available, especially mid-afternoon, but do try to make a reservation and don’t miss the mutton chop. 72 W. 36th Street, near Sixth Avenue
Though it was once a center of artists’ lofts and galleries, Soho is now mainly a shopping district with popular multilevel stores on Broadway and fabulously expensive designer boutiques nearly everywhere else.
For a plate of pasta far removed from the hubbub
Just across Houston Street, Pepe Rosso has been serving inexpensive plates of pasta and glasses of wine since 1997. 168 Sullivan Street, at Houston Street
Just grab a sandwich
Olive’s was a favorite of David Bowie’s, and you can still get the sandwich associated with him (chicken breast, watercress, and tomato on focaccia with chipotle mayo), along with soups and salads to eat at the small counter or in one of the nearby pocket parks. 191 Prince Street, near Sullivan Street
For some fancier Spanish fare
NYC’s Boqueria was founded at the start of the 2006 tapas revolution, and its offerings run from plates of cheese and charcuterie perfect for a shopping pick-me-up with a glass of wine to heavier fare like seafood paella. 171 Spring Street, between West Broadway and Thompson Street
For nouveau luncheonette fare — and cocktails
Revelie Luncheonette, across the street from sibling Raoul’s, is a slip of a spot serving Nicoise salad, great burgers, lobster rolls, and hanger steak. Don’t miss the daily blue plate special. Drinks include a collection of straight-ahead wines by the glass or bottle, beer, and intriguing cocktails. 179 Prince Street, near Sullivan Street
For those who love to shop small, cute, and local, Bedford Avenue and vicinity is your place. Whether looking for scented soap, secondhand vinyl, small-batch booze, art books, or recycled clothing, you’ll find it here.
Budget-priced Eastern Mediterranean food
Oasis is a falafel spot that has long anchored the cheaper end of the Williamsburg food scene. Located right over the Bedford stop on the L, it couldn’t be more convenient. 168 Bedford Avenue, between North Eighth and Ninth streets
For some genre-bending Thai food
Elmhurst’s Zaab Zaab has been a buzzy Thai restaurant since it opened, and it soon spawned a Williamsburg branch. Some may be relieved to hear this one focuses on seafood rather than organ meats. 208 Grand Street, between Bedford and Driggs avenues
Comfort food in a relaxed setting
Sweet Chick was the first branch of what became a citywide chain focusing on comfort food like chicken and waffles, as well as shrimp ‘n’ grits and fried fish sandwiches. 164 Bedford Avenue, at North Eighth Street
During Harlem’s economic revival early this century, 125th became a major center of big-box shopping — with P.C. Richard, Foot Locker, H&M, Champs Sports, and others — while still retaining independent stores on its fringes.
For some celebrity chef action
Harlem’s most famous celebrity chef, Marcus Samuelsson, presides over his flagship Red Rooster. The menu boasts Harlem classics like crab cakes, chicken and waffles, and deviled eggs. 310 Lenox Avenue, between 125th and 126th streets
For a sit-down fried fish sandwich
Whiting sandwiches piled high with filets have been a Harlem mainstay for a century, and Taste of Seafood is one of the best places to get them. Other delights include steamer clams and all-day seafood breakfasts. 2 W. 125th Street, at Fifth Avenue
For a great burger and milkshake
What could be better shopping food than burgers and fries, washed down with thick milkshakes? Harlem Shake is the neighborhood’s most celebrated purveyor. 100 W. 124th Street, at Lenox Avenue
Astoria’s Steinway has long been a magnet for bargain shoppers, and we have never needed it more in these inflation-plagued days. The thoroughfare flaunts its factory outlets from Banana Republic, Children’s Place, and the Gap, as well as discount chains like Jimmy Jazz and Easy Pickins, and old standbys like Zales.
Bagels in a comfortable setting
New York City Bagel sports a relaxed dining area, as well as excellent bagels and a full menu of bagel spreads and sandwiches. 40-05 Broadway, near Steinway Street
Quirky but distinguished pizza
Founded in 1959, Rizzo’s Pizza offers narrow rectangular slices with a super-thin crust — a mash-up of Neapolitan and Sicilian styles with a sweet tomato sauce. 30-13 Steinway Street, near 30th Avenue
Kebabs by truck
If you prefer to eat on the run, long-running Franky’s Souvlaki sports the best Greek gyros in town, ensconced in a soft pita folded over herb-scented pork, chicken, beef, or lamb. Steinway Street and 31st Avenue
86th Street in Bay Ridge
T.J. Maxx, Dunhill, Claire’s, Foot Locker, a Gap factory outlet, and Pandora’s Jewelry (Be careful opening the box!) among other national chains and local stores pack the blocks of 86th Street between Fourth Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway.
Pizza in a venerable setting loaded with atmosphere
The colorful restaurant Pizza Wagon has been open since 1966, a neighborhood pizzeria of the kind common in Brooklyn, but a notch better than most. The exceptionally juicy square Sicilian slice is the thing to get. 8610 Fifth Avenue, near 86th Street
Catch a khachapuri or two
To dine in a place made up to look like a rural village in dark pink tones, try Georgian Dream. All the familiar Georgian dishes are available, including dumplings, kebabs, pomegranate-strewn main courses, and the freshly made cheese flatbreads known as khachapuri. 8309 Third Avenue, near 83rd Street
Lebanese kibbe in all its manifestations
A very old-fashioned Lebanese restaurant, Le Sajj is the perfect place for a lingering sit-down meal, with one of the broadest Middle Eastern menus in Bay Ridge. Find stuffed vegetables, meatballs in yogurt, roast chicken on a bed of freekeh, shrimp kebabs, and roast baby lamb among the main courses. 8221 Fifth Avenue, near 83rd Street
If celebrity-spotting is part of your Black Friday agenda, make sure you hit Bleecker Street, where the designer boutiques are microscopic and the prices astronomical. Expect a line outside Cuts, a California durable-clothing brand where Jay-Z and Beyonce recently put in an appearance, and don’t miss Sarah Jessica Parker’s shoe store, but there are also more plebeian housewares stores like Brooklinen, and an establishment where you can formulate your own perfume.
Got kids in tow? Well, they’ll love Cowgirl for its Wild West decor. You’ll love it to for its Texas and Southwestern cuisine, which runs to chicken fried steaks, barbecued ribs, catfish salads, and cheese enchiladas. Don’t miss the black-eyed pea dip. 519 Hudson Street, at Tenth Street
Pastries and panini
No, you probably can’t get into nearby Via Carota or Buvette — though you should try to walk into either place — but you can usually snag a seat at the smaller related bar and coffee shop Bar Pisellino. In addition to cocktails and coffee, you’ll find delightful small sandwiches and Italian pastries, just what you needed to restart your shopping engines. 52 Grove Street, at Seventh Avenue South
Comfortable fare in a cozy setting
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all available at Fairfax, a quaint spot at the paradoxical corner of West Fourth and West Tenth streets. Comfort food is the order of the day, including a screwball hamburger that is constructed upside down, and some wonderful tater tots with Old Bay seasoning. 234 W. Fourth Street, at Tenth Street