In true American fashion, one of the most patriotic way to celebrate the birth of our nation is by chowing down. Here, we fill you in on exactly where to get delicious versions of down-home, all-American treats in honor of the holiday. Before heading off to watch the fireworks, celebrate July 4th by sampling New York City’s best takes on traditional American fare. These five restaurants combine patriotism and creativity to offer unique spins on the classics. Our forefathers—and foremothers—would be proud. By Jessica Allen.
Apple Pie at Little Pie Company
424 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
Sure, Little Pie Company offers slices of cherry or its signature sour cream apple walnut (whole pies, too). But we prefer the miniatures, cute, portable, and perfectly proportioned pieces. As is the case with all the flavors on offer, the apple pie is made from scratch—no mixes, no preservatives, nothing chemical, nothing artificial. All those negatives produce an airy entity that will make you say, “yes, yes, yes, yes.” Inside the golden blond dome lives just enough fruit to make you think you’re eating healthy, just enough cinnamon and sugar to remind you that life is sweet, and just enough love to keep you scraping the bottom of the little pan.
Hot Dogs at Crif Dogs
113 St. Marks Place
New York, NY
The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, really) estimates that Americans gobble 150 million hot dogs every Fourth of July. Do your part to up the stats by heading over to Crif Dogs. First select your dog: “Crif” (beef and pork smoked and deep-fried) or “New Yorker” (all-beef and grilled), then pick your toppings, such as baked beans and chili cheese. Or you can opt for one of the already customized versions, such as the “jon-jon deragon” (a Crif covered with cream cheese, scallions, and everything bagel seeds) or the “tsunami” (a bacon-wrapped dog topped with pineapple, green onions, and teriyaki). Better bring your cellphone, too, in case you need to make a call, as the phone booth here actually leads to a speakeasy called Please Don’t Tell.
Biscuits at Northern Spy Food Co.
511 East 12th Street
New York, NY 10009
At Northern Spy Food Co., the biscuits come with a small pot of spreadable goodness. What kind of spreadable goodness, you ask? Well, that depends on the season. This hyperlocal restaurant in the East Village has an extensively hyperlinked menu, with links to its key purveyors’ websites. So the buttermilk that makes the biscuits so very fluffy comes from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, a nonprofit of 75 farmers in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. These days the apples in the apple butter come from Locust Grove Fruit Farm, in Milton, New York, which also produces cherries, peaches, white currants, and gooseberries. Here’s hoping we see gooseberry jam, cherry jam, peach chutney etc., etc. real soon.
Fried Chicken at Hill Country Chicken
New York, NY
Hill Country Chicken calls itself “a fresh fried chicken joint,” and the Mama Els’ version, named for the owner’s grandma Elsia, doesn’t disappoint. But be warned: it’s actually skinless. The naked bird is dipped in crackers and herbs and deep fried, so that the coating creaks and fractures to reveal moist breast meat beneath. Round out your meal with a side of skin-on, fresh-cut fries, cheesy fried mashed potatoes, or, if you’re feeling virtuous, carrot-n-raisin slaw. Plus, you can pack everything to go and eat across the street in Madison Square Park, one of the city’s loveliest.
Ice Cream Cake at Parm
248 Mulberry Street
New York, New York
Parm, the new-ish restaurant from the folks behind the wildly successful Torrisi, boasts a mean ice cream cake. More precisely, it’s a gelato cake, a six-inch-high, multihued hunk of strawberry, chocolate, and pistachio, separated by layers of crumbled chocolate cookie and ganache, and smothered in an icing made from whipped cream. To finish, the slice gets a substantial shake of rainbow sprinkles and a plump cherry on top. Each bite offers a refreshing blend of nostalgia and decadence, the ideal dessert for the adolescent in us all.
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