For those who visit the excellent Lower East Side Tenement Museum and get the hungries, I have four recommendations within a short distance of the museum on Orchard Street:
—> For a quick snack, you can’t beat the location of il laboratorio del gelato; it is right next door to the Tenement Museum (at 95 Orchard Street, between Broome and Delancey Streets.) The walk-up window facing the sidewalk features rotating gelato flavors, all made on-site and often wildly imaginative. How about grapefruit Campari, or black currant, or thai chili chocolate or the one I tried that was dee-lish….tarragon with pink pepper. Believe it!
—> Don’t have a sweet tooth? Drop into Guss’ Pickles, located at 85-87 Orchard for nearly 100 years. It’s just a bunch of pickle barrels on the sidewalk (remember the 80’s movie Crossing Delancey? That pickle guy….) I’m not a pickle person, but I hear these will blow your socks off and are very different from jarred/store-bought pickles.
—> For a caffeine hit, stroll down Orchard to the Roasting Plant Coffee Company at 81 Orchard Street. When I visited, the staff was super-helpful and welcoming, offering many suggestions when I blearily said, “Whatever you have that kicks like a mule” (I think they served me Sumatra Mendheling – heaven.) They’ve outfitted the narrow but bright, shiny shop with little white seats just big enough to hold a cup and a laptop, and the WiFi is free.
—> OK, so you want a proper meal, a big spread. Look no further than Katz’s Delicatessen, a few blocks walk north of the Tenement Museum at 205 Houston Street. The deli sandwiches are massive, the decor unchanged (from, what, 1958?) and it’s where that scene from When Harry Met Sally was shot (“I’ll have what she’s having.”)
There’s no need to ever leave the Lower East Side feeling hungry.