Little Town NYC unabashedly hearts New York. Of its three restaurants, two are located in iconic Manhattan spots: one in Union Square, the other on Theater District’s Restaurant Row. Little Town’s fancy for the Empire State shines through on the menu, too, with homestyle dishes such as the Adirondack chicken pesto and an Angus beef burger topped with crispy Berkshire bacon. The Suburb Backyard BBQ platter is piled high with enough buffalo wings, Nathan's hot dogs, and other locally inspired fare to feed a family of four.
Little Town NYC also takes great pride in its beer list, which features more than 100 local brews, including IPAs and amber ales that hail from breweries in Long Island, Ithaca, and Saratoga Springs. At the Restaurant Row location, you can enjoy a pilsner from Coney Island while sitting in a booth constructed from the beach’s old wooden boardwalk.
Bitter & Esters brew maestros shepherd beer aficionados 21 and older through the basics of crafting their own libations during the two-hour introductory brewing courses. These knowledgeable instructors sprinkle their lessons with useful tidbits as their students immerse themselves in the process, communally brewing a bubbly batch of hops-laden liquid like witches on Super Bowl Sunday. Classes cover need-to-know facts about extracts, malts, grains, and yeasts as well as common trouble-shooting methods for when batches go awry. The hands on lesson includes all the necessary ingredients and reference materials required to whip up a hearty brew, with starter kits available for purchases if students want to continue fashioning beer in their home or underground speakeasies. Classes conclude with students sampling the fruits of previous home brewed labors, opening their taste buds to all the different possibilities craft beer making affords.
After working at bars and wine shops for 10 years, certified beverage professional Amanda Ladd wanted to find another outlet for her inner wine enthusiast. The result was Synesthesia NYC, a company that hosts socially wired beer, wine-, and sake-tasting classes. Ladd herself teaches the classes at 123 Burger Shot Beer.
The restaurant keeps the ordering simple: $1 burgers, $2 shots, and $3 beers. The burgers are made with Black Angus beef, and come with a minimum of three per order. Of course, a few sides might tempt patrons to veer off the 1-2-3 course, such as heaping plates of fried mac and cheese wedges or pigs in a blanket made with Cajun-style mini franks. Domestic and imported beers include Heineken, Blue Moon, Stella, and Yuengling, while the shots get a little more creative– from orange tic-tacs to creamsicles.
Gooey mozzarella melts over classic pies in a Neapolitan-style brick oven at Zigolinis Pizza Bar, which melds the atmosphere of a modern bar with rustic cuisine. The friendly staff dishes a variety of drinks, and expert chefs wield an arsenal of products imported weekly from Naples, as well as fresh produce plucked from local farmers, to forge a menu of authentic Italian fare. Garden noshers plunge forks through the leafy greens pervading a trio of small and large salads. Pepperoni rains across the shores of the diavola pizza, which slays slice-craving appetites alongside 14 other signature pies, including the cheese-laden seven formaggi pizza. Those shunning sauce can turn to the vegetariana, adorned with seasonal vegetables, or the ai carciofi e tartufo, garnished with high-end truffle oil and shaved pecorino romano. Flickering TVs glint off glasses brimming robust red and white wines in the intimate eatery, as bartenders sling imported and domestic beers from gushing taps flecked with frothy foam and liquefied laughter.
Yes, there is such a thing as the American Cheese Society. What’s more, it’s an honor of the highest degree to be named a member of that society’s inaugural class of Certified Cheese Professionals. Fromager Dimitri Saad counts himself among that prestigious group, and one trip to Casellula Cheese & Wine Café is enough to see why. Saad has curated a menu of more than 40 cheeses from around the world. The menu is divided into five sections: fresh, bloomy, washed, pressed/cooked, and blue. Cheese isn’t all that Casellula has going for it. Proprietor and wine director Brian Keyser has carefully designed a wine list to accompany the cheese and food menus, the latter of which focuses on contemporary American cuisine. In another wine bar, this focus on gourmet food and drink might come with more than a hint of pretension. Not here—Casellula welcomes guests to dress casually and order in Pig Latin for all they care.