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A Slow Weekend in New York City

by Michelle DiMuzio, Slow Food USA editorial intern

Snail of Approval 2021Slow Weekends is a travel series from Slow Food USA that highlights businesses that have been awarded the Snail of Approval award. This distinguished recognition is given to food businesses that make meaningful commitments to the environment, local communities, employees and purveyors, and advance justice and work to end oppression in food systems and beyond.

On one block you smell the fresh dough of bagels, taste the smokiness of pastrami, and see colorful, round pizzas. Turn the corner and you are met with aromas of falafel, fried chicken, and dumplings. New York City, one of the most iconic food cities in the world, is filled with diverse restaurants, markets, and food businesses. For our first installation of our Slow Weekends series, we are taking you on a nice leisurely weekend through New York City via our Snail of Approval winners. Learn more about our recently launched national Snail of Approval awards on our website.

Start the weekend off with brunch at Cookshop, a light-filled, buzzy restaurant, where seasonal fare and an appreciation for clean food is evident. The name Cookshop comes from the 1800’s term insinuating a private home in which simple food is prepared. Owners Vicki Freeman and Chris Paraskevaides, alongside Chef Marc Meyer, prioritize the “relationship between the vitality of a restaurant and the viability of the earth’s offerings.”

After taking a stroll along the Hudson River, stop by Saxelby Cheese, New York City’s first all-American cheese shop. The Saxelby Cheesemongers honor their relationships with cheesemakers and share their knowledge of seasonal cheesemaking. Owner Anne Saxelby is “dedicated to supporting sustainable, regenerative agriculture, bolstering rural economies, and ensuring the American artisan cheese revolution continues to thrive and grow.”

Take in some sights at Washington Square Park, and then head to Pearl Oyster Bar, an iconic restaurant for small plates. Considered to be one of the first restaurants to offer lobster rolls in NYC, Pearl Oyster Bar has been serving Maine-style seafood for decades. Owner and Chef Rebecca Charles prides herself on providing fresh, simple, and good seafood. The minimal and clean décor of the restaurant reflect these values, showcasing the best in NYC seafood.

Finish the day off with a nightcap at June, a natural wine bar showcasing European wines and locally sourced small plates. A romantic atmosphere pairs with June’s appreciation for fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients, helping to put natural, organic wine on the map in NYC.

Fuel up for your final day in NYC with some coffee and breakfast at Marlow & Sons, a trendy respite featuring hyper-seasonal, farm-fresh fare with an ever-changing menu. Andrew Tarlow, who also owns Diner and Marlow and Daughters, a whole animal butcher shop, values working with local farmers, and has curated a sustainable food enterprise. 

Spend the rest of your day meandering through Brooklyn, eventually ending up at the neighborhood eatery Lot 2 for your last full meal. A perfect wind-down to end your weekend, you will feel right at home in this cozy spot, with dishes that are centered around local ingredients. Owner Daniel Rojo creates simple, yet delectable dishes where he lets the ingredients shine.

To cap off the weekend, make your final stop at Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain to conclude with a sweet treat. This reinvented Farmacy pays homage to the 1920s apothecary store in Brooklyn, where it is housed. The magic and history of this establishment is felt the minute you step foot inside – soak it all in with egg creams and milkshakes to conclude a nice, slow weekend in New York City.

Special thanks to our friends at Slow Food NYC, who were pioneers on the snail trail and helped get the program started in the US!

Cover photo by Timo Wielink.