Well, it’s official. Fall is here. Air conditioners are being traded for down comforters, leaves are changing from green to orange to red, and for the first time in what seems like forever, a jacket is necessary for the morning commute. But just because the weather’s a little crisp doesn’t mean we need to lock ourselves indoors until next spring.
Especially since twice a year, Madison Square Park transforms into Madison Square Eats, an outdoor, European-style pop-up market that’s quickly become one of our favorite al fresco dining destinations. Now in its fifth year, the fall market is being held from September 27th to October 25th, and is open from 11am to 9pm to satisfy any and all food cravings. Thinking tacos? Try the smoked meat-stuffed tortillas at Daniel Delaney’s BrisketTown. Want something salty? There’s the always the delicious, doughy twists at Sigmund’s Pretzel Shop. But with 28 restaurants and food trucks to choose from (including 4 newcomers this year), the list of options can be a bit daunting. So we did some legwork and drew up the ultimate Madison Square Eats menu to make it a lot easier… so start savoring!
Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So make sure you start your Madison Square Eats crawl off right with coffee and a fresh-baked doughnut from Doughnuttery. Miles away from your standard Dunkin’ Donuts specimens, these sweets boast creative flavor combinations you won’t be able to resist. Sample their “Mulled Apple Cider” doughnut, packed with fall spices, green apple and orange zest. Or, if you’re not ready for the summer to end, try the “Pineapple Pows,” an appealingly tropical treat made with pineapple, wasabi and ginger. Can’t take the sugar overload? This Chelsea-based shop even does savory donuts, like the “Cheesy Poof,” studded with cheddar cheese, sweet corn and jalapeno.
Mayhem and Stout
For your main meal, you have to try the earth-shattering slow braised sandwiches at Mayhem and Stout. Build your own by choosing from a selection of meats, like Short Rib and Brisket, surprisingly tender Pulled Chicken or even Mock “Meat” balls for veggie lovers. And the sky’s the limit when it comes to add-ons and sauces, like Pickled Celery and Spicy Slaw, Blueberry Sriracha and Blue Cheese Aioli. Or you can always let Mayhem and Stout serve you one of their tried-and-true combos, like Braised Lamb Shoulder with Red Harissa, Tahini Aioli and Tzatziki as well as Braised Pork Shoulder with Black Cherry Mustard and Roasted Kale.
It ain’t often you can walk down a city street in Manhattan and grab a freshly made French crepe, so you’ll want to seize the opportunity here. Bar Suzette specializes not just in sweet, but also savory crepe offerings, like the “Truffled Hummus” with housemade Chickpea Hummus, Fresh Vegetables, Market Greens and Truffle Oil, or the “Squash & Goat Cheese” with Yellow and Green Squash, Cucumber and Carrots, Goat Cheese, Dijonaise and Basil Oil. For dessert, there’s a fantastic slew of sweet options, filled with Lemon and Sugar, Chocolate and Coconut or Nutella and Bananas. Délicieux!
Mimi and Coco
If you’re looking for something on the exotic side, stop by Mimi and Coco’s stand for “New York Style Japanese Street Food.” They specialize in deep-fried Teriyaki Balls, a traditional Japanese street snack stuffed with juicy Shrimp, Country Sausage, chewy Cheese or organic Potatoes, and topped with Teriyaki Sauce, Tempura Flakes and Sliced Almonds. Trust us, you won’t find anything like them anywhere else in the park!
Stuffed Artisan Cannoli
These inventive, Lower East Side cannoli makers first debuted their now famous Italian desserts five years ago at the Feast of San Gennaro and their roving street cart has been a neighborhood favorite ever since. This year, you can snag one of their portable pastries while strolling through Madison Square Park. These aren’t just any old cannoli flavors. Stuffed Artisan Cannoli dreams up super seasonal options the likes of Pumpkin Pie, Candy Corn, Sweet Potato Cannoli, or even a boozy Cannoli infused with Limoncello, Cognac, Frangelico or Chambord Black Cherry – a cocktail and dessert in one!
The ice cream sandwiches at Melt Bakery go way beyond the simple vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookies, although the classic option is still there for purists. Personally, we’d rather take advantage of Melt’s one-of-a-kind combinations, like the “Morticia” (crackly chocolate cookies with malted chocolate rum ice cream), the “Lovelet” (red velvet cakes with cream cheese icing), or the “Elvis” (peanut butter cookies with banana ice cream). We only wish they’d found a way to sneak in some bacon, too!
This Brooklyn-based confectionary is a must for devoted choco-holics. They change out their sweet offerings often, but that’s half the fun. Try Petit Truffles pumped full of Hazelnut, Prosecco, or Sake Ganache one day, or simple artisan Chocolate Bars made with light (36%) or dark (70%) chocolate the next. Did we mention the beer chocolates or their signature, salt caramels? They’re the perfect ending to an afternoon full of serious eating at Madison Square Park; just make sure to schedule a nap in afterwards. Because how else can you be expected to do this all over again tomorrow? So much to try, so little time…