Technically, the fourth celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but these days, the holiday is about the food and there’s plenty of ways to eat patriotically in New York. Restaurants are getting in the spirit with everything from red, white & blue potato salad to barbecue, pies, and of course, the grand daddy of all eating competitions – Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island.
Nathan’s Famous – Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest
Address: 13-10 Surf Avenue, at Stillwell Ave. (Coney Island)
While it’s not quite the World Series or The Super Bowl, Coney Island’s 95th annual hot dog eat-off is an American athletic tradition too. If you want to see for yourself, head over to this historic eatery on the boardwalk to watch competitors scarf down more than 60 franks in 10 minutes. This year U.S. favorite and three-time champion, Joey Chestnut, is looking to dominate again and he has a pretty good chance since his rival, Takeru Kobayashi, dropped out of the contest. His biggest threat is number two ranked eater, Bob “The Veggie Phenom” Shoudt, a part-time vegetarian who happened to beat Joey in ribs, grits and spaghetti chili-eating contests this year. Get a few orders of their famous, crinkle fries and watch the gluttony first hand.
Good Enough To Eat – July Fourth Menu
Address: 483 Amsterdam Avenue bet. 83rd and 84th Streets
Phone: (212) 496-0163
This comfort food spot is really getting into the spirit with a “Red, White and Blue Menu,” a $20 prix-fixe that comes with a complimentary glass of wine or a blue-tinted cocktail along with flag-colored grub. The menu features picnic staples, like fried chicken, chili and bacon-wrapped hot dogs. “Blue” and “White,” are sides and desserts, such as fried pickles and blueberry pie, but we’re stuck on the potato salad with Red Bliss, Idaho and fingerling potatoes.
Pera – Mediterranean BBQ
Address: 303 Madison Avenue bet. 41st & 42nd Sts.
Phone: (212) 878-6301
Americans aren’t only ones who make a mean BBQ, at least that’s what this Turkish-bent eatery is hoping to prove this July Fourth. Before the fireworks, New Yorkers can feast on succulent meats grilled the Greek way. There will be plenty of lamb & steak kebabs with yogurt sauce as well as lamb ribs and chicken brochette. To start, you can can graze on traditional Mediterranean meze, including a uniquely warm hummus with housemade lavash chips, homemade yogurt, and watermelon & feta salad.
230 Fifth – Rooftop Garden with a Killer View
Address: 230 Fifth Avenue near 27th Street
Phone: (212) 725-4300
This sprawling rooftop, furbished in tropical décor, offers fantastic views of the fireworks, plus plenty of cocktails. Get in the Fourth of July spirit with red, white or blue mixed drinks, like a raspberry mojito, blueberry lemonade or the “White Peach” made with rum, peach puree and Peach Schnapps. 230 Fifth also has an impressive brunch menu with an oyster omelet and French toast spiked with Grand Mariner and Bailey’s.
Lemon Ice King of Corona – Fireworks & Ices
Address: 52-02 108th Street
Phone: (718) 699-5133
Before you watch the fireworks in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, make a pit stop at this nearby Italian ice institution. The Lemon Ice King has been dishing out its dozens of flavors – many of which are made with real fruit – for more than 60 years and it’s still going strong. Of course, we love the lemon, but peach, vanilla, chocolate chip and pistachio are also winners. Kick back in the park with a cup and enjoy watching the sky being lit up.
Kyotofu – Patriotic Cupcakes & July 4th Brunch
Address: 705 9th Avenue bet. 48th and 49th streets
Phone: (212) 974-6012
The Fourth is the perfect day for a picnic, so why not pick up supplies from one of the West Side’s most innovative Asian restaurants. Try Kyotofu’s “Indepence Day Platters,” which feeds as many as 15 and includes chicken and tofu sliders along with sake-infused mac & cheese. Kyotofu’s known for its sweet confections, so save lots of room for their red velvet and yuzu-blueberry mini cupcakes. Both are sensational. And if you’re in the mood for an atypical Sunday brunch, there’s a $16, three-course menu that concludes with the restaurants’ signature, red velvet cupcake. This is the essence of East meets West.