Never a Dull Moment on the Lower East Side

This viscous guard Chihuahua all dressed up for 9/11 did its best shark-from-Jaws impression for me when I peaked in the door of an Orchard Street Art Gallery.  Scary!

I was on my way to pick up a Sandwich at my favorite sandwich shop Cheeky’s.  I wrote about Cheeky Sandwiches a fair amount when it first opened.  Owner and frequent sandwich maker Din started this small New Orleans style shack around 2 years ago and since then it has been making a name for itself as one of the best makers of sandwiches in town.  My favorites are the Po Boy (I always get half oyster and half shrimp) and the egg and cheese on a biscuit too yummy.

Chips,  soda, and even Chicory coffee are all from the big easy.

And over the years beer and wine have been added.  I love the use of old garden tools for the beer taps.



The thing that has always made Cheeky so damn good is the insistence by Din on the best products available, the meat is all from sustainable, humanely raised animals, the cheese is locally sourced from Saxelby Cheesemongers and even the Po Boy buns are specially imported from new Orleans (or at least were when I last spoke to Din ages ago).

The good news is after creating a successful sandwich shop there is now talk of a restaurant downstairs, the concept, which strikes me as very New Orleans in sensibility is   an over night place, open for dinner, and drinks, and more drinks and then when the bar closes at 4 a.m you can have breakfast till, well whenever it is Din decides Breakfast is over (more details to come).

Just down Orchard street from Cheeky, what used to be a dive bar is slowly transitioning into a cute looking place called Leadbelly.  Underneath the name it says: Oysters and Liquor.  What could be bad? 

The people behind the uber-hip Fat Radish seem to be taking over lower Orchard as this will be their third place in a mere two blocks (the other one Lost Weekend in NYC which is serving Blue Bottle Coffee, one of my favorite coffee roasters which originally hails from Oakland, CA).

The last place I want to mention in this round-up of neat places to eat on the Lower East Side is of particular note because of its location. Rustic LES is pushing the boundaries by opening up a bistro on Ridge street.  2 blocks east of Clinton in a no man’s land between the new trendy Lower East Side and the older house project dense Lower East Side.

They’ve done a wonderful job in creating a cozy Williamsburg-esque cafe specializing organic Moroccan Mediterranean I can’t wait to eat here.  You know that anyone who is willing to push the boundary’s like these folks are obviously very dedicated to having their own restaurant (which is also obvious by the menu and the space they have created).  Obviously, to me at least, this is also a sign of how the neighborhood is changing,  each year some brave entrepreneur pushes the boundaries, this year it resulted in a restaurant on Ridge street soon who knows, I predict trendy bars on Pitt street!







About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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