The Eleven Best Restaurants for Munchies in NYC, 2015

Question for you, New York: Are you more of a wake-and-baker or a late-night social smoker? Do you get high to ponder the meaning of life, or are you forever chasing the euphoria of the first time you smoked and then laughed until you couldn't breathe? Do you smoke at all? Maybe you forgo the weed for good old friendly alcohol? No matter how you like to get your buzz, New York City is a veritable playground for feeding your resulting munchies. Back away from the $1 slice of pizza and head to one of these eleven places instead.

Wake-and-Bake Destinations

The Queens Kickshaw (40-17 Broadway, Queens; 718-777-0913) Ben Sandler and Jennifer Lim's Astoria café has been ground zero for superlative grilled cheese ever since opening in 2011 — the restaurant serves the creamy, crunchy delicacy starting at dawn. The indulgent breakfast sandwich banks on a double dose of queso: Silky, milky ricotta joins just-cooked eggs on pillowy Balthazar brioche, the outside of which comes encased in a crisp of browned gruyère. If your good morning vibes take you to an adventurous place (figuratively speaking), there are versions with blue cheese and prune jam on cranberry-walnut bread, and manchego pressed between slices of herbed focaccia. — Zachary Feldman

The Eleven Best Restaurants for Munchies in NYC, 2015
Adam Robb for the Village Voice

Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream (2 Rivington Street, 212-209-7684) High or not, ice cream for breakfast is always the right call. Mornings at Nick Morgenstern's Lower East Side scoop shop — known for the enterprising chef's exacting approach to flavors (including five separate expressions each of vanilla and chocolate) — feature composed breakfast desserts like avocado toast that finds avocado ice cream spread across thick slices of Japanese milk bread toast and drizzled with olive oil, and salt-and-pepper bread pudding with beets and cultured yogurt. Best of all, everything on the menu is under $10, and most of it is decadent enough to share. — Zachary Feldman

The Eleven Best Restaurants for Munchies in NYC, 2015

Barney Greengrass (541 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-724-4707) Let third-generation owner Gary Greengrass be your groovy seafood shaman at this 107-year-old smoked-fish emporium on the Upper West Side, the oldest surviving appetizing counter and restaurant in the city. Meaty, pearly white sturgeon and creamy whitefish hit the table as hard as you do your vaporizer thanks to the no-bullshit waitstaff, who add to the beige dining room's time-capsule appeal. Stop by the long counter up front on the way out to keep the party going into the afternoon. What's better than an afternoon nap? An afternoon nap with lox on the other side. — Zachary Feldman

The Eleven Best Restaurants for Munchies in NYC, 2015

Shopsin's General Store (120 Essex Street, no phone) The 1,000+-item menu at the Shopsin family's Essex Street Market café routinely stymies even sober diners, so try to take a look at the Talmudic document beforehand. Dishes like pastrami reuben latkes and mac 'n' cheese pancakes were made for hazy mornings, and specials bring new meaning to the word (eggs and gumbo cheese grits with a slab of batter-fried cinnamon cornbread, for example). Patriarch Kenny Shopsin presides over the controlled chaos, a man with enough character for several entertainment franchises. — Zachary Feldman



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