Of all the holiday markets in the city, the one at Bryant Park offers the most entertainment. You can go ice skating, ride a carousel, play chess, and much more. Food-wise it’s a little hit-or-miss, though it’s certainly better than its neighbor, the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair, which is completely devoid of food. At Bryant Park, you’ll encounter several eateries you’ll find at the other markets, like the MMM … Enfes Turkish stand and Wafels & Dinges, which has hit up nearly every market. Some spots were also big disappointments (sorry, Dumpling Soup House and ‘Wichcraft Hot Chocolate), but we found a few edible gems in the rough. Here are our four favorite stalls.
Daisy’s Grits: Who says you have to warm up with hot apple cider? Why not go with grits, the Southern breakfast staple? At this stand, you can get cornmeal fashioned in nearly every way imaginable, from a four-cheese-packed option to an Asian-influenced rendition accented with spinach and soy sauce to a gumbo-sauced one. The steaming bowls are creamy and hearty, and, best of all, can be enjoyed any time of the day.
Aroma: Israeli coffee chain Aroma has set up shop at the market, and it’s a good place to stop by for a coffee drink or light snack. The espresso drinks are well-made — not to mention a tastier option than the hot apple cider seller a few stalls away.
Southwest Airlines’ Beer Garden: Yes, this one is a promotional gimmick, but Southwest has created a truly lovely outdoor beer garden for lounging. The space is flush with chairs and even has firepits (!) to cozy up next to. Grab a brewski and while away the early evening with friends.
Churros Stand: And for sweets, you’ll either want to go for the churros or a snap up a treat from one of the chocolate vendors. But you can really have both at the churros stand, thanks to Nutella-topped churros, so that really solves the dilemma, no? The fried sticks could be slightly more pliant, but they’re warm and sugary, a good snack while watching the ice skaters bang into each other.
All in all, OK eats at the Bryant Park Holiday Shops. But fear not, we’ve saved the best for last tomorrow!