This weekend, the Governors Ball descends on Randall’s Island Park, which means it’s time to gear up for more than 65 of your favorite musical acts for a three-day-long fete of tunes, food, and art. Just in case your growling stomach starts to get as loud as the headliners, rest assured — more than 50 local vendors will be offering enough food and drink options to keep your energy sky-high all weekend long. (And between Chance the Rapper, Childish Gambino, Lorde, and Phoenix, we’re guessing you’ll need to.) To help narrow down the playing field a bit, we’ve rounded up our top eleven spots to check out between sets — ensuring you’ll get your fill of New York City’s finest, without missing a beat.
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
Expect a solid lineup of classic flavors and toppings from this artisanal ice cream shop, which offers vegan scoops made with fresh cashew milk, coconut milk, cocoa butter, and extra-virgin coconut oil along with its more standard fare. Sundaes and Virgil’s Root Beer floats will be on tap, too.
The number one rule of music fests? Stay hydrated. Do it with flair at John’s Juice, the Smorgasburg destination that has gained major Instagram cred thanks to its “all juice, no cups” policy — i.e., all juice is served up in the fruit it’s sourced from. Come show time, try flavors like watermelon, pineapple, orange, grapefruit, and dragonfruit.
This Bushwick favorite is selling nine-inch personal pizzas that are cooked to order in minutes with its wood-fired ovens on wheels — meaning you can forget about the hours-long wait times you’ve had to endure for its pies otherwise.
For an icy treat that’s as fun to gaze at as it is to eat, it’s all about Taiyaki, Little Italy’s Japanese ice cream shop that’s known for clever flavors served in a fish-shaped waffle cone. This weekend it’s doing up matcha two ways: in lemonade or in ice cream form, complete with its signature taiyaki cone.
Your weekend bender just got a lot healthier thanks to Farmstand, a salad shop that sources all its ingredients within 150 miles of the city. That translates to options like green leaf and butter lettuce with tomatoes, radishes, carrots, and ginger dressing; romaine with house-made bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes, and green goddess herb dressing; and red leaf lettuce with melon, goat cheese, and smoked honey balsamic dressing.
This seafood-centric eatery opened doors in the East Village back in 2009. Nowadays, it’s supplying East Coast fixings to cities nationwide, from Philly and Chicago to Vegas and Boston, making it easier than ever to try what it does best: Cape Cod chips and rolls aplenty, including lobster, crab, and shrimp.
This small-batch doughnut shop is big on options. Gather a crowd to sample Mexican-inspired flavors like dulce de leche, hibiscus, and blood orange, or stick to the classics like lemon poppy seed and cinnamon sugar.
For good, old-fashioned comfort, nothing tops a visit to Melt Shop, experts in our favorite kind of throwback: grilled cheese. Gooey goodness abounds this weekend in sandwich combos like maple bacon–sharp cheddar, brick spread, and maple bacon on white. Gluten-averse? They’ve got you covered, too.
If you’re looking to cool down quick, La Newyorkina’s paleta are your go-to. The West Village shop makes these Mexican ice pops in a roster of flavors that run the gamut, from mango chile, cucumber lime, and passion fruit to Mexican chocolate, horchata, and coffee.
The Bao Shoppe
Just one reason we love bao? How easy it is to eat — especially when you’re busy doing other things, like holding beer and finding idyllic Instagram filters. The pros thought of everything when they brought in this bao menu for the weekend, for which buns will take on protein fillers like pork belly, shrimp tempura, tofu, and lemongrass chicken.
Those craving tacos can head straight to Tacombi, where house-made nixtamal corn tortillas serve as the building block for three variations: carnitas (with slow-roasted heritage pork and escabeche), Pollo Yucateco (with roasted free-range chicken, pickled red onions, and tomatillo salsa), and black bean and sweet potato (with refried black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, queso fresco, and dried chile salsa).