I've been to the Westminster dog show a few times (about 9 to be exact.) It is a great time for dog lovers, and for people who love to visit cities, and to learn about and experience New York. Of course, on our Westminster Dog Show trip, we have a very good private tour of Manhattan which will give you a nice feel for the city if you've never been there before. And, since each guide brings their own unique take on things, it's fun to do these tours again, even if you've done one previously (or 4 times, as is the case with some of our Westminster clients).
Like our good canine friends, we spend a lot of time thinking about eating (though probably not as much as they do.)
New York has so many wonderful restaurants it's hard to go wrong. But here are a few of our favorites, that we'll revisit year after year, when we are looking for something familiar, and that we know will be fabulous.
One recommendation I can make to anyone joining us on our Westminster Dog Show tour is to pick up a copy of the New Yorker magazine a week or so before you join us. You may not agree with everything they have to say politically, but they are a great resource for what to do, where to eat, what play to see, and what art galleries to visit. And it's cheap, and it's available nationally,
On to the food!
Of course, countless hours have been spent arguing over which pizza joint is the best in New York. We aren't going to weigh in with any proclamations on that point. But – here are three that we recommend, where you absolutely can not go wrong.
1a) John's Pizzeria – In the West Village at 278 Bleeker Street (easy subway from Penn Station and a great area to explore). This is my favorite as it is old, funky, a bit cramped, and on a great street. Just a wonderful place to take a break, and have a great pizza.
1bonus) John's Pizzeria Times Square - More modern than the Bleeker Street location, but the pizza is just as good. This is a fairly easy walk from the New Yorker hotel to 260 W. 44th Street, and is a good option for before/after a Broadway performance.
2) Grimaldi's Pizzeria – OK, so many people will tell you this is the best there is! For a wonderful day, take the subway to Grimaldi's in the morning for an early lunch (helps you avoid the lines.) Then, walk back to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge. Awesome! Grimaldi's has this to say about their hand-built 25 ton pizza oven “Designed and built by hand, the coal-fired oven at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria delivers a unique flavor and consistency that is just not possible from wood or gas ovens. If you've got some time to kill, and want to read more about the politics of New York pizza, thisNona Brooklyn article is fascinating!
3) Angelo's Pizza – When you're tired from shopping along 5th Ave. (or visiting Rockefeller Center, or St. Patrick's Cathedral), you're lucky to be near one of New York's top 10 pizzas! Angelo's is a two story restaurant at 1043 2nd Ave.
Keens Steakhouse – OMG! I'm seriously thinking about getting a plane to New York tonight just so I can go to Keens! 72 West 36th Street. The setting is a fabulous old building comprised of individual rooms with a wonderful cozy bar, decorated with antique churchwarden pipes, accolades and interesting artwork. But you aren't here for that. The steak is dry-aged and absolutely wonderful. Katie and I will get the Chateaubriand for two which comes with a nice assortment of roasted vegetables. That way she can have the medium parts, and I can have the medium-rare to rare. Make a reservation.
Everyone knows you can get great Italian food in New York and we've already covered pizza. About 10 years ago, Katie and I were visiting New York in October to go see the annual Halloween parade in Greenwich Village. I highly recommend attending this parade if you ever have the opportunity! Eventually we got hungry, and found what is probably our favorite Italian restaurant ever:
Lupa Osteria Roman – So, we found Lupa, and ended up sitting at a communal picnic table with a bunch of other Halloween parade attendees, and a foodie from somewhere in Canada (I've forgotten his name.) “The Foodie” ended up ordering for all of us, and it was just wonderful. We used the glossary/translations on the back of the menu to figure out what we were eating, and have been back many times since. Located at 170 Thompson Street, this restaurant is part of the Mario Batali family of restaurants, and is definitely worth a visit. They have normal non-communal tables as well.
Tir Na Nog
Stout – Stout is located right across from Madison Square Garden. When the day session of the Westminster Dog Show still took place at MSG, this is where you'd probably find me for lunch. It's pretty much a sports bar, but with a little more class. And they have an excellent draught and bottle beer selection if that's your thing. The food is descent, and this is just a comfortable place to relax, have lunch, and see what's happening. 133 West 33rd Street.
Tir Na Nog – This Irish Pub is in the same neighborhood as Stout, literally in respect to location, and food. But, TNN is a bit calmer, a bit more charming (with fewer televisions), has better food, and is bit more expensive. If it is really cold in New York, or snowing, TNN at 5 Penn Plaza is a nice short 1 block away from the New Yorker hotel.
Last but not least...
The new location of the Westminster Dog Show day sessions is Piers 92 and 94 located at 55th street and the West Side Highway. This is better for the dog show and the Westminster Kennel Club, as there is more space for the dogs and for judging, grooming, benching and etc. It's a little worse for the tourists, as the food offerings at the actual facility aren't great, and you aren't as close to restaurants as we were when the day session was at Madison Square Garden.
If it isn't too cold, or you're up for a stroll anyway, I can highly recommend Pure Thai Cookhouse in Hell's kitchen at 766 9th Ave (between 51st and 52nd streets). This tiny spot is just loaded with charm, and offers wonderful vegetarian options, a fabulous spicy mango salad, and many other great Thai dishes. Well worth the .6 mile walk!
Join us at the Westminster Dog Show in New York City
Want to learn more about our annual trip to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York city? Please visit our Westminster website at www.Go2Westminster.com for more details, or to request a free brochure.