9 Unusual NYC Twists On Our Favorite Foods

Ashley Jones

In a city that must nourish a population over eight million, in addition to millions of visitors per year, New York City restaurants must cater to every belly-rumbling individual in incredibly exceptional and creative ways. Don’t settle for traditional cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizzas, live the bohemian lifestyle that makes New York New York, and try nine of the city’s most deliciously unconventional adaptations of everyday food favorites.


1. Deep-Fried Pizza Slices

Restaurant, Fish and Chip Shop, Pub, Seafood, Pub Grub

Peanut Butter & Co. Storefront
© Courtesy of Peanut Butter & Co.V
When it comes to the classic Italian pie, it’s a little difficult to find something that counts as ‘unusual,’ considering that just about everything has had a good run as a pizza topping. However, what makes The Atlantic ChipShop’s pizza so unique isn’t exactly what’s on it as much as what the pizza itself is put in. At this English-based eatery, the cooks borrow the Scottish technique of deep-frying their pizza slices. The method involves immersing their pizza slices in a homemade batter prior to placing them in the deep fryer. The pizza’s coating is light and crispy, and very much reminiscent of a pizza pocket. This is definitely the item to help celebrate your next all-out carb fest.

2. Dark Chocolate Dreams Sandwich®

Sandwich Shop, American, Vegetarian

Mmm... The classic soup and sammy combo
© jeffreyw/Flickr
Gone are the days where your biggest decisions for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are simply choosing grape or strawberry jelly, and crust or no crust. Peanut Butter & Co. is a company dedicated to selling scrumptious, innovative, and adaptive peanut butters of various textures and flavors. Their cozy sandwich shop utilizes these products to create some of the most intriguing peanut butter sandwiches around, such as The Pregnant Lady and The Cookie Dough Surprise. But, their enchanting sandwich-meets-dessert item, The Dark Chocolate Dreams® sandwich, is a twist on PB&J that you won’t forget. Dark chocolate peanut butter slathered against rich cherry jam and stuffed with shredded coconut. Their slogan, ‘Taste amazing!’, couldn’t be more accurate.

3. An Apple a Day

Sandwich Shop, Pub Grub

© Niklas Rhöse/Flickr
Grilled cheese sandwiches have been a quick and easy staple dinner option for tired parents for years; you heat up a couple slices of cheese between two pieces of bread; if you’re adventurous you’ll add some bacon, and five minutes later dinner is ready. But, The Pullman Kitchen is bringing a little more thrill and complexity to the common dish. An Apple a Day is a great autumn sandwich which includes NY state apple, melted brie, baby arugula, and honey mustard on multi-grain Pullman bread. If the sound of that doesn’t draw you in, perhaps you may wish to accept the challenge of beating ‘the Beast,’ a five-pound grilled cheese with multiple meats and cheeses, tomato, peppers, and waffles on sourdough – game on.

4. Filthy Burger

Restaurant, American

© 16:9clue/Flickr
The filthy burger at Thunder Jackson’s is disgustingly good. However, don’t expect the standard cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion combo. Cooks at this spot are open-minded and creative, and customers who order this item should maintain that same mindset. The burger is first dipped in honey (so anyone with a sweet tooth is sure to find heaven in the first bite) and then covered with a garlic aioli sauce. The burger comes with your choice of a side, homemade ketchup, and truffle mayo. As a recommendation, get the fries and add a few to the burger itself, sweet and salty never tasted so delicious. Stop in for lunch between 11:30 and 3:00, Monday-Friday to get the $8 burger and beer special.

5. The Smashed Hit

Restaurant, American, Fast Food

© Jeremy Keith/Flickr
Thanks to Potatopia, potatoes have finally become a main course, rather than a simple side dish, and have rightfully joined fellow food favorites in the ‘made-to-order’ world. As you approach the Potatopia counter, you’ll see dozens of cheeses, toppings, and sauces to add to your red potatoes: Idaho potatoes, Cajun curly fries, waffle fries, and so many others. If your mind is too blown to create something yourself, there are incredible signature dishes to choose from as well. The Smashed Hit truly lives up to its title, complete with red potatoes, chicken, parmesan and cheddar cheeses, onion, garlic, cilantro, and a savory roasted pepper aioli. Other choices include the Veggie Heavy, Southern Backyard BBQ, and The Steakhouse.

6. Waffle-Pressed Mac 'n' Cheese


$5 cereal milk™ soft serve
© Courtesy of Momofuku Milk Bar
First, there was fried chicken and waffles. Then, there was the all too misleading waffle fry. Now, Arrogant Swine is just as well-known for their waffle-pressed mac ‘n’ cheese as they are for their signature Southern BBQ. Whether you wish to call this a variation on waffles or mac ‘n’ cheese is up to you, but either way it’s definitely a rarity. The treat is exactly like it sounds, the mac ‘n’ cheese is literally embedded in an iron-pressed waffle. This method creates a crunchy, yet satisfyingly soft and chewy texture. The inventive dish is a regular favorite, and one of the most recommended items on the menu. Those of you who adore baked mac ‘n’ cheese, this is definitely an item to try.

7. Cereal Milk Ice Cream

Dessert Shop, Bar, Pastry Shop, Dessert

Yeti Tracks: Yeti Food Combo
Image Courtesy of Emile Succar
Have you ever found yourself shoveling Frosted Flakes or Trix down your throat, more eager to gulp the milk left over at the bottom of your bowl than enjoying the taste of the actual cereal itself? Then nobody understands your desires like the folks at Momofuku Milk Bar. Infamously known for their apparently ‘accidental’ desserts, their signature treat is none other than Cereal Milk-flavored soft serve. Brown sugar, corn flakes, and salt are the central ingredients behind the sweet milk-flavored ice cream, along with simple care and perfection. Admittedly, the first couple licks will have your brain trying to make sense of the familiar taste in such an odd form. But, five minutes later you’ll already be back in line buying seconds.

8. Good Morning Hot Dog

Restaurant, American

Hot dogs have long been the crowning lunchtime glory of babysitters, cookout connoisseurs, and baseball parks everywhere. But who says you can’t have them for breakfast? Forget the ordinary bagel-and-egg sandwich, stash the mustard and relish, and opt for the more satisfying bacon-wrapped hot dog over a fried egg and melted cheese delicately nuzzled in a fresh bun. As for a side dish? Ditch the hash browns for some cheese-covered tater tots instead. If you’re still not sold on the breakfast idea, try some of Crif Dogs’ other signature items like the Tsunami or the Spicy Redneck. Your wallet will thank you as much as your taste buds, specialty dogs are roughly $5.95, and Crif Dogs always has awesome combo deals.

9. Chapulines Tacos

Restaurant, Mexican

At Toloache, there are some really thoughtful items on their menu. Veggies are perfectly paired with just the right meats, spices, salsas, and cheeses, and the list of tacos is so mouthwatering you may look right over what the Chapulines taco actually contains; unless you’re an entomologist. Chapulines are actually grasshoppers native to and commonly eaten in Mexico. So while this specific taco may not contain the typical beef or chicken, it is stuffed with Oaxacan-style dried grasshoppers, onions, cilantro, jalapeño, and salsa verde. The taste is undeniably crunchy and savory, so don’t let those little bugs intimidate you.

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