How long are you willing to wait for your next meal? Food fads like the Cronut, Pok Pok, and Ramen Burger have even habitually impatient New Yorkers lining up for hours. Check out these NYC culinary hot spots where longs lines are the norm, but the food is worth the wait:
When Chef Andy Ricker opened the Brooklyn outpost of his hugely popular Portland-based Thai restaurant, Pok Pok, the line wrapped around the block. Diners waited – sometimes for hours – for authentic, regional dishes with bold flavors, like sticky fish sauce wings, tangy papaya salad, and spicy shredded pork topped with cracklings. Long lines prevailed until Pok Pok opened Whiskey Soda Lounge across the street, turning the wait into a pre-dinner destination. Put in your name at Pok Pok, then head to Whiskey Soda Lounge for appetizers and Thai-inspired cocktails until your table is ready.
Burger & Fries
The line is so notoriously long at Shake Shack‘s original Madison Square Park location, a live “Shack Cam” allows you to virtually suss out the size of the crowd online before you stand on line. New York’s beloved Shack burgers and frozen custard shakes have gone international with stores opening in cities like London and Istanbul. Though the Madison Square Park location is closed for renovations through mid-2015, you can still stand on line at one of the city’s 10 additional Shake Shacks, including locations in Grand Central Station and JFK Airport’s Terminal 4.
There’s something about a New York-style pie that inspires pizza lovers to get in line. Some of the city’s longest food lines lead to iconic pizza joints like Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge and John’s on Bleecker Street. Expect to wait for a slice topped with San Marzano tomatoes and fresh cut basil at DiFara on Brooklyn’s Avenue J or for the namesake pizza at East Village’s Artichoke Basille, topped with artichoke hearts, spinach, cheese, and cream.
And then… the Cronut
If you haven’t tried a Cronut yet, you might want to get into line now, or consider hiring a professional line sitter. Pastry chef Dominique Ansel’s trademarked croissant-donut combination has critics raving and food fanatics lining up as early as 4am for a taste. Customers are limited to two Cronuts each, and the shop usually sells out of their daily 200-250 Cronut supply within an hour. If you can’t commit to waiting at the crack of dawn, you can always try your luck pre-ordering your Cronuts online.