There’s an entire world of restaurants within the borders of New York City. Frankly, I find it hard to give a shit about the newest opening, ambitious concept, or chef’s achievement when virtually the entire world also exists within the borders of New York City.

It exists in the form of a bowl of Xi’an hand-pulled noodles, a Brooklyn brisket sandwich, a pair of Jamaican patties, a prized Venezuelan patacon, a Sichuanese ma-la salad, a shard of Filipino-style deep fried pork knuckle, and countless other meals that so densely populate this city that one could lose sleep over the prospect of ever experiencing them all. It exists in affordable, accessible, exciting food that (if we’re lucky) will forever outnumber its fine dining counterparts at pennies on the dollar.

Yet this world rarely finds itself in the spotlight when it comes time for the food writers of lifestyle magazines to represent New York’s culinary communities. Nowhere is this clearer than in “cheap eats” lists that are too often anything but. I don’t mind New York being represented to the rest of the world as a glamorous restaurant capital, and I was overjoyed to see New York Magazine stepping up to give Queens the coverage it deserves in their guide this year, but to define “cheap” as less than $25 or even less than $15 is to beg for a second opinion.

With the launch of Real Cheap Eats NYC, New Yorkers now have one. In fact, they have more than one: this simply designed digest of cheap eats highlights 123 recommendations from over 20 New York food bloggers, including heavyweight explorers, seasoned journalists, prolific bloggers and local experts. It does so in a guide that’s meant to be used, not repeatedly clicked through for the sake of page-view statistics. And it’s entirely free of charge.

If you live in New York or plan on making a trip here this summer, check out the guide and let me know how to make it better. This is a project that can only accrue value from year to year, and it’s something all of us on the Real Cheap Eats team are exceptionally proud to offer to the city that inspires us.


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