Tuesday, 13 January 2009


Bleeker Street, named after Anthony Bleeker (1770 - 1827), a lawyer and poet, because the street ran through his farm (he deeded to the city a major portion of what is now Bleeker Street), is a vibrant and interesting street in the heart of Greenwich. It houses a plethora of speciality shops, stores, bars, nightclubs and a wide range of restaurants to suit most tastes and pockets.

From the many available, here is some comment about two of the eateries on Bleeker Street that are a little unique and are worthy of consideration.

Risotteria is a tiny restaurant on Bleeker (between 6th & 7th Avenues) that is easy to walk right past. But don't as you will be missing a good thing. Risotteria specialises in gluten-free risottos which are the equal of anywhere else in NYC but probably half the price. It also offers other Italian influenced cuisine including mean pizza's.

You can choose from 35 types of risottos; some based on Arborio rice, some on Vialone, and some on Carnaroli. A speciality is Vialone nano with Italian parsley and white trufle oil. If you are not in the mood for risotto, there is a selection of panini and a lot of pizzas. And don't forget the bread sticks! They are huge: crispy on the outside, moist and aromatic on the inside and they are on the house.
It is a small restaurant, though, so you won't have much privacy which some find adds to the charm and consider the people who come and go as part of the experience. More than half the menu is vegetarian.

In one of the most famous pizza cities in the world, John's Pizzeria is probably the number one choice of more New Yorkers than any other single restaurant and their location at 278, Bleeker Street puts them in a convenient spot for most travellers, but this pizza is worth going out of the way for even if it weren't. The city is mostly known for its famous giant and greasy cheese slices, but John's is so good at serving whole pies that their sign out front informs patrons about their "no slices" policy, so don't even ask.

John's was founded in 1929 by John Sasso, and the restaurant is still in its original location. They serve coal-fired, brick oven pizza, cooked in 850-degree ovens, and made to order. Among the oldest pizzerias in the city, John's captures the spirit of the New York thin crust, fresh toppings and fast service. With its family-friendly environment and loyal following, it serves thousands of people every week. Seating is in traditional, time-worn booths, surrounded by celebrity photos and New York memorabilia.

You can get pizza on almost every corner in Manhattan, but this place is really worth seeking out. The lines can be long, but they move fast, so get there a bit early and allow enough time for this unique treat.

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