BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
What’s On… East 1st Street? (Between 1st and 2nd Avenue)
East 1st Street between First and Second avenues has only recently become the block of wonderful brunch spots and restaurants it is today. Mostly a residential block, once with a public school and a smattering of shops has had a history ranging from a mirror company specializing in non-reversing mirrors, a gambling themed store, and Justus Schwab’s Saloon; a watering hole owned by socialist Justus Schwab whose regulars included famed anarchist Emma Goldman. Justus Schwab’s was the go to hangout for the radical movement of the late 19th century. Now, we can enjoy this block as the edge of the East Village and the start of the Lower East side both known for their rich histories and restaurants and nightlife of today.
43 East 1st Street – Cozy Cafe
Although the staff is pushy and the music blaring, the selection of hookah is wide and chances are, you’ll have a rowdy good time. Probably best set for the NYU crowd, Cozy Cafe delivers when you want some unique hookah in a pinch.
45 East 1st Street – Joe Doe
Fried Matzo, anyone? While their famous fried Matzo put them on the map, Joe Doe is full of many other delectable bites – all your favorites re-created with a menu that changes seasonally. Service can be on the harsh side, so mind your manners. *Try the ‘prepared beers’ for a unique treat and check out the newly opened JoeDough sandwich shop!
54 East 1st Street – Prune
Chef/owner Gabrielle Hamilton packs ‘em in (especially for brunch) at Prune. Be prepared for a wait (a no res policy for weekend brunch) to taste her menu, comprised of comforting yet simple and inspired American. The bone marrow is the winner for dinner, but for brunch every menu item is better than the last. Check out her new book, ‘Blood, Bones, and Butter’.
58 East 1st Street – Prima
Opened about 2 months ago, Prima is all about the seafood. A set-up reminiscent of a steakhouse, allows you to choose your fish and its preparation along with a selection of vegetable sides. Ask the bartender to mix you one of their stellar cocktails to complement your fish – or ask your waiter what might pair superbly with your cocktail.
64 East 1st Street – La Vie
At La Vie restaurant and hookah lounge, stick with the dancing and hookah and skip the restaurant. Though more club than laid back hookah lounge; La Vie delivers if you’re looking for a stress free night out. *Try the reasonably priced bottle service with your hookah for the best experience here.
68 East 1st Street – Tuck Shop
Tuck Shop, the go to Aussie Bakery for a different kind of pie. Meat pies abound here, fresh or frozen to take home and cook later. Try the traditional for a real taste of Australia and don’t forget to wash it down with one of their homemade sodas. *If you can’t get to Tuck Shop on 1st Street, try one of their other locations – St. Mark’s Place and Chelsea Market!
70 East 1st Street – The Juice Press
For serious juice heads (the good kind) and smoothie fanatics, the Juice Press is the place to be. Although it’ll cost you, it’s completely worth it – say fans of the cold pressed juices, smoothies, and raw food which are also available for delivery.
72 East 1st Street – Bluebird Coffee Shop
It’s all about the coffee at Bluebird, a neighborhood cafe where although ownership has changed, the coffee still remains. If it’s a good cup of joe you’re hankering for while meandering around the East Village or Lower East side, then Bluebird is one of your best bets.
1st Ave @ 1st St – Juicy Lucy
This stand at the corner of 1st Ave and 1st St needs no other introduction. Juicy Lucy has all the juiced delights you could ever want plus a can’t miss cafe con leche. Cheaper than other spots around (probably due to its lack of a brick and mortar rent to pay for), a line can form at peak times so plan accordingly.