Odd places for good food

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 29, 2008

Ed Levine says the best gelato in NYC is being served in a tanning salon. My favorite banh mi (and perhaps the best baguette in town) can be found in the back of a jewelry store. Any other odd places to find good food?

Reader comments

Brian D. JohnsonFeb 29, 2008 at 5:27PM

Best watermelon lemonade is @ t/ 10th Street Baths. Serves a mean homemade pepper vodka too.

benFeb 29, 2008 at 5:30PM

best Spanish sandwiches - DespaƱa, 408 Broome Street, between Lafayette Street and Cleveland Place

jkottkeFeb 29, 2008 at 5:56PM

Ben, I agree that Despana has good sandwiches, but a store that sells Spanish foods is not exactly an odd place to find sandwiches. Odd places, folks.

Oh and this isn’t meant to be NYC-centric…fire away, Phoenix! (For instance.)

BenjaminFeb 29, 2008 at 6:10PM

Minneapolis, a little coffeeshop/wine bar called Riverview has the best pizza I’ve ever tasted.

CarlFeb 29, 2008 at 6:28PM

For those of you in Boston, the best sushi hands down is in a Dunkin Donuts/Italian Deli. Osaka Sushi (106 Cambridge St) doesn’t have its own door but is accessible only by walking into the DD or the deli. It’s an odd space as all three exist in one long narrow room.

jpFeb 29, 2008 at 7:01PM

well, there’s Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ in kansas city, kansas … really good bbq, happens to be in the back half of a gas station.

bartlebyFeb 29, 2008 at 7:28PM

Villa Mexico in Boston, on Cambridge Street across from the back of the MGH campus. Sublime burritos and tamales sold out of a convenience store attached to a gas station.

johnFeb 29, 2008 at 7:30PM

Also in Minneapolis, the best gyros were in a convenience store.

kimFeb 29, 2008 at 8:14PM

Best hamburger I’ve ever had was in the back of a hardware store off Interstate 15 in Scipio, Utah (a friend who was from there clued me in to its existence)…

ericaFeb 29, 2008 at 9:43PM

Also in Boston, and not exactly a secret, Vinny’s at Night is a great Italian restaurant that you enter through a convenience store that appears to be closed… you wait for your table right in a dimly-lit aisle of doritos, wonderbread and spam.

But my favorite convenience-store star might be boudin, a boiled, thick-skinned pork and rice sausage that you can find at a lot of gas stations in Louisiana. Yum!

antoineFeb 29, 2008 at 9:44PM

burger joint, hidden behind a curtain in a corner of the lobby of parker meridien hotel. very good.

WillFeb 29, 2008 at 10:27PM

My friend knew of a comic book store in NYC that you could go to and if you knew the secret word, you’d be admitted into a back room where a guy with numerous rotweillers would sell you very high quality drugs. Does this count?

KentFeb 29, 2008 at 10:33PM

Best hot dogs in the city by far are in the back of the “Shoephoria” store at 328 E 32nd Street in Murray Hill.

BeckyFeb 29, 2008 at 11:18PM

For quite a while there was a great little falafel and schwarma stand located in a jewelry store in the Loop in Chicago. Oasis Cafe apparently moved about a year ago to a (by all accounts depressing) food court nearby, but for many years was located in the back of the Jeweler’s Mall on Jeweler’s row (aka Wabash Ave) in the Loop. I used to pop in for hummus and falfel pretty regularly when I worked right by there. You could buy a diamond and buy a pita in the same trip…that’s convenience!

BradMar 01, 2008 at 1:36AM

Continuing the love for gas stations, the best barbecue I’ve found in Illinois outside of Chicago is in the back half of a Shell on the far SW side of Rockford.

cjlMar 01, 2008 at 2:26AM

Sounds like BBQ and gas stations aren’t so unusual….

AbbyMar 01, 2008 at 9:24AM

There’s a fantastic tapas restaurant/wine bar in the back of a gas station in Miami. El Carajo was the best meal we had during those few cold days of our Orange Bowl visit. And Oklahoma Joe’s in KC…absolutely.

Jared CunhaMar 01, 2008 at 10:01AM

Well, for those in DC, the best cheesesteak is at a Chinese restaurant. The name of the place is Yums. There are two on 14th. One on 14th and T and one on 14th and P(I think?). While not as good as the best steaks in Philly, they hold their own pretty well.

nogoateeMar 01, 2008 at 11:16AM

There’s that lunch counter w/ borscht and blintzes on the mezzanine overlooking diamond booths on 47th St…

ianMar 01, 2008 at 11:21AM

i live in a town just north of toronto, and the best breakfast up here is at a diner holed away in the back of a greeting card shop that also sells elaborate hunting knives and cigarette lighters.

Stephen ChanasykMar 01, 2008 at 1:06PM

A friend of in mine in Toronto decided to turn her jewelry gallery (she’s a goldsmith) into a great cafe - her workbench is in the corner and, if lucky, you can sometimes watch her work…though I’m not sure if you would consider this an odd place or just a good business decission.

DeeMar 01, 2008 at 1:19PM

Best coffee in Minneapolis is tucked away in the coffee shop in the Sear’s hardware department at Mall of America (although they also have another regular store in Linden Hills).

JeffMar 01, 2008 at 2:11PM

I enjoy the Bann Mi at Sau Voi corporation (Lafayette and Walker); it is nicely nestled in the back of a DVD store

CatbirdseatMar 03, 2008 at 11:00PM

No, seriously though, that Back-of-the-jewelry/geode/etc. store Banh Mi place really is the best Banh Mi I’ve ever had in my life, and on top of it all, it’s only, like, 2 bucks or something.

gelatoMar 05, 2008 at 10:55AM

R. Thomas Grille in Atlanta - the location isn’t that odd, but if you’ve been to the main dining area - it’s an outdoor patio with a tarp overhead, and when it rains, it drips all over strands of extension cords that plug in decorative lighting.

Fantastic veggie burgers…and an awesome mate latte (yerba mate soy latte).

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.