Blog Archive

Getting Your Fill on the Lower East Side


I don’t know about you, but I have the tendency to get pretty hangry (“hangry” = hungry + angry) if I don’t have something to eat every 4 to 6 hours. And while the Tenement Museum offices keep a well-stocked candy bowl, this woman cannot live on Economy Candy licorice alone (though it’s never stopped me from trying)!

Thankfully I work in the Lower East Side, arguably the most delicious neighborhood in Manhattan. When that hanger strikes, the candy bowl is running low, and my colleagues begin to share a look of fear, I needn’t walk more than a few blocks in any direction to get my mid-afternoon snack fix with a historical fix!

If these noshes get you a little hangry yourself, you’re in luck, as they are all featured in our Tastings at the Tenement program, which occurs every Thursday at 6:30 pm. Busy on Thursdays? Not to worry – it can also be booked as a private event!

As gracious as nutritious, the interior of Cafe Katja is as appealing as their menu. Photo courtesy of Cafe Katja.

Café Katja – As a southern transplant, I never miss an opportunity to enjoy the splendid taste of a good potato salad. But unlike the mayonnaise drenched concoction of my youth (and, I’ll admit, my present) the potato salad at this Austrian comfort food restaurant is light and crisp. Featuring red potatoes, cucumbers, and even some pickled red onions on top, a heaping helping of this down home in Vienna side will (as my mama says) cure what ails ya!

Vanessa’s Dumplings – One of my first meals in New York City was Vanessa’s Dumplings, and I can’t imagine any other meal that could have welcomed me better! These delicious fried pork and chive-filled pockets hit the spot on cold winter nights and hot summer days (they also come boiled for the health-conscious, but once again, I’m southern – if it can’t be fried, we don’t bother with it). Vanessa’s is a perfect snack for those on a budget; four dumplings will only set you back $1.25. At that price, you might as well get two orders…. Or three… or four…

Italian delicatessens have a proud tradition on the the Lower East Side. This photo of an early purveyor is from our archive.

DiPalo’s Prosciutto – If you are of the opinion that there are, in fact, days that can’t be made better with cured meats from DiPalo’s, one of the oldest Italian delis in the city, I would be willing to bet that this thin sliced, salty sweet perfection will change your mind. Perfect with a bite of parmesan, a tear of basil, a hunk of melon, or even on its own, DiPalo’s prosciutto will never let you down.

Fou Zhou peanut noodles – Another snack for those watching their wallets, these simple and savory noodles come in a pint for only 2 bucks.  While the outside of the restaurant may not look like one of New York’s premier eateries, those who venture inside are in for one heck of a taste adventure; these noodles are like the ramen/peanut butter combination that we all attempted in college (Everyone tried that, right? Not just me?), but so, so much better. A fork-full of comfort, Fou Zhou’s peanut noodles can melt all the hanger right out of you.

There is plenty of pastry to make your mouth water at Panade Puffs & Pastries but the cream puffs are especially good. Photo courtesy of Panade Puffs & Pastries.

Panade Cream Puffs – Let’s be honest, sometimes all you need is an afternoon sugar-fix (see the above candy jar). Like a superhero, Panade Puffs and Pastries can rescue you from your slump with their selection of delicious cream puffs – each just a dollar! Light and sweet, classic vanilla and chocolate filled puffs, as well as the more adventurous green tea flavor, might be just the pick me up you need to power through your afternoon like a superhero yourself.

Of course, these are just a few of the myriad of options and countries represented on the Lower East Side’s food scene. The restaurants here span centuries and continents, and have brought New Yorkers together to the table for years. Won’t you take a seat yourself?

With the Lower East Side as your witness, you’ll never go hangry again!


To purchase tickets to Tastings at the Tenement on Thursdays, check our tour calendar. For more information on booking Tastings at the Tenement as a private dinner program, please contact Evening Events Associate Elizabeth Tietjen at

–          Written by Elizabeth Tietjen, who is no longer hangry