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Jan 4, 2010 04:57 PM

restaurants with history?

I am a teacher in LA. I am just beginning to plan a trip to NY with 7th grade journalists. We will be looking at the culinary history of NYC. The students will be researching, reviewing, interviewing chefs, blogging, podcasting, etc. Any suggestions on where I should start looking?

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    1. William Grimes, a former restaurant critic for the New York Times has recently published a wonderful book that will give you lots of history and ideas for your students. Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York. It's abou $20 on Amazon.
      As the other poster suggested, Arthur Schwartz is another good source. So is the website Serious Eats - run by Ed Levine, another prominent New York food writer. Although the site covers other cities, a large percentage of their posts are on New York.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ann900

        The first link I posted is a link to the Grimes book. Second link is to Schwartz's book.

        1. re: mcsheridan

          I would have to strongly disagree with your suggestuion of Fraunces Tavern. Yes, it is historic, but only for its association with Washington? - certainly never for the food.The food is so dreadful and the staff so unwelcoming- in fact downright hostile. It's almost as if they think that anybody who sets foot in the place is either stupid, clueless or suckers. Most certainly not the place for a group of 7th graders.

          1. re: Ann900

            Since Fraunces Tavern is the oldest building in NYC, and hosted meetings of America's founders, I'd say it deserves a prominent place on your itinerary. If you can pre-arrange a meeting for the kids with the manager or head chef, they may learn some interesting details about the evolution of the building and business, and the challenges of operating in a pre-Revolutionary Era edifice.

            1. re: greygarious

              It's rarely mentioned, but Samuel Fraunces was African-American - and one of the earliest entrepreneurs in the colony overall, and possibly the first African-American. There's a museum there.
              Gallagher's Steak House and 21 Club both started as Speakeasies. The Campbell Apartment (drinks only) was a private office/apartment in Grand Central Station - show it as an example of "adaptive reuse".
              You may want to check out India House as long as you're downtown as an example of a luncheon club - there's a good restaurant - Private clubs and their dining rooms have been part of the fabric of NYC since almost the beginning.

          2. re: mcsheridan

            Fraunces Tavern has an interesting museum, but PLEASE don't eat there. The food is abysmal.

          3. I guess we should ask... Does it matter if the food is no longer good? What's your budget, since you mention "reviewing"? Some of the famous historical spots are also quite pricey.

            2 Replies
            1. re: kathryn

              Keen's is full of history and it's a great place too. But expensive. However, I'm betting you could call and arrange for the group to take a look.

              1. re: gutsofsteel

                Would echo Keen's (you can do the pub room for more reasonably-priced food, not cheap, but cheaper....) and add Katz's as both a culinary destination and an artifact.

                You should also check out the website of the NY Public Library -- I believe they have a collection of menus from NYC restaurants. Plus, what could be better for a school trip than a library?

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