So you’ve played Broadway Roulette, taking the pressure off what to see. Now it’s time to take the pressure off where to eat. Navigating the Theater District can get overwhelming – especially for those dealing with dietary restrictions. Lucky for you, Broadway Spin’s Juliet Mazer-Schmidt (a queen of complicated culinary regimens) is on-hand to share some go-tos from a kosher Jewish deli to gluten-free soul food and everything in between.
QUEST #1: Where’s the gluten-free pizza?
Two Boots – 625 9th Ave. (bet. 44th & 45th St.)
Hours: 11:30AM – 11:00PM (M-T); 11:30AM – 12:00AM (W-R); 11:30AM – 2:00AM (S-S)
Founded in 1987 by a pair of pizza-loving indie-filmmakers who cherished Cajun food (two boots = shapes of Italy and Louisiana), this colorful, kid-friendly chain offers everything from classics to vegan, gluten-free veggie-topped pies named after Bette Middler (the Earth Mother).
Uncle Mario’s – 739 9th Ave. (at 50th St.)
Hours: 10AM – 12AM (7 days)
If Two Boots is full, walk just a few blocks north to Uncle Mario’s for a casual, authentic New York City pizza experience – with gluten-free crust options (and a larger seating area).
QUEST #2: Satisfy a broad spectrum of burger cravings – and dietary restrictions – in one location.
Bareburger – 366 West 46th St. (bet. 8th and 9th Aves.)
Hours: 11:00AM – 11:00PM (S-R); 11:00AM – 12:00AM (F-S)
Beef, bison, black bean, turkey, quinoa and chia and green pea (oh my!); sweet potato and kale in a collard green wrap – whatever you consider a “burger” (no judgment here), Bareburger’s ready to accommodate. They’ve also got vegan shakes, gluten-free beer – and *truly* gluten-free fries. (If you’re Lincoln Center bound, there’s another location up on 57th, same cross streets.)
QUEST #3: Authentic. Jewish. Deli.
Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant – 209West 38th St. (bet. 7th and 8th Aves.)
Hours: 11:00AM – 9:00PM (7 days)
Ben’s is an institution – with a 250-seat restaurant, a fantastic staff, and a massive menu that’s conscious of diner allergies. (Before you get your hopes up: no gluten-free matzo balls here – remember, we’re talking “TRA-DI-TION!”)
QUEST #4: Fajitas and margaritas – at a reasonable price point?
Sombrero – 303West 48th St. (bet. 8th and 9th Aves.)
Hours: 12:00PM – 12:00AM (7 days)
Sombrero’s fajitas can feed two (reminder to gluten-free friends to request corn tortillas) and they mix-up a solid margarita pitcher (go for fresh lime juice in lieu of the pre-made mix).
El Centro – 824 9th Ave. (at 54th St.)
Hours: 11:30AM – 11:00PM (M-T); 11:30am – 12:00AM (W-R); 11:30AM – 1:00AM (F); 11:00AM – 1:00AM (Sat.); 11:00AM – 11:00PM (Sun.)
Another can’t-go-wrong cantina ready to accommodate restrictions – but tends to a be a bit louder, livelier (and more crowded).
QUEST #5: Post-matinee happy hour that won’t break the bank.
Dos Caminos – 1567 Broadway (at 47th St.)
Happy Hour: M-F 3-6PM + 9PM-close (11:00PM (S-T); 12:00AM (W-R); 1:00AM (F-S)) (Bar + Downstairs Lounge Only)
$6 guac; $6 taco duo; an $8 marg and a $4 can of Tecate (for the gluten-friendly) – SOLD. (Though tragically not part of the Happy Hour menu, the Dos Caminos Durango is this writer’s favorite spicy margarita in the city.)
Ruth’s Chris – 148 West 51st St. (bet. 6th & 7th Aves.)
Happy Hour: M-F, 3-6:30PM + Sun., 4-7PM (Bar Only)
$9 martinis (with premium spirits); $9 for a seared ahi tuna appetizer – SOLD (and surprising!).
QUEST #6: Pre-show caffeine boost with a sweet treat – somewhere other than Starbucks.
Bibble & Sip – 253 West 51st St. (at 8th Ave.)
Hours: 7:30AM – 8:00PM (M-F); 10:00AM – 8:00PM (S-S)
A gourmet French confectionery with Asian influence, Bibble & Sip is a small, magical spot that serves all the coffee standards alongside an eclectic library of latte flavors like matcha jasmine and lavender. Though most of their in-house pastries are tragically off-limits to those with dietary restrictions, their popular panna cotta jars (earl grey, mango, matcha) are gluten-free.
Ground Central – 888 8th Ave. (bet. 52nd & 53rd St.)
Hours: 6:30AM – 9:00PM (M-F); 7:00AM – 9:00PM (S-S)
Bibble & Sip too crowded for comfort? Walk up 8th Avenue a block where Ground Central offers an extensive menu of milks (including macadamia and oat), sugar-free matcha, and a variety of vegan/gluten-free baked goods (including pumpkin bread and peanut butter cookies). Bonuses: beer and wine available – by the glass and bottle, plus (luckily-timed) guests can enjoy a cozy seating area, complete with a wall of books and soft lighting.
…Still in search of a place to sit, decompress, and refuel? (Happens to the best of us.)
Le Pain Quotidien – on 55th, just east of 8th Ave.
Hours: 7:00AM – 8:00PM M-F, 8:00AM – 6:00PM S-S.
This French chain is standing by to gratify any gluten-free avocado toast or turmeric latte needs.
Bonus Insider Tip: Gregory’s [West 44th bet. 8th & 9th or corner of West 50th & Broadway] offers half-off baked goods M-F after 5pm – including an assortment of gluten-free power bites that this writer has used for many a meal substitute on-the-go.
QUEST #7: One menu that will accommodate everyone (and impress your gluten-free friends)!
Friedman’s – 228 West 47th St. (bet. Broadway & 8th Ave inside the Edison Hotel)
Hours: 7:00AM – 10:00PM (Sun.-M); 7:00AM – 11:00PM (T-Sat.)
This place has it all: fried chicken on a cheddar waffle, acai smoothie with a ginger shot, pastrami Rueben, falafel burger; all of the breakfast. Everything but the matzo balls can be made gluten-free, and there’s a full bar (including gluten-free beer). A laid-back atmosphere paired with attentive service make Friedman’s a sure-to-please option for even the most difficult diners in your entourage. (Insider Tip: show same-day theatre tickets for a 15% discount, dinner only.)
QUEST #8: Somewhere to celebrate a special occasion, a spot with a certain… je ne sais quoi.
Beloved Broadway caterer Randy Witherspoon opened this South Carolina low country comfort food haven in 2017 with the blessing of – and help from – an assortment of Broadway insiders. The staff is warm and welcoming, the restaurant feels like spending time in your favorite family member’s kitchen – and the dinner menu offers a surprising number of options for the gluten-free, including wings and BBQ smoke ribs. (Vegans: the molasses-glazed cornbread and biscuits are a “go,” but entrees may be tricky – so see immediately below!)
A respite from the bustle of Times Square with a lovely staff – and an even lovelier mission, P.S. Kitchen is a 100% vegan restaurant that creates jobs for marginalized workers, donating all profits to charitable organizations both locally and overseas.
Bonus Insider Tip: Every Broadway Roulette order confirmation features an exclusive offer for a free drink on your show date with the purchase of any other item of equal or higher value at P.S. Kitchen. Add to that a super cute setting, healthy dining options, and a noble mission and it really can’t be beat.
Juliet Mazer-Schmidt is a Detroit-born performer, turned DC-based litigator, turned Chicago-based theatre developer – turned NYC-based all-of-the-above… and in case it’s not obvious, she is also a writer… and a foodie.