Beach plans fell through? Not really a beach person anyway? You can take Labor Day relaxation seriously right here in the city. Celebrate the end of summer while you let these restaurants do the party planning and cooking for you. Embrace tradition with an upscale waterfront clambake, head to Prospect Heights for Thai barbecue, or enter an oyster eating contest. Whatever your holiday proclivities and price point, skip the sandy picnic, grab your friends, and hit the city spots on our handy map. The only labor required is reading the list below.
Forbidden Fruit NYC
106 Macdougal St., nr. Bleecker St.; 212-671-1222
When: Friday through Monday
What: The go-to shop for just about any chocolate-covered fruit (yes, it exists) is offering a deal on a patriotic dessert for Labor Day picnics. This weekend, pick up a box of white-chocolate-covered strawberries with blue sprinkles for just $12, down from $17.85.
Price: $12 for a box of six strawberries
348 Dyckman St., nr. Staff St.; 212-567-8088
When: 3 p.m. onwards, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday
What: The giant new riverside bar and restaurant offers a $10-fits-all Labor Day menu of St. Louis-style ribs, sweet Italian sausages, sirloin burgers, glazed chicken wings, and fried platanos. Pick one and pair it with a specially-priced spiced-mango daiquiri ($10), mixed-berry mojito ($10), or La Samantha ($12), or a cold beer. Eat, drink, and watch the Hudson from the beach bar or the upper deck.
Price: cocktails and bites start at $10
The Lambs Club
132 W. 44th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-997-5262
When: Friday through Monday
What: Geoffry Zakarian adds to the Lambs Club’s regular menu with ramp-kimchee-glazed pork ribs, puffed wild rice, and a choice of two craft beers. Waterside clambake this isn’t, but if you’re in luck this weekend if you fancy a gourmet meal in an antique midtown atmosphere. Choose from a Session Lager by Oregon’s Full Sail, a Vunderbar Pilsner from New Hampshire’s Smuttynose Brewing Co., a 471 Double IPA by Colorado’s Breckenridge Brewery, or a Sankaty Light lager from Nantucket’s Cisco Brewers.
Price: $40 per person
298 Bedford Ave., nr. S. 1st St., Williamsburg; 347-335-0446
When: Monday, September 3 from noon to 8 p.m.
What: On any given day, oysters reign supreme at this Williamsburg oyster house and absinthe bar. But on Monday, the cooks are inviting special guests: barbecued bivalves, pulled pork sandwiches, and fried chicken. If that isn’t Southern enough for you, house band the Maison Stompers will play jazz tunes and Southern hits while Chris Hannah of New Orleans’ acclaimed Arnaud’s French 75 creates and serves cocktails. Pile on top of all of that a multi-round oyster eating contest and the weekend’s anticipated heatwave, and you’ve got New York’s best shot at a NOLA-style Labor Day.
Price: barbecued oysters, $11; pulled pork sandwich platter, $13; fried chicken platter, $13; clambake, $17; Oyster-eating contest, $50 entry fee
450 E. 29th St., nr. First Ave.; 212-729-9790
When: Monday, September 3
What: Start your Labor Day with brunch at Tom Colicchio’s waterfront restaurant and a menu celebrating the best in summer farmers-market fare. Highlights include a summer squash frittata, French toast with peaches, smoked trout cake, and a side of watermelon with merken and lime.
Snap Food Truck
100 Sullivan St., nr. Van Brunt St., Red Hook; 646-397-6271
When: Monday, September 3, noon to 6 p.m.
To kick off the launch of semi-permanent digs (starting September 10, the truck will be at this location Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings from 6 to 10 p.m. and select weekend afternoons), the Snap food truck is throwing a Labor Day barbecue with signature Chicago-style dogs, grass-fed burgers, and hand-cut fries. Expect music, other local food (including treats from La Newyorkina), goods from Out of My Mind Vintage, and more.
The Sunburnt Calf BK
611 Vanderbilt Ave., nr. Bergen St., Prospect Heights; 347-915-1000
When: Monday, September 3, at 5:30 p.m.
What: The “Australasian” restaurant is hosting a Labor Day garden party, complete with Thai barbecued suckling pig, draft beer, house wine, and signature Moo Juice cocktails. And if that isn’t reason enough to head to Prospect Heights this Labor Day, you can check out the newly opened courtyard while helping P.S. 9 get a new outdoor space of its own; the barbecue will double as a fundraiser to help the neighborhood school build a playground.
Price: $10 suggested donation
The Water Club
East River, nr. 30th St.; 212-683-3333
When: Now through September
What: As a part of its 30th anniversary celebration, The Water Club is serving a more upscale take on a traditional clambake. Fill up on seafood until next summer with lobster, fillet of cod, cherrystone clams, and scallops, served with corn, sweet carrots and potatoes. And there’s no mess since servers do all the dirty work for you, de-shelling and plating the clambake at your table.
Price: $38 per person