the return of restaurants

Where Did You Go for Your First Big Post-Vaxx Meal Out?

Photo: Ellen Cronin


205 E. Houston St.

Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Katz’s for a pastrami sandwich and matzo-ball soup. It was a working lunch with my press secretary, Adrien. I’ve been going to Katz’s since the ’80s. I would go there with my late husband, my kids, relatives. There’s nothing like eating a hot pastrami fully vaccinated. The taste! Salty and victorious. I was really surprised by how normal it felt. It was like seeing an old friend. —Representative Carolyn Maloney

Il Posto Accanto

190 E. 2nd St.

Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

I’ve been going there for at least a dozen years. It’s in my old neighborhood in Alphabet City. The owners are a sweet couple who have always doted on my daughter. Krishna’s 11 now. She stole my phone and looked up the number and said, “Hi, it’s Krishna. I really wanna surprise my mom for Mother’s Day,” and got us a table. It was wonderful to hear Beatrice’s beautiful voice in Italian yell across the bar to welcome us. She has a deep Roman accent and brings everyone in the restaurant together. She’ll say, “Do you want your usual pasta made with egg?” —Padma Lakshmi, TV host and producer

The Odeon

145 W. Broadway

Photo: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

I was with my daughter and her dad. It was quiet ’cause we had to be so spaced out, but I’ve experienced the Odeon in every phase, and now it’s buzzing and packed. I like to order their purple-sticky-rice bowl and any kind of fish; their tuna burger is my favorite. It has this hometown vibe while being extremely hip. And the food is fucking good. If Odeon ever goes, I’m moving out of New York. —Leah McSweeney, The Real Housewives of New York

The Inkan

4502 23rd St., Long Island City


It’s a Peruvian spot in Long Island City. It was a week after my second vaxx, right around my mom’s birthday. There were eight of us; we sat outside at 6 p.m., just before the sun went down. We ordered ceviche, fried calamari, roast chicken, spare ribs, salchipapas, lomo saltado, and all the fixings: rice, beans, tostones, sweet plantains. It was our first group dinner in a long time, and when the waiters sang “Happy Birthday” — no one’s ever into it, and it’s always really horrible — I felt a little emotional inside. —Huge Ma, creator of TurboVax

Locanda Verde

379 Greenwich St.


My book agents and my manager took me for brunch. We were celebrating the release of my book. Usually you’ll have a fancy dinner, but it took a few months for us to gather. I went with the scampi and grits. Every opportunity to get shrimp and grits or any sauce and grits, that’s where I’m gonna go. It’s not often people put eggs in grits. It’s a rather posh thing to do, but it was delicious. —Jasmine Mans, poet and founder of Buy Weed From Women

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Where Did You Go for Your First Big Post-Vaxx Meal Out?