First-years may be required to have sizeable meal plans, but that doesn’t mean every day has to include eating at John Jay. The Columbia bubble encompasses a variety of eateries, both old and new, and the number of choices in the ever-changing food landscape can be overwhelming. However, among the multitude of muffins, bevy of beverages, and deluge of delis, a few Morningside Heights staples and newcomers stand out.
Barnumbians are fond of starting the day off at Absolute Bagels.The popular spot is located between 107th Street and 108th Street and Broadway. The egg bagel is a must, and those looking for a sweet breakfast treat should try pairing it with strawberry cream cheese. Another must-visit is the Hungarian Pastry Shop, a bakeryunique for its Wi-Fi-less atmosphere and cash-only policy. With a host of delicious pastries (including a mini brownie for only sixty cents!), this café is the perfect place to hunker down for long hours of distraction-less study aided by bottomless coffee.
Other Columbia classics include Koronet’s giant pizza slices, optimally eaten after midnight on a night out. Although there is a Five Guys between 110th Street and 111th Street and Broadway, Shake Shack is Columbia’s go-to burger joint. It’s located right across the street from Columbia’s main gates, at the corner of 116th Street and Broadway. The ‘Shroom Burger is popular among vegetarians, non-vegetarians, and people who don’t even really like mushrooms. It’s basically a shell of fried cheese with a little bit of mushroom in between.
Halal carts, undeniably New York staples, are scattered across the city. Barnumbia’s cart of choice is located at 115th Street and Broadway, where, for only five dollars, one can purchase a hearty meal. The most popular options are chicken or falafel over rice with signature white sauce. Another economic eatery close by is Pret a Manger, at 116th Street and Broadway, which features a collection of grab-and-go sandwiches and salads for a quick bite between classes. It also serves a variety of hot and iced coffees, from lattes to cold brew; and if you download the Pret app, you can get your first beverage for free.
Venture slightly out of the Broadway bubble for a bit more off the radar, yet equally excellent eateries. On Amsterdam Avenue, Hamilton Deli (or HamDel) sits between 115th Street and 116th Street, serving sandwiches galore and a stellar-priced iced coffee—standing out amongst the myriad of Starbucks—for only $1.75. Happy Hot Hunan is farther down Amsterdam, between 107th Street and 108th Street (but also on Seamless) and serves Sichuan cuisine and a host of vegetarian options including an excellent eggplant with garlic sauce. And northwards, three blocks above Columbia, is the easy-to-miss Culture Tea Bar, which offers 20-ounce bubble teas for under $4. A flavor of choice: Earl Grey.
The newly rebranded Wu and Nussbaum (a revamp of a long-established Columbia staple, casually referred to as Nuss) opened this past summer on the corner of 113th Street and Broadway with two brand-new menus. As “Nussbaum,” the shop offers a variety of bagel-based sandwiches in the morning, swapping to “Wu,” which offers noodles, dumplings, and bubble tea in the evening, with plenty of room to sit inside and outdoors.
And be on the lookout for a soon-to-open eatery that has the potential to join the upper echelons of great Morningside Heights locales: Dos Toros. The taqueria chain that serves a variety of burritos, bowls, tacos, and quesadillas is slated to open between 113th Street and 114th Street on Broadway later this fall.
Arts & Entertainment editor Sarah Beckley can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.