Q: Hi Playground! We’re going to spend the night before Thanksgiving in NYC watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons being blown up. It’s our first time, and I was wondering if you have recommendations about where to eat or a take a break. Thanks! ~ NKM
A: Hi NKM! Great plan to watch the massive Thanksgiving Parade balloons being inflated on the streets of the Big Apple (I like to call it “Balloon Night!) It’s definitely something to cross off the bucket list. We’ve got all the details about where to watch the inflation, and also where to eat in NYC on Thanksgiving, and happily we have a few top ideas on where to get some great eats on Thanksgiving-eve, all of which are near the balloon inflation route and won’t require you to even take the subway.
5 Napkin Burger (2315 Broadway, NYC, 212.333.4488)
Get a jump on the holiday meal with the restaurant’s Thanksgiving On A Bun ($14). This special turkey stuffing burger is made with ground white and dark meat turkey, pork sausage, celery, onions, apples, currants, sage, thyme and cornbread. You can add smoked cheddar, onion gravy, chicory, sweet potato chips, cranberry mayo and a potato roll! Save room for dessert…a Pumpkin Bundt Cake filled with spiced cream ($8).
Playa Betty’s (320 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC, 212.712.0777)
In spite of the winter weather gear you may be wearing, you’ll get all beachy warm at this Cali-inspired restaurant. A variety of signature tacos ($4-$5 each) are made to appeal to the entire family – from the traditional to those with a fried oyster filling – as are other treats such as the Austin-Style Queso ($9), mix your own guacamole ($12) and Churro Ice Cream sandwiches. You can also take advantage of the restaurant’s take-out window and get your food to go and enjoy while walking around watching the balloons inflate.
Carmine’s (2450 Broadway, 212.362.2200)
Great for large groups (and one of our picks for Thanksgiving Day as well), this popular Italian family-style restaurant is well known for heaping portions of food, so you can get your fill of traditional Italian pasta favorites before the Thanksgiving feast.
Simit + Smith (124 W 72nd Street, NYC, 212.496.6605)
If you’re looking for something quick, swing by for some to-go nourishment before melding into the balloon-watching crowd. This authentic Turkish quick-serve café offers homemade Simits (Turkish bagel) or Acmas (Turkish croissant) with a variety of toppings ($2.50 – $8.95). Pair it with authentic Turkish coffee or hot chocolate and you’re ready to stroll along the balloon-lined streets.
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