New York Comfort Food with the Theater Crowd at Joe Allen Restaurant

Just because you’re out for a night of theater in New York, you don’t have to scour the city for pretentious, haute cuisine. You can finish your evening with classic, perfectly prepared comfort food at a classic Manhattan mainstay.

Joe Allen Restaurant has been a New York institution for 50 years. Installed in the heart of Restaurant Row and surrounded by major theater space, Joe Allen never has a shortage of business before or after the shows. One visit and you’ll discover why. From the full bar and wine selections to the friendly service to the simple and satisfying menu, there’s very little to pick apart here.

Also: The Gander Takes a Unique Look at New York Cuisine

For example, the appetizer selections range from a Caesar Salad to Buffalo Wings to Escargot. There’s nothing shocking there, and there doesn’t need to be because all of the above are prepared with precision.
If you want to keep your main course simple, the hamburger is prepared perfectly and comes to order. I usually opt for the best Meatloaf in New York or perhaps the most classic of American comfort foods, the Yankee Pot Roast. 


Joe Allen simply doesn’t overcook its menu and its presentation — and I don’t mean it stays on the stove too long. The food is wholesome, well made and exactly what you expect it to be. Nothing is deconstructed or “fusion.” From the Free Range Roast Chicken to the Sautéed Spinach, a diner can order away and not worry about what bizarre take a chef might take on their choices.

Finally, the service is a highlight. It’s not difficult to find restaurants in New York where the staff is either aloof or even disinterested. You don’t get that sense at any time inside Joe Allen Restaurant. Even when the pre/post-theater crowd is filling the joint and tables are at premium, the crew remains friendly, casual and welcoming as you linger over a dessert or after dinner drink.

You could pick up Joe Allen Restaurant and drop it in any city in the country as there’s no Manhattan attitude to be found — and the food would be welcome anywhere in America.