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7 NYC Union Restaurants to Support

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Unions are necessary, especially in a place like NYC where we are still debating what a living wage is. It’s hard to imagine that workers at McDonald’s are making about $8.50 an hour. Local 100 is a Union that represents workers in restaurants, bars, delis, airports, and stadiums across New York City, Long Island, and parts of New Jersey. “Our collective strength enables us to get better wages and benefits, fair treatment and safer working conditions on the job, and a secure future for our families.”  Now, these restaurants might be a bit more than you’d usually pay but that money is going to the workers busting their butts to provide great food and fantastic service. This list is also just in time for Resturant Week (July 25th-August 19th), so open your wallets and your hearts.

Patsy’s (236 West 56th – Theater District – Manhattan)


Founded in 1944 Patsy’s Italian Restaurant has been in its current and only theater district location (in the building next to the original site) since 1954. In almost 70 years of existence, Patsy’s has had only three chefs. Although they are pricey, your portions are huge and can be shared. The Pre-Fixie Lunch is your value option at $39, three courses. This place is a fave of my Mom’s when we have our theater dates. Can’t be Mom’s seal of approval.

 The Sea Grill @ Rockefeller Center (19 W 49th St – Midtown – Manhattan)


The Sea Grill is expensive but damn if it’s not worth it. In the summers they have an amazing patio with lots of umbrellas for optimal shade. And in the winters you’ve got a great view of the ice skating rink. My two favorite items (to share, pictured above) are the portobello fries and lobster mac and cheese. For Resturant Week you will get three courses for $42. Not bad for quality seafood.

Rock Center Cafe @ Rockefeller Center (20 West 50th St – Midtown – Manhattan)


For more traditional fare, i.e., burgers, salads.  Directly across from The Sea Grill is the Rock Center Cafe. So you’ll have the same view, just from the other side of the skating rink. And just like the Grill, there’s a great patio space in the summer and beautiful view of skaters in the winter. Your three-course meal will set you back $39.

Shun Lee Palace (155 East 55th St- Midtown East – Manhattan)


Looking for great Chinese then Shun Lee Palace is the place. Open since ’71; they continue to serve Chinese. “We take immense pride in creating visually striking and mouth-watering gourmet fare.” They even have their own cookbook! The three-course lunch will cost $29 with lots of classic Oriental fare as options.

Le Perigord (405 East 52nd St – Midtown East – Manhattan)


If you are looking for something a bit fancier (like wait staff in tuxedos) Le Périgord. Since 1964 they have been the gold star of French cuisine in midtown. The New York Times even refers to them as, “a French restaurant the way French restaurants used to be.” The three-course lunch will cost $29.

21 Club (21 West 52nd St – Midtown – Manhattan)


This is the restaurant with the jockey statues, I’m sure you’ve passed it many times. Opened in January ’30, the 21 Club was originally designed as  a speakeasy during prohibition. It was a famous hangout for the rich and famous, you can reserve the table they’ve sat at. Celebrities like Alec Baldwin, Frank Sinatra, and one of my editorial crushes Cosmo’s Helen Gurley Brown. The three-course lunch will cost $29.

Oyster Bar @ Grand Central (89 E 42nd St – Midtown – Manhattan)


One of the most iconic places on our list, the Oyster Bar at Grand Central is well worth the hell in might take to get in and out of GC. in 1913 they opened their doors but weren’t originally known as a seafood restaurant, which makes the title a little confusing. Their oyster stew was becoming world famous and they restructured everything around its popularity. Plus, would you want to eat in the same place Don Draper had a marathon session of oysters and Martinis! 6 Long Island oysters and a martini will cost about $15.50.

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Sheilah Villari - Dollar Bin Darling

Sheilah Villari - Dollar Bin Darling

Southern hospitality mixed with Northern sensibility. This native Charlestonian is one quirky hobby away from becoming a Wes Anderson character. Fluent in Jack Russell and Sportsball. She can be found perusing your local comic/coffee shops. She is the Managing Editor of BAS-NYC.