Labor Day weekend means the end of a lazy summer for many, so why not skip the messy grilling and sloppy counter tops this holiday. Enjoy your day off without chipping your nails. Check out one of these five ways to keep it oh-so-haute.
Hill Country Barbecue
For the Labor Day barbecue purists, Hill Country is the only place to head for a savory, fall-off-the-bone experience. Walk in, say “howdy” and feel like a real Southern roadie. You get to pick from cowboy classics like pork spare ribs and beef shoulder, and pair it up with gourmet comfort food like longhorn cheddar mac and cheese and sweet potato bourbon mash. And to complete your travel to Texas, you get your meat over the counter, wrapped in butcher paper.
Hill Country is located at 30 W. 26th St., Manhattan, 212.255.4544, www.hillcountryny.com.
Mel’s Burger Bar
Nothing says long weekend like a succulent burger, and Mel’s Burger Bar dishes up something different from the ordinary. Brand new and open just in time for Labor Day, they’re dishing out your burger just the way you like it, whether you want it with double patties and cheese or topped with gourmet sauces ranging from béarnaise to chimichurry. Before you sink your teeth into the meat, you can nosh on some disco fries with lots of cheese and gravy, or get your serving of veggies with breaded zucchini and marinara sauce. Satisfy your sweet tooth with one of their monster milk shakes that come in flavors like mint Oreo or PB&J. The best part? You can get your shakes spiked.
Mel’s Burger Bar is located at 2950 Broadway, Manhattan, 212.865.7100.
Kick off your holiday with an oyster shooter, spiked with vodka or not, and move on to all sorts of grilled up goodies at Ditch Plains. The laid back eatery surrounds you with surfing paraphernalia and simple delicious dishes. Hot dog heaven is made with the “ditch dog,” the restaurant’s hot dog topped with a béchamel mac and cheese on a soft potato roll. Barbecue chicken legs spice up the menu; they’re grilled up in a secret house-made barbecue sauce and served alongside chunky homemade potato salad.
Ditch Plains is located at 29 Bedford St., Manhattan, 212.633.0202, www.ditch-plains.com.
Have a caliente end-of-summer celebration at Boqueria. The Spanish tapas bar gives diners a riff on Labor Day brunch favorites with dishes like the “huevos y brandada,” baked eggs with salt cod brandade and blistered peppers, or the “bocata huevo,” a soft scrambled eggs dish with bacon and crème fraiche. Whether you hit their swanky SoHo location or their always-packed Flatiron storefront, the food is bound to make your labor-less Labor Day muy delicioso.
Boqueria SoHo is located at 171 Spring St., Manhattan, 212.343.4255; Boqueria Flatiron is located at 53 W. 19th St., Manhattan, 212.255.4160.
Ed’s Chowder House
If you can’t make it to the beach for the weekend, this is your ticket to the shore. Ed’s brings you classic seafood-shack cuisine with that Upper West Side classiness. Ranging from rich, flavor-packed appetizers like the scallop ravioli with white wine sauce or tuna tartare with quail egg and waffle chips. You can choose from the “simple mains,” which are simply grilled selections of seafood and steaks. Or if you want the pizzazz of preparation, the “composed mains” include dressed up classics like an herb-crusted skate with horseradish mashed potatoes or a lobster roll with house slaw. Either way, it’s Montauk in Manhattan.
Ed’s Chowder House is located at 44 W. 63rd St., Manhattan, 212.956.1288.