New York is a foodie’s paradise. From Michelin star restaurants and world-class chefs to mouth-watering food trucks stationed on the side of the street—this city is alive with delicious eats, anytime of day or night. But what draws my attention as a self-confessed “college-grade foodie” (aka I never grow old of ramen noodles or pizza) is the niche restaurant scene.
And one particular West Village restaurant has found its niche in potatoes. Yes! The humble spud has found its forever home at Potatopia.
This trendy hot potato spot opened in August and focuses on one item and one item only—the delicious potato! Allen Dikker, an owner of the joint, opened shop in Menlo Park, N.J., and enjoyed somewhat of a cult following before bringing this little slice of heaven to Manhattan.
Here’s what Dikker had to say regarding the concept of Potatopia: “The concept behind Potatopia actually began with the creation of our house made sauces. I come from a family where the men love to cook and have always been the cook in my household. Never having been a fan of bottled sauces I began creating my own from scratch. As the popularity of my sauces grew between family and friends, I wanted to find a way to share them with the public but needed to find the perfect ‘vehicle’ and realized the potato was just that.” Yes!
And here’s what they’re serving: smashed potatoes, skin chips, curlies, au gratin, baked potatoes, shoe string fries, baked sweet potatoes, and potato chips. Served with veggies, cheese, shrimp, chicken, steak, bacon, sausage, and an almost never-ending menu of creamy sauces. And for all you curious potato lovers out there, Allen Dikker says the most requested spud is the “Smashed Hit,” a smashed potato with cheddar cheese, asiago cheese, scallion, red onion, garlic, cilantro, and roasted red pepper aioli.
The concept of a one-item-wonder restaurant in NYC is thrilling for foodies who want to explore a single food with unlimited possibilities. And Potatopia doesn’t standalone.
— S’MAC: This cozy little restaurant in the East Village is dedicated to that one all-American dish we can’t get enough of: mac & cheese! Go with the original recipe or opt for something completely out-of-the-box, like mac & cheese with a Mediterranean or Alpine twist, go Cajun or try a truly exotic twist on a favorite with Masala-infused mac & cheese. This place was created by a husband and wife team with a love of comfort food.
— The Meatball Shop: This no-fuss eatery is located in both Manhattan and Brooklyn and serves, you guessed it, meatballs, meatballs, meatballs. Go “naked” and order meatballs with sauce, grab a meatball slider or hero, get the meatballs smashed on a brioche bun, or opt for “everything but the kitchen sink salad” to satiate that meatball craving. And if you’re also craving eye-candy, one of the owners just happens to be a J. Crew model.
— Pommes Frites: Authentic Belgian fries and authentic Belgian fries only. Double cooked and with a choice of more than 25 sauces (including Mexican ketchup, Irish curry, Smoked eggplant mayo, and Peanut satay), you can barely go wrong with this East Village eatery. Fries are served in the traditional paper cone and the store even sells Pommes Frites t-shirts to commemorate the occasion when you fell in love with these European snackems.
Rice to Riches: Coconut Coma, Almond Shmalmond, Sex Drugs and Rocky Road. All rice pudding flavors, all available in the super-trendy Spring Street Rice to Riches store in Soho. This brightly-lit location serves up rice pudding as an old-fashioned ice cream parlor would, dishing their sticky, sweet dessert into UFO-inspired cups. Other desserts on offer? None. It’s all rice pudding here, folks, and it’s all insanely delicious.
— Flex Mussels: 20 varieties of mussels cooked in a range of 23 sauces; a “who’s who of mussel-centric gastronomy.”
— Peanut Butter & Co.: A dozen PB&J originals with gourmet sandwiches that include a PB&J-meets-black-forest-cake sandwich and a Thai satay-inspired sandwich. Don’t forget dessert: PB&J sundaes, parfaits and cookies are all on offer.
— Dumpling Man: This place has all the usual Asian dumplings you’d expect from a dumpling shop, with a few newbie’s thrown in for good measure. Or, let the chefs treat you with a surprise dumpling—one of two new flavors on rotation. So good!