Home is Where Your Spot Is

They say that to officially be a New Yorker you have to have lived here at least 10 years. I think that to officially be a New Yorker, you have to have at least one restaurant you consider home.

(That, or your Seamless delivery person is the only other human besides your parents whose number you have memorized.)

To have “your spot” in this city is like declaring a safety zone during tag. It’s a comforting answer to the eternally stressful question, “Where should we get dinner?,” and it’s an automatic reflex when asked, “What’s the best place to go for drinks?”

Jerry, Elaine and George had Toms. Friends had Central Perk. Were there newer fictional restaurants being buzzed about? Surely. Was the television equivalent of the New York Times’ food critic writing about the hottest chef in town? I’d assume so. But time after time these characters found themselves in the comfort of the same booth at the same place.

One website gets it: Knowlita, a site that offers both sweatshirts and art, sells prints of restaurants in the Nolita neighborhood that many New Yorkers (according to the Royal They and the Royal ME) spend far more time in than our own kitchens. I, for one, know how to use the toaster at Sant Ambroeus Lafayette far better than my own…


(If this guy looks familiar that’s because he’s the stylish Alireza Niroomand.)

…and Leandra dresses like the staff at Jack’s Wife Freda so that no one blinks an eye when she goes behind the bar.


(If she looks familiar that’s because she’s Maya Jankelowitz from a previous It’s Kind of a Funny Story.)

This week, Knowlita’s resident artist Massimo Mongiardo has finally captured the two beloved downtown spots, in addition to a slew of others like Café Gitane, La Esquina, and The Smile. Which is perfect, because it means I can finally bring a little bit of home to the walls of my unoccupied kitchen.

Maybe they’ll do my Seamless guy next!

What about you? What’s your spot? Can I come?

[Knowlita NYC]

  • I love the idea of these prints!

    My favorite brunch spot was Van Horn (on Court Street in BK). It recently closed but it will forever be my favorite place to eat and drink outside on a sunny weekend afternoon. Here’s to hoping something equally cute crops up in its place or someone will make a print of it ala Massimo Mongiardo.

    Favorite cocktail spot – Jakewalk (on Smith Street) They have a badass bartender who hates the word mixologist and makes some seriously delicious French 75s.

    Favorite dinner spot – Toss up between Henry Public and Bocca Lupo (both on Henry Street). I’m going to go with Henry Public to loop back into your article because their exterior would make a pretty darn charming print. But they are cash only (boooo!)

  • Anna

    Too bad they don’t have a McDonald’s print. Not like I would buy it and hang it on the inside door of my closet only to be seen in the wee hours of a Saturday night when I’m trying to hang up my dress and take down a medium fry simultaneously…..what? These really are great though.

  • Whenever I’m in New York I frequent Punjabi Grocery and Deli on E 1st st. It is not very accommodating — I am usually standing, or I take it to go — but it is so goddamn good and cheap.

    It is a favorite among Sikh taxi drivers during lunch time, which is always a good sign in terms of authenticity. It makes me feel good to be biting into The Real Deal.

  • So there is the concept in urban anthropology called “third places” and I’m kind of obsessed with it. It goes like this: Your first place is your home; your second place is your job; and your third place is where you go to socialize and unwind from the pressures of the first two. Basically, its your Cheers. Mine was a spot called Sip on Amsterdam. So many moments happened there, including me literally pushing my friend at her now-husband so she’d stop glancing longingly and talk to him. Sadly, it closed, and I still haven’t found my definitive new spot. *sad sigh*

    • Charlotte Fassler

      Sip!! I loved that place!!! Really great breakfast too!

      • Seriously. I mean, brown sugar baked bacon.

  • ee_by_cc

    Fantastic! I love The Smile, I go to the one in Tribeca all of the time because it’s around the corner from my office. I have about 5 extra pounds on me due to my excessive consumption of their sea salt chocolate chip cookies. Extra bonus is that it’s attached to Shinola. Double the pleasure, double the fun!


  • lavieenliz

    sushi of gari!!


  • Caroline

    Maison Kayser by the Flatiron building is home for me! I’m currently in Paris and the Eric Kayser boulangerie just isn’t the same 🙂

  • Tracy

    Love these prints!


  • Jenna Calderone

    Although nothing I’ve found in North Carolina is as sophisticated as a NYC brunch spot or coffee shop, there is this French bakery in Charlotte’s art district called Amelie’s that has become my spot. It is the most whimsical place you will ever step foot into and a favorite meeting place for me and all of my fellow wannabe Francophiles. Food is delicious, coffee is amazing, and the quiches, tartines, and pastries are to DIE FOR. I’m a little sad since they’ve started franchising, but the flagship location is still the best one by far.

  • Lauren

    Cafe Habana duh!!

  • Thank you for introducing me to Massimo Mongiardo! I love his simple drawings, especially the ones you featured of buildings.

    I think having your “spot” is the best part of living in any city. Mine is a little coffee shop in Pasadena, CA (close enough to drive from Los Angeles, far enough that it’s a little quieter.)

    Love, Gigi
    Dolce and Gabriella

  • Andres Poiche
  • Joanna

    Lupa Osteria! OMG the best!!

  • The Wayland in the East Village is a great spot for quick but delicious food and drinks, and Barbuto in the West Village is my absolute #1.

    • Amelia Diamond


      • My Uncle owns Barbuto! We should force Leandra to introduce us with the added benefit of free food. #JUSTATHOUGHT

  • Taylor

    Is it wrong to have a lounge/club be your spot? I know… I know. In my case, I LOVE trying new restaurants and bars, so I can’t say that I have one definitive place I call home. When I go out however, I have a spot, and it’s called Fat Baby on the LES. I can take a disappointing meal at a new place, but if I go out and I hear “Apple Bottom Jeans” or “Don’t Stop Believin,” I’m DONE for the night.

    There goes my credibility.