by Scott Mermelstein
I always considered myself old-fashioned when it came to dollar foods; I liked it cheap, quick, and full of hormones. Sure it made me feel guilty (and a little sick), but hey, it was All-American. With the recession in full swing and the market prices booming, it is time to help out mom-and-pop, to fight big brother, and to do it all on pocket change. In that vein, here are five choices for five quarters:2 Bros.
Pizza: 32 St Marks Place, New York, NY 10003 (212) 777-0600
In this bustling East Village neighborhood lived two brothers who sold pizza. Like pizza? Got a Dollar? Here’s your place. Not the best (as we New Yorkers know, "the best" is a subjective assertion), but it's certainly above average. The crust is slightly doughy, topped nicely by sauce that has tang and a hit of garlic, plus a little grease, lots of cheese. Though you can stay and hang, it is better when reheated at 400°F, directly on the oven rack. The large slice then took on a crispier crust, made me yearn for a beer, and ponder how wonderfully costless life could be.
Tasty Dumpling: 52 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10013 (212) 349-0070
Due to the rising costs of flour, these delicious Tasty Dumplings are now $1.25. Still, the Cabbage & Pork Fried Dumplings are delectable, thick skinned, and moist. Just indulge on the sauce to make up for the price hike (chili, hot, and vinegar sauces at each table). Also check out the Golden Pancake for a $1. It’s a fried scallion delight, thick like focaccia bread, airy, interspersed with chives and onions, topped with sesame seeds, and particularly wonderful. Drinks are also economically priced at a buck a piece.
Guss’ Pickles: 87 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002 (212)-334-3616
Guss’ Pickles has been a Mecca (or sidewalk stand) for New Yorkers since its opening in 1910. Once a thriving pickle district, the old location had been rocked by controversy. There really isn’t much to say except its enchanting, salty, snappy, and referred to as a wicked sour pickle. Two for a buck, but that most likely that won’t satiate, so spend two, and put that refrigerator to good use.
Piece of Chicken: 362 West 45th Street, New York, NY, 10036 (212)-582-5973
This place makes KFC look like, well, a piece of chicken. With dollar in hand, walk up to the store front, little more than a kitchen, walk through the teller ropes, give your order, which is written down on a note pad, pay, and then receive your goods. It’s sort of like a drug deal, so prepare your game face. But when you walk out, it is oh so good. A large piece of chicken, non-greasy, crisp, seasoned, and down-home just like your momma made (if you were southern).
Fay Da Bakery Corp: 83 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013 (212)-219-0778
At Fay Da Bakery Corp the dollar gets stretched to the max. In the mood for a giant almond cookie? maybe a roast pork bun? chocolate cake? taro roll? and on goes the list... It is all delicious, fresh, and, most importantly, under a dollar. Have a seat and try the coconut cream bun, in itself worth the stroll down to China Town. The tea is more expensive so bring your own (or so others did), just not your camera (“No Photos!”) unless of course you came for the side-eye.