Through the magic of NYC, even the budget-conscious can taste the good life (and often for free). We’re tracking down the deals in this new column.
NYC Restaurant Week
The best way to try a new spot in the city is back. Summer Restaurant Week reservations are now open, and the event is breaking records again with 387 participating restaurants in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, with 49 first-timers. You’ll need a reservation to get the three-course lunch ($29) or dinner ($42) deals, and note that drinks, tax and tip are not included. Classics like Delmonico’s, Morimoto and Tavern on the Green are participating, making it a great time to try them without having to drop hints to mom and dad, plus some of the hot new things on the dining scene you’ve been eyeing like the modern British fare at The Clocktower, the breezy eats at La Pecora Bianca and Tom Colicchio’s Craft. NYC Restaurant “Week” begins on July 25 and runs through Aug. 19.
National Pickle Month
The perfect complement to the rich sweetness of barbecue is the vinegar tang of pickles, and during National Pickle Month all locations of Brother Jimmy’s BBQ are serving up a bucket of the fried kind for free with fried chicken entrées during dinner service. Their "frickles” are circles of half-sour pickles (as nature intended) fried and served with a side of horseradish sauce.
National Wine Week
Isn’t it nice to have incentive to do something you already like? For its 30th annual Wine Week, theQuality Brandedrestaurant group is pouring 10 “generous samples” for $20 with lunch at Quality Italian, Quality Meats, Smith & Wollensky, Park Avenue and Maloney & Porcelli. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, July 13, when it’s Rosé All Day! Wine Week runs from July 11-15. The event page has the full lineup of over 100 producers and their wines.
Cow Appreciation Day
Does eating more chicken save cows? We’ll leave the environmental math to the experts, but what’s indisputable is the free entree for anyone willing to show their solidarity withChick-fil-A’s “Eat Mor Chikin” mascot by wearing something cow-patterned (or a full-on costume) to any store location on Tuesday, July 12. Just show up, no mooing at the cashier necessary. The deal runs all day until 7 p.m.
National French Fry Day
Whether you call them French or Freedom, on National Fry Day (Wednesday, July 13) there are two places to get them for free: Start your night atBounce Sporting Club, where any alcoholic drink gets you an order of house-cut fries, or hit up the two “happy hours” at Indian street food restaurantDesi Galli. Chef PriaVanda Chouhan combines her Canadian-Indian heritage in into Desi Poutine, which smothers french fries with tikka masala gravy and shredded paneer. Usually $8.99, it’s free at their new East Village location (178 Ave. B at 11th Street) from 1-2 p.m. and 8-9 p.m.
National Hot Dog Month
Yes, hot dogs are on every street corner, but with baseball and cookout season in full swing it’s time to get excited about them again. At Lower East Side barLeave Rochelle Out of It, get their Double Dog Down deal of two California-style dogs for $10 all month long: all-beef kosher franks on a Balthazar bun, piled high with spicy pineapple relish, avocado salsa, beans, onions, jalapeno and cilantro. Hit them up on Monday, when a beer-and-shot combo is $5 through 8 p.m. for the summer.
Magnolia Bakery turns 20
As a general rule, once you’ve become a tourist hotspot there’s no real need to offer deals, but birthdays are special. On Thursday, July 14,Magnolia Bakerywill be celebrating 20 years by serving their classic vanilla and chocolate cupcakes for their original price of $1.25 each (up to one dozen per customer), only at their original Bleecker Street location. Also on the day, all Magnolia locations in the city will be handing out scratch-off tickets for their Baked from Scratch giveaway of 20 prizes, including banana pudding an entire year.
Free Food Friday
Hey, you’re already walking all over the city collecting Pokemon, why not find some free food, too? On Friday, July 15, select food trucks will be giving away grub for an hour to people with theFood Movesapp. The food truck tracker will point you in the right direction and give you a unique code to score the free eats.