Staten Island may be a borough in the ever-awake melting pot of New York, but since I only see my middle school classmates, my uncle’s girlfriend’s mom, and that one awkward ex everywhere I go, I’m assuming no one new is coming around, and that’s a damn shame.
Staten Island is home to everyone’s favorite pastime – eating. Its population is made up of mostly old, Italian multi-generational families that graciously decided to bless us with their mouthwatering family recipes and open up restaurants. Italian food is not the only source of good eats in Staten Island. I and my group chat made up of my hungry childhood girlfriends can personally vouch that Staten Island is the number one place for any craving you have – and at any time of the day.
Whether it is that 10 am plate of bacon and chocolate chip pancakes hangover cure or a 3 am breakup cheese fries, Staten Islands diners are the place to be 24/7.
My personal favorite, Mike’s Oakwood Diner is a recently renovated diner with a new, classier interior and the same friendly, familiar wait staff. The prices are low but that does not relate to the quality of this food. It is close to impossible for anyone to step in the door and not crave their perfectly golden Belgian Waffle. The french fries are always fresh and hot just the way you like ’em and just muttering about their grilled cheese brings tears of hunger to my mother’s eyes (she’s obsessed).
Woodrow Diner is located on the opposite side of the Island from the Oakwood diner but no less amazing. Its cheap prices and large portions will have you thanking the diner gods for keeping this place open late at night. Also, if you go on a Friday or Saturday night, I can guarantee a cute wait staff (ask for Bri or Britt, you won’t be disappointed).
#Spoontip: A hotspot for meeting local celebrities like Jerry Ferrara who played Turtle on the HBO show Entourage and James Murray who is part of the comedic cast of Impractical Jokers (side note: the entire cast of Impractical Jokers grew up together in Staten Island and are still living around here).
New York is home to the best pizza in the country, no argument, do not even try, and anyone who has ever had a slice from these next two restaurants can back me up.
You can find my family here every Sunday with 2 pizza pies completely obliterated with barely a sliver of crust left. This thin crust pie is the most popular slice on the island and one bit can make you understand why. It’s a family-owned restaurant that’s been passed down from generation to generation since the 1930s and has never disappointed since.
#SpoonTip: If you have never been to Staten Island, in the main dining area of the restaurant the walls are covered with historical facts about early Staten Island. Linked here is an SILive article about when Denino’s received the honor of Staten Island’s ‘Best Pizza’ in 2014.
#LIFETIP: Don’t write a food article on an empty stomach.
“Because it’s f***king great” – My grandmother when I asked what her favorite pizzeria is and why it was Nunzio’s. Thanks, Mema. Clearly, this is also a family favorite spot. When we just want a lazy Sunday in watching the game and a good slice, we order this pie up and devour the slices before the box top even closes. Sneaking down at 2 am to rip the crust off a cold slice in the fridge has gotten me the “stank eye” from my mother a time or twenty. Don’t judge me, I know we are the same.
Choosing just two tasty Italian places was like standing in the middle of the GQ Man of the Year Awards and choosing only two of the hottest men in the room, yeah that hard. But I buckled down, closed my eyes, dreamt of penne vodka and chicken cutlets, and gave the people what they wanted.
This buzzing restaurant is my favorite Italian spot in the summer. It’s casual enough on a Sunday afternoon to get away with just a maxi dress and cute flops but fancy enough on a Saturday night to get all dressed up and show bae you can werk it. Just starting off with your meal, they bring you a basket of pure pizza dough baked and sliced that I’m 99% comes directly from hands of God himself. My personal favorites from here are the margarita pie as an appetizer and spaghetti and meatballs as an entree. The best part about this restaurant is the hot wait staff that makes a family dinner drool-worthy.
#SpoonTip: Take a chance on this restaurant for your next birthday celebration and mention to the waiter it’s your birthday – it’s worth it.
This dimly lit, intimate restaurant has the decor that goes a step further than just decor. This restaurant allows you to escape the loud buzz of New York and step into a piece of Italy. The dark wood wall accents frame paintings of the oceans of Italy and the food is so addicting you’ll have to run outside mid-meal to make sure you are actually still in Staten Island. Not only is this a tasty spot, it’s a good excuse to dress up and have a cute date night with your boo thang and not break the bank for a good meal.
As much as we all love to hit Coldstone at 10 am when we are PMS’ing like there is no tomorrow, there is always that one local ice cream parlor that can hit the spot like no other.
This ice cream and candy shop has been family run since the 1930s and is everyone’s #1 ice cream go-to. Whether you want a sundae the size of your head that makes you forget about that D in philosophy or share a milkshake with your lovaaa, Egger’s has everything from one-scoopers to mountains of hot fudge to fulfill your never ending sweet tooth.
Cute Cafes & Coffee Shops
There is nothing a girl loves more than a perfect latte and muffin to put on the ‘gram, do not even scoff, you have done it a time or ten #nojudgment. Even though most people think of orange-skinned and fist-bumping-guidos and guidettes when they think of Staten Islanders, in between spray tans we savor a moment in a local hole in the wall with cute decor.
This bakery/cafe is a personal favorite of mine. Its brick walls and witty signs about cookies, sex, and Staten Island give you a good reason to sit there for a few hours and ignore that 10-page paper. Just walking in you are greeted with a long glass case that displays a row of sweets that’ll make your teeth hurt. Their chocolate brioche french toast tastes about triple as good as you think it does and they also have an array of salads, sandwiches, and daily specials that will make you wonder why you eat anywhere else.
#Spoontip: Their slutty brownies are made with raw cookie dough and raw brownie batter and are served with a roll of bounty for your tears of joy.
Famous for their Nutella-drenched waffles and quaint open mic nights, this hole in the wall cafe is buzzing with college students who drop in between classes to shove a waffle in their mouth right after they snap a pic for insta. Their creative and handcrafted flavors of the day have me surprised they haven’t run Starbies out of business. Its chairs (I swear) and environment are so cozy and homey that you will be asking to sign a 2-year lease after your first sip and sit.
I don’t know about the average foodie but for me, about three times a week, I get this intense craving for Mexican food. When the Tex-Mex chain around the corner just doesn’t do it for me that day, I am running to this next place for a frozen margarita and hot quesadilla.
Originally from Brooklyn, this California vibed taco joint is the perfect place to soothe that taco hankering. The margaritas are served in mason jars and if that doesn’t scream insta opportunity, I don’t know what else does. Here you can get your drink on and a cute GNO pic with a tasty, frozen margarita. Are you ever going to leave? NOPE. They also have been having a DJ on the weekends making it a cute night out for you and the gals to shoot some back and dance to FGL.
So…… who’s hungry?
Now stop reading this article and get your butt to one of those restaurants ASAP. Your mouth deserves a break from that dining hall “food.”