Zagat’s 30 Under 30 is out for 2015, but 30 is a lot and Zagat can get pretty fancy — there’s no way I can ever afford to eat at Daniel just because it was featured. But I rounded up 7 college friendly (aka your wallet will remain intact) places from the list of honorees to hit up in NYC. They’re seriously changing the food landscape.

Big Mozz


Photo courtesy of Big Mozz

Forget that mozzarella string cheese. Big Mozz hand-stretches the freshest mozz at Smorgasburg. Sit at their bar and watch the mozzarella stretching while you wait for your mozz bomb, a ball of fresh mozzarella injected with pesto. Make sure to ask questions. Curious? Big Mozz hosts mozzarella tretching classes. Oh yeah.

Snowday Food Truck


Photo courtesy of Snowday Food Truck

Maple syrup doesn’t just belong on waffles. This food truck is serving maple syrup-themed dishes from local ingredients. But no need to feel guilty when scarfing down the maple grilled cheese — Snowday is part of Drive Change, a program that hires and empowers formerly incarcerated youth. Eat up.



Photo courtesy of Heatonist

Love spicy but too afraid to commit to buying that hot sauce bottle? Heatonist has you covered with their hot sauce tasting room in Brooklyn. With around 100 hot sauce to sample from, your tongue is bound to be surprised (or slightly burned). Not in NYC? Shop online and spice up your bland dining hall meals.

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings


Photo courtesy of Nicole Franzen/Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings is inspired by and named after founders Hannah and Marian’s mother — if it’s mom’s food, it has to be delicious. Get a taste of their childhood with the Mimi Cheng dumplings. For the curious ones, try the monthly specials. Think burger dumplings, taco dumplings and even chicken parm dumplings.



Photo courtesy of Mŏkbar

Tucked inside Chelsea Market, this ramen bar is… not a ramen bar. Executive Chef Esther is introducing diners to the strong flavors of Korean cuisine in a familiar ramen form. A newbie to Korean food? Try the kimchi ramen, inspired by the stew kimchi jigae. Maybe next time you’ll be ready to order kimchi jigae in Koreatown.

The Dessert Club by ChikaLicious


Photo courtesy of The Dessert Club by ChikaLicious

It’s date night and you have a bad sweet craving. How does molten chocolate lava cake with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream and passion fruit sauce sound? Or look? (Hint: The photo’s above.) Can’t stay for counter service? Grab a baked good to go. I’m obsessed with the housemade “Nutella” dough’ssant.



Photo courtesy of Wassail

Spoon University may have the definitive ranking of hard ciders, but with ciders from small producers from New York and even around the world, NYC’s first cider bar’s selection is beyond the typical college offering. Make sure to ask questions and try their flights of cider before making your final pick. Cheers.

#SpoonTip: When you bring your friends to these Zagat 30 Under 30 spots, make sure you pronounce Zagat as “Zuh-Gat.” That’s the correct way to say and you’ll sound super sophisticated.