Having morning classes is always a bummer, but they’re even worse when you skip breakfast. No one should be expected to learn at 8 a.m. on an empty stomach. If cooking breakfast when you are still half asleep sounds like a nightmare, never fear. New York City is full of places to grab a quick bite while rushing to class. As a bonus, many are affordable enough that you will not blow your whole budget for the day before noon.
It might surprise you, but some of the best quick breakfasts can be found not in restaurants, but at grocery stores. It would be hard to find a better deal than those at Garden of Eden. At both of their downtown locations (14th street between fifth avenue and Broadway, and 23rd street between Sixth and Seventh avenues), you can get a small coffee plus a bagel and cream cheese, muffin or Danish for under $2.50. At Westside Market (corner of Seventh avenue and 14th street, Third avenue between 11th and 12th Street), every item on the breakfast menu is just three dollars. Top choices include the classic bacon, egg and cheese on a roll, a veggie omelet sandwich and oatmeal. And in case your brain still isn’t in school mode, all sandwiches also include a free 12-ounce coffee. Those lucky people who only have afternoon classes can still take advantage of the morning meal deals, since breakfast at Westside runs until noon.
If you prefer your breakfast on the savory side, some of the city’s best Mexican food is available before 7 a.m. For example, the East Village’s Downtown Bakery (69 First Ave.) might be more well-known for its early morning fare than anything it serves at lunch. Their breakfast burritos and tacos are filling enough to last you through even the longest seminar. Although the restaurant’s huevos rancheros and chilaquiles (eggs scrambled with fried tortillas) might be difficult to eat while walking, they are still worth trying.
When your walk to class takes you past Chinatown, you could be passing some of the best cheap breakfast eats in the city. A good place to start your day is Golden Steamer (143 Mott St.). The pork bun is a perfect introduction to Chinese baked goods. With a nice balance of sweet-salty pork and tender dough, just think of it as another kind of bacon sandwich. Another customer favorite is the pumpkin bun. The bright yellow filling is sweet but not spiced – think butternut squash ravioli rather than pumpkin pie. If you’d like to expand your bun horizons, the red bea and salted egg buns are also good choices. Since the buns cost only a few dollars each, you can afford to take a chance on the more unusual flavors.
Email Kendall Levison at [email protected]