DINING OUT – Bay Ridge Cheap Eats Food Crawl

It was a moveable feast for local foodies as local chef, author and bakery co-owner Allison Robicelli led a dozen hungry New Yorkers on a ‘Best of Bay Ridge Cheap Eats Food Crawl’ on Sunday, October 12.

Concentrating on the row of restaurants along Fifth Avenue between 93rd and 86th Streets, Robicelli led a small group on an international tour with great food, all of which could be enjoyed for less than $10 – sometimes even under $5 – at each location.

We started with a slice at the Pizza Wagon, at 8610 Fifth Avenue, a Bay Ridge staple for decades.  Classic or Sicilian, you can’t go wrong at one of the best pizzerias in the borough.

We then headed across the street for spicy Chengdu dumplings at the Grand Sichuan House, which is much more than your average Chinese restaurant.  Located at 8701 Fifth Avenue, its renowned spiciness and authentic Sichuan cooking have drawn New Yorkers from all five boroughs since the eatery opened a few years ago.

The next stop was relative newcomer Taqueria El Puente at 9300 Fifth Avenue for authentic Mexican chorizo tacos, chips and guacamole and tamales.  Everything was freshly prepared and the food was delicious, with bright flavors and generous portion sizes.

No food crawl, especially one in Bay Ridge, is complete without local beers, which can come with bacon wrapped hot dogs at Lockyard, a beer garden/restaurant at 9221 Fifth Avenue that is a great location for brunch, the game, or just sitting outside with your friends.

And of course, even without Allison Robicelli as our guide, we had to end the crawl with the famous cupcakes from Robicelli’s Bakery, which returned to the neighborhood last November with a new brick-and-mortar storefront at 9009 Fifth Avenue. We particularly love the Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake (an October flavor), Bourbon Caramel Apple (a November flavor) and the Banana Nutella (an anytime classic).

At each stop, Robicelli gives a backstory of the food and history of the establishment, and what dishes were recommended.  She knew many of the owners and chefs by name, and her easygoing attitude was infectious. Over the course of three hours what started as a group of strangers turned into a group of like-minded individuals discussing local news, television shows and the best places to eat in the city.

The next food crawl is scheduled to take place on Sunday, November 2 and all proceeds from the $5 ticket sales (covering the tour, but not the food) go to the food pantry at the Bay Ridge Community Service Center. The crawl is pay-as-you-go, meaning you order and pay for whatever appeals at each stop.

Grab your tickets now (at http://bit.ly/1t8OMKh) because, whether you’re a Bay Ridge native or are new to Brooklyn, it’s a great way to experience a wide range of cuisines and meet neighbors without breaking the bank.


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