Here’s something you’re already painfully aware of: your birthday isn’t panning out the way you’d hoped it would this year. There will be no big group dinner, no Sound-Of-Music-meets-Alison-Roman picnic scenario in Prospect Park, and certainly no possibility of ending up in an elevated dance cage at House Of Yes at 3am (maybe for the best).
But just because you can’t celebrate using traditional birthday methods, that doesn’t mean your special day has to suck. Your guest list now includes Andrew Cuomo (televised), your coat rack who has been looking especially cute lately, and Andrew Cuomo’s probable nipple piercings (televised). You won’t have to worry about making a reservation or splitting a giant check with twelve people. Instead, order from this list of restaurants, bars, and bakeries who can deliver something great to your apartment. From carafes of dill-infused vodka to discounted sushi omakase sets, and a chocolate “dirt cup” with gummy dinosaurs from a fancy tasting menu restaurant, here are 22 ideas for how to have a birthday party at home, even if you’re the only attendee.
Due to birthday and non-birthday reasons, you’re itching to have a dance party. And, unfortunately, your nice-but-ultimately-awkward Zoom celebration isn’t going to scratch that itch. Instead, order a Joyface “disco kit” that comes with to-go cocktails, snacks, Joyface-branded rolling papers, and a battery-operated disco ball, and turn your apartment into the dance club your heart knows it wants.
Under typical birthday circumstances, Minetta Tavern is the kind of place anyone would be lucky to celebrate. To recreate this occasion, we suggest lighting a candle, imagining your couch is a booth in Greenwich Village, and encouraging your roommate or spouse to put on an apron and serve you a black label burger using a French accent. This is not a French restaurant, but French accents sound nice right now.
Between the heaps of biscuits, fried chicken, and pies, this Williamsburg spot serves food that will trick your brain into thinking it’s your birthday any time you eat it. And since you’re already home, you can take advantage of the fact that you won’t have to stand up after you eat a fried chicken sandwich and a slice of cherry pie.
If you just feel like watching a movie surrounded by several containers of curry, know that this Long Island City Indian restaurant has delivery and takeout available online or by calling 718-433-3888. Get the creamy butter chicken or spicy goat that falls off the bone, and some cheese-stuffed naan and call it a birthday cake.
While you wait for that weighted blanket and those cow-print clogs to arrive in the mail, consider gifting yourself a box from Blue Hill at Stone Barns or Blue Hill in the city. They have different kits full of wine, bread and pastries, or meat available for pickup. Schedule your birthday box on their website here, and check out their donation program that sends a box to hospital workers while you’re at it.
There is no way you’re baking a f*cking cake for your own birthday, so it’s possible you’re reading this in search of dessert ideas. Both locations of Sugar Sweet Sunshine on the LES are delivering cakes and other pastries all over lower Manhattan. You can place your order for cupcakes, puddings (their banana one is excellent), and whole cakes online.
If you’re uptown and looking for something sweet that doesn’t require pre-heating your oven, Orwashers is open on the UES and UWS. They serve cakes, Jewish pastries, some great almond croissants, and black and white cookies that will make you briefly think you’ve reached cookie enlightenment.
We can’t explain the metaphysics, but there is real birthday magic that takes place when you sit in Claro’s Gowanus backyard on a warm evening eating a memela with pork rib. While you can’t currently enjoy their glorious backyard, you can still order their Oaxacan food to your apartment. Check out their menu online, and try to find a fire escape, roof, or stoop as a backyard substitute.
You’ve been fantasizing about ordering a full sushi omakase experience for your birthday. Normally, Sushi Ishikawa’s omakase menus cost somewhere between $125 or $155, but right now they’re offering a nine-piece omakase meal for $59 (including soup and salad) and maki sets for $39. Consider it a birthday present from the lovely folks at Sushi Ishikawa and their medium-fatty tuna co-conspirators.
Remember those special chocolate “dirt cups” with gummy worms you used to gorge on during playdates? Well Contra and Wildair have them available for takeout and delivery (along with other things like birria and jerk chicken). Instead of gummy worms they’re using little colorful dinosaurs and cherries. If that doesn’t count as celebratory, then we’re not sure what does.
You don’t like to admit this, but staying home and eating pasta in sweatpants is ideally how you’d spend any birthday. Now is your socially-acceptable moment. Order takeout from Al Di La in Park Slope - their mascarpone-filled ravioli and tagliatelle al ragu make all of our bad days better.
Dim the lights, put on some Marvin Gaye, and eat Atoboy’s food with the confidence and leisure of someone who doesn’t have to do the dishes. This Korean spot in Flatiron has a special delivery and takeout menu with entrees like galbi, gochujang chicken, and sunchokes wiith oyster mushrooms. Almost everything comes with banchan, kimchi, and white rice, and they also have a wine list with bottles exclusively in the $30 range. You can check their Instagram for more details and place your order online.
If you’re in Greenpoint or Williamsburg and you want something sweet and celebratory (or, if you’re reading this on behalf of someone else and want to make their day), Peter Pan is open or pick-up orders, starting at 4:30am.
If we could move into The Fly and spend the foreseeable future consuming roast chicken, fries, and natural wine, we would. Unfortunately, that’s not an option at this time. But you should try it for a night, and turn your apartment into a makeshift version of The Fly. They have new wine and food options every week listed on their website, and everything is available for pick-up on Wednesdays between 11am and 4pm.
By this point, you’re starting to do some weird stuff at home. But we want you to know there is nothing odd about sticking a candle into a bowl of Melba’s creamy mac and cheese and another one in a plate of their wine-braised short ribs. For the first time ever, this Harlem spot has made their menu of Soul food available for takeout and delivery. You’ve never been one for birthday cakes, anyway.
Thai Diner opened just a few months ago, and it’s possible you never got to try it because there were lines out the door every weekend. Or, maybe you did try it, decided you couldn’t stop thinking about it (us too), and have been waiting for the chance to reunite with their roti breakfast sandwich and their phat see ew. A selection of their menu is online for pick-up and delivery, and it’ll taste better than whatever birthday breakfast in bed you had planned.
Cote can fulfill any and all birthday meat ambitions. This Korean BBQ spot is selling takeout and delivery care packages with raw steaks, as well as a takeout menu of already-cooked food. If you want something affordable, there’s a $22 butcher’s bowl, as well as a bunch of other Korean barbecue specials available for takeout and delivery. Also - 3% of all their sales go to City Harvest.
Ah, birthday sushi. A great pastime. If you’re in the Astoria area and you don’t want to splurge, Pink Nori has a bunch of sub-$25 combos that you can order pick-up or delivery online.
This Russian restaurant in Gramercy has flights of infused vodka to go, along with things like veal pelmeni and blinis with caviar. Can you make dill-infused vodka at home? Sure. But it’s your birthday, and you should have a drunken Russian feast prepared especially for you.
As much as you’ve relied on chickpeas in recent memory, you can’t eat another can for your birthday dinner. For something completely vegan, get takeout from Avant Garden (and check out the rest of our guide to vegan and vegetarian delivery here). Everything at this East Village is 20% off if you call the restaurant directly to place your order.
Tokyo Record Bar and Niche Niche have a thing called Wine Roulette available right now where you can tell them your ideal price range and style, and they’ll choose the bottles for you. They also have snacks available and 25% off their entire wine list, and they’ll deliver all over the city. Check their Instagram here for details.
Maybe your one birthday wish is to eat something you can’t possibly cook in your apartment, like the lobster and beef heart over rice from Llama San. You can call this Peruvian-Japanese place at 646-590-4422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org - and know that they have half-priced bottles of wine available too.