photo credit: Liz Clayman
People like to complain about life in New York City. And while we generally feel like those people are welcome to go live anywhere else, it’s true that things are harder here. Running dumb errands becomes a game of strength and strategy when you don’t have a car to do your schlepping. Coordinating a group dinner is basically an exercise in neighborhood diplomacy. And locking down a decent apartment takes nothing less than witchcraft (or faking an engagement in order to convince your landlord of your relationship’s stability - true story).
So when you find the easy wins in NYC, they feel especially important.
Daily Provisions is an easy win. This is the tiny all-day cafe from the people behind Union Square Cafe, and it’s located right next door to its fine dining sibling. But while Union Square Cafe is a white tablecloths and sommeliers kind of place, Daily Provisions is an order at the counter and possibly eat while standing up kind of place (there are two small counters and two small tables, and that’s it for seating). The setup and price point of these two restaurants are different, but the quality of food is on the same level.
Every sandwich at Daily Provisions feels like the platonic ideal of its category - from a bacon, egg, & cheese so good that at $7 it actually feels like you’re stealing something, to a crispy chicken milanese on focaccia, to the roast beef with muenster and horseradish that we wish would teach a master class to all other roast beef sandwiches. And then there’s the Daily Provisions cruller, which is officially the best donut in the city. We are more confident about this statement than most other things in life.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
All of this would make for a sad story if Daily Provisions were as mobbed as it should be, given that it’s a very good thing in the middle of New York City. But it’s not. This is a well-oiled machine that manages to feel mysteriously calm at all times, and you can tell they’ve put a lot of thought into the details. The people running the cashless register keep the line moving quickly, and you don’t have to awkwardly figure out how to tip because it’s already included in the prices. If you’re staying to eat there, they’ll bring your food on real plates, and you’re taking it to go, they’ll package it nicely. Additionally, there’s housemade hot sauce on every table, the ice cream comes from Portland’s incredible Salt & Straw, and whole loaves of their excellent bread are available for you to take home (or squander into your work bag for emergency snacks under your desk).
Easy wins are rarely as easy or as winning as they seem, and we’ve come here looking to find problems. But we have yet to find a real fault with Daily Provisions. This is exactly what it promises to be: a neighborhood cafe that’s delicious and fast. Unlike most things in New York City, it actually makes you feel like you’re getting away with something.
Bacon, Egg, & Cheese
Approach with caution. You will miss this while eating all other BECs afterwards.
This is exactly what you imagine the ideal homemade grilled cheese should taste like (but it never quite does). Golden brown sourdough, melty cheese, and more comfort than you thought possible from an inanimate object.
Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich
This has everything you might need in a single sandwich: perfect rotisserie chicken, thick bacon, avocado, crunchy lettuce, and a dijon-mayo combo.
Roast Beef Sandwich
Then again, the same could be said of this - a truly great roast beef sandwich. It’s a thick pile of meat covered in horseradish, topped with fried onions and muenster and some beets for added crunch. It’s perfect.
Chicken Milanese Sandwich
Another creation that should be giving your regular bodega order a panic attack. There’s a chicken cutlet that’s been fried so it’s a perfect shade of gold (but not at all dry), plus mozzarella, spinach, and caesar dressing. Oh, and it’s on fresh-baked focaccia.
Cake In A Cup
Chocolate ganache cake covered in espresso icing, packed into an adorable little cup. If Daily Provisions didn’t also make crullers, we’d tell you to order this. But the crullers are better.
Super rich yet somehow also super light, with a fluffy inside and a lightly fried outside, covered in maple, glaze, or cinnamon-sugar. It doesn’t matter which you order, or who you are, or what you do, or where your life priorities lie. These changed us. And they will change you.