It takes dedication to keep track of—let alone eat at—all the buzzy restaurant openings in New York. It’s no surprise, then, that when chefs get off the line, they aren’t too eager to bump elbows with the throngs of blood-sport diners looking for a first taste of the hot new Nordic prix-fixe spot.

Instead of a scene, they want comfort; instead of kale Caesars, they want unfussy bar food. We asked 15 chefs and restaurateurs where they like to hang out in New York when their long night comes to an end. Turns out, it’s mostly cheap beer and homey Japanese they crave.

Michael Anthony

Executive chef/managing director at Gramercy Tavern and the Studio Café at the Whitney Museum of American Art (opening May)

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Favorite under-the-radar spot: Hinata (159 E 55th St, 212-355-2974, hinataramen.com)

Anthony says: “Their food is consistent and I enjoy the cozy, rustic setting. But most of all I love the home-style cooking. The Hinata Paitan Ramen and Japanese vegetables with rich black sesame miso sauce simply can’t be beat.” (Photos: Ellen Silverman, Facebook)


Harold Dieterle

Chef/co-owner at Perilla and Kin Shop

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Favorite under-the-radar spot: Daddy-O (44 Bedford St, 212-414-8884, daddyonyc.com)

Dieterle says: “Daddy-O is simply just a fun place to hang after service. It isn’t pretentious at all and has a solid beer and cocktail list. It’s always a great place to catch up with a lot of chefs as well. It serves awesome bar food, which is necessary after a long night on the pass. I normally get the burger and tots.” (Photo: World’s Best Bars)

Will Guidara

Co-owner at Eleven Madison Park, the NoMad, and the NoMad Bar

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Favorite under-the-radar spot: The Magician (118 Rivington St, 212-673-7851)

Guidara says: “I get a Budweiser here, but I love the jukebox.” (Photos: Nathan Rawlinson, Yelp/Tina C.)


Anita Lo

Executive chef/owner at Annisa

anitaFavorite under-the-radar spot: Puffy’s Tavern (81 Hudson St, 212-227-3912; puffystavernnyc.com)

Lo says: “I get a beer and play some darts. I love the big windows and the old-school feel. This was the after-work dive for both Chanterelle and Bouley when I worked there.” (Photo: Puffy’s Tavern)

Chris Jaeckle

Chef at All’onda and co-founder at Uma Temakeria

chrisFavorite under-the-radar spot: Umi No Ie (86 E 3rd St, 646-654-1122; downtownuminoie.com)

Jaeckle says: “It’s my favorite stop on the walk home. It has the best shochu list in New York and simple, common Japanese comfort food like the ume onigiri (warm rice and spicy cod roe.) ‘Nuff said!” (Photos: Liz Barclay, Yelp/Yi-Chien)


Robert Newton

Chef/co-owner at Nightingale 9 and Wilma Jean

robFavorite under-the-radar spot: Super Taste (26 Eldridge St, 646-283-0999)

Newton says: “I absolutely love this place—extremely bare bones, family run, and always the same. If you are there early you will see the mother preparing their extremely delicious pork and pea-shoot dumplings on a table in the corner. You could and should buy them frozen to take home (50 for $10!). This [practice] sometimes gets them a giant C [from the Department of Health] in the window, but I just look past that, as it feels like I am back in Vietnam or China. The same woman is always running the place, yelling orders at the top of her lungs. I enjoy the Mount Qi noodles or the spare-rib noodle soup. I almost always get dumplings that I douse with black vinegar and toasted chile oil, and their bao (pork with chopped peanuts on top) are exceptional.” (Photo: Yelp/Joanna N.)

Ignacio Mattos

Chef/co-owner at Estela

ignacioFavorite under-the-radar spot: Hasaki (210 E 9th St, 212-473-3327, hasakinyc.com)

Mattos says: “Hasaki has been there forever, but I don’t think a lot of people know about it. It’s affordable and very straightforward. You can be in and out in 20 minutes. Try the omakase, the seaweed salad, and the grilled banana flambé.” (Photo: Yelp/Jane C.)


Noah Bernamoff

Co-owner at Mile End Deli and Black Seed Bagels

noahFavorite under-the-radar spot: Spicy Bampa, a.k.a. Bamboo Pavilion (6920 18th Ave, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn; 718-236-8088)

Bernamoff says: “The Sichuan is seriously on-point for a place embedded deep in Brooklyn. It’s also BYO so you can order four times your body weight and still get drunk for under $40. Anything with Ziran spice (essentially cumin and Sichuan peppercorn) tingles your tongue and excites your palate.” (Photo: Yelp/Kenny C.)

Alex Raij

Chef/co-owner at La Vara

alexraijFavorite under-the-radar spot: La Isla Cafe (212 Delancey St, 212-598-4752)

Raij says: “It’s a great Dominican place in my neighborhood, where nothing is super healthy and everything is quite delicious. They make great chicharrón and avocado salad—sometimes with shrimp, too—and stews. The food here is made with love and pride.” (Photos: Plate Online, Yelp/Jane K.)


Wylie Dufresne

Chef/owner at Alder

wylieFavorite under-the-radar spot: Old Town Bar (45 E 18th St, 212-529-6732, oldtownbar.com)

Dufresne says: “Old Town is famous for its burger and fries, but the sleeper is the perfect, just-greasy-enough grilled cheese with mushrooms.” (Photo: Yelp/Tina C.)

Jose Ramirez-Ruiz

Chef/co-owner at Semilla

joseFavorite under-the-radar spot: Blue Collar (160 Havemeyer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 347-725-3837, bluecollarbk.com)

Ramirez-Ruiz says: “Blue Collar is super under-the-radar, but they have one of the best burgers in the city. The chicken fingers are pretty tasty, too.” (Photos: Liz Barclay, Yelp/d’N’L m)


Matt Danzer and Ann Redding

Chefs/owners at Uncle Boons

booonsFavorite under-the-radar spot: Peter McManus Café (152 7th Ave, 212-929-9691)

Danzer says: “My friends Joe and Justin (whose father owns McManus) used to work together at Tabla. I used to go meet them after work here to unwind. Joe and another friend now bartend there a couple of nights a week, so I get to catch up with them whenever I’m there. It’s a great spot with a great mix of people. I used to drink Beck’s back in 2003 when I would go there with Joe. Now when I go to the bar I don’t even get to the stool before Joe has one open for me, so I guess that’s pretty much what I’m drinking.”

Redding says: “We’ve been going to McManus forever, before we knew each other. I started going around 2003, when I was working down the street at a restaurant called Amuse. It was our after-work bar and I always liked how low-key it was and still is. Bud and chicken wings are pretty much my go-to dive bar order.” (Photos: Evan Sung, Yelp/Tina C.)

Caroline Fidanza

Chef/owner at Saltie

carolineuseFavorite under-the-radar spot: Maracuja Bar & Grill (279 Grand St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-302-9023, maracujabar.com)

Fidanza says: “Maracuja is a bar in Williamsburg around the corner from my house. I love the owner, Charlie, and they make a great cheesesteak there. I usually would never eat a cheesesteak; it’s just not something that I can justify eating at my age. BUT, it’s delicious and a real treat. I would have never thought to eat it, but my boyfriend ordered one one night and I was really impressed. The bread is perfect and soft, but it doesn’t fall apart, and the steak and cheese become one with it. With some jalapeños and a beer, it’s perfect. (Photo: Yelp/Jason)

Sean Rembold

Chef at Reynard

dudeonleftFavorite under-the-radar spot: Great Jones Café (54 Great Jones St; 212-674-9304, greatjones.com)

Rembold says: “Jones has arguably the best jukebox in the city. It’s also managed to remain casually cool after all these years. The service is absolutely fantastic, as are the cheeseburgers and other Southern-inspired menu items. Their Creole chicken wings are damn good, and some claim they’re the best in the city. Beware, however, neither the burgers nor wings are available at brunch as far as I know.” (Photo: Yelp/Tammy D.)

Carlo Mirarchi

Chef, Roberta’s

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Favorite under-the-radar spot: Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen (262 Irving Avenue, Bushwick, 347-921-4062)

Mirarchi says: “Lucy’s is an amazing bahn mi shop but so much more. The pho is incredible and it has the kind of vibe that only a place built on a shoestring budget and a lot of hard work can foster. It’s also open really late which is a plus for someone who works late hours.” (Photo: Yelp/Phil N.)