It’s a fact: Popular food blogs and magazines have a tendency to highlight the same 20 (or so) NYC chefs; more often than not, those chefs are backed by PR firms whose job it is to put their client in the media spotlight. That’s why we got very excited when we came across Real Cheap Eats’ 15 Real Heroes of New York Food roundup, which celebrates the local chefs and restaurant owners that nourish NYC, but are not typically covered by traditional media.

If you’re not familiar with Real Cheap Eats, it’s time to get acquainted: The site functions as an insider’s guide to NYC’s best dishes for $10 or less. Editor-in-Chief James Boo explains the idea behind the “Real Heroes of New York Food” list,

“These 15 chefs inspire us to explore this city for a memorable meal, because a meal at their tables (or counters, or carts) is much more than food. It’s a chance to meet our fellow New Yorkers, and it’s difficult to imagine New York’s restaurant scene having much of a story without them.”

So who are the heroines and heroes in our midst? We’ve listed a few below, but check out the full roundup of food heroes on the Real Cheap Eats website. 

Yuvaraaj Thakkar, Mystikk Masaala


Location: 304 E 44 St

Maria Cano, the Arepa Lady


Location: 77-02AA Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, Queens

Pedro Rodriguez, La Esquina del Camarón Mexicano


Location: Roosevelt Ave and 80th St, Jackson Heights, Queens

[via Real Cheap Eats]

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