Live jazz is back on the menu, folks. A mysterious red glow greets you at Melody’s Piano Bar entrance, beckoning you to enter the dimly lit yet intimate interior. Formerly Lexington Bar and Books, Melody’s looks to retain the cozy feel. Black leather couches hug the walls here as a line of candlelit tables are separated by floor-to-ceiling wooden shutters. There is a stage adjacent to the bar area with seating for about 15 comfortably. The whole space has an estimated 60 seats. Although you can order small bites like truffled mac and cheese, Melody’s is all about the drinks. The drink menu has sections for shaken, stirred, “fun”, and non-alcoholic (which in our opinion, could all be fun). On the shaken menu, guests can opt for the “Hail Cesar!” made with tequila, fresh jalapeno, and passion fruit served on the rocks. On the fun side, we recommend “The Grace Kelly” made with mezcal, raspberry, cava rose, and rosemary served on a coup. Melody’s is open Sunday-Thursday from 6 pm to 2 am. Fridays and Saturdays from 6 pm to 4 am. Find the red light at 1020 Lexington Ave between 72nd and 73rd streets.
It’s what’s inside that counts, at least according to the Keys and Heels website. Speakeasy concepts have been popping up all over New York recently. Still, few have committed to the bit like Keys and Heels, an intimate and photogenic lounge disguised as a locksmith/shoe repair shop. The elegant interior features exposed brick, cinematic lighting, and warm earth tones. Tufted upholstery banquettes and lamp-topped dining tables fill the snug space. We recommend taking a couple of pictures. Guests can look forward to a drink menu featuring the Manhattan High Tea made with Earl Grey-infused syrup and popular cocktails like Negroni and a boozy spritz expertly crafted with guava nectar, prosecco, and vodka. Marinated olives, pigs in a blanket, and homemade focaccia are all among their “lounge bites.” Guests should expect magic shows and surprise live music performances, so make sure you are tuned in to their Instagram feed for more information. Find Keys & Heels at 1488 Second Avenue on the Upper East Side. It is open Thursday through Saturday from 6 pm.
Over 30 years in the food truck business, Tony’s Dragon Grille still manages to keep things fresh and maintain a loyal following. But how? Manager Konstantino Dragonas tells us, “It’s all about focusing on quality, skill, and preparation.” The story began in 1986 with a small stainless-steel push wagon selling hotdogs and pretzels. Then came street burgers, which are still on the menu to this day, and eventually, the food truck reinvented itself as the go-to spot for high-quality gourmet Greek food. The menu features a surprisingly diverse selection of dishes from wild salmon to ribeye steak and various salads. We love the Mediterranean chicken breast pita with a side of avocado. The weather is starting to heat up, and what better way to lounge in Central Park with a meal from Tony’s Dragon Grille. “We’re just continuing the tradition,” Konstantino says, “customer service, fresh food, this is what we do.” Find Tony’s Dragon Grille at 62nd St and Madison Ave on the Upper East Side.
Can you smell the freshly baked chocolate babka? Upper East Siders have a lot to look forward to with the recent opening of Michaeli Bakery’s 2nd NYC location (the first location is in LES). This hotly anticipated spot is helmed by Israeli chef-owner Adir Michaeli, who served as head baker at the acclaimed Breads Bakery. His famous and sought-after chocolate nutella babka there took the city by storm. Michaeli Bakery features an identical menu as the Lower East Side location. Guests can expect Burekas freshly baked every weekday and signature items like “pastry galil,” made with goat cheese, za’atar, and honey. Challah is also baked every Friday, in keeping with Jewish tradition. This new location is slightly larger than the LES location, sporting a row of stools and a counter overlooking the street. The open-kitchen setup is designed to put the oven front and center for patrons sitting directly behind the cashier. Join us for a rugelach at 401 East 90th St. between York Ave and 1st.
This Middle Eastern restaurant and coffeehouse near 87th Street and 1st Avenue serves food with "elements of Israeli, Moroccan, and Lebanese cuisine infused with flavors from Provence, France." Lashevet also sports an entirely vegetarian menu during the day. Translated from Hebrew, “Lashevet” means “to sit or to settle,” and we don’t mind grabbing a seat for some shakshuka and a falafel pita sandwich. There are also meat dishes available like lamb meatballs and hanger steak marinated with skhug. The coffeehouse portion of Lashevet is impressive, too, with drinks like Moroccan house tea, Turkish coffee, turmeric ginger latte, and a whole host of other hot and chilled beverages. Whether you’re here for a cup of coffee and a homemade pastry or their mouthwatering lamb burger, Lashevet’s homey presence and attentive customer service are something worth admiring. Check it out for yourself at 1663 1st Ave between 87th and 86th street.
Buena Onda is a Mexican restaurant on the Upper East Side with a focus on mezcal cocktails. The phrase “Buena Onda” is slang for “cool” in Spanish, and the atmosphere inside deftly oozes the coolness factor. With its exposed brick and a generous amount of flatscreens, Buena Onda looks to be the next hangout spot for a Yankees or Mets game this upcoming season. While you wait for the first pitch, try their barbacoa quesadillas or their delightful rajas and cheese tamales. Most of the items will run you about $14 or less. Their lengua tacos and carne asada are also must-try. The chef and owner is Ruperto Ramirez, who also runs Canyon Road just a few minutes away at 1470 First Ave, between 76th and 77th streets. Find Buena Onda at 1446 1st Ave on East 75th Street.
Local treasure Padoca Bakery had to close down its Lenox Hill location back in 2020, but the oven is starting to heat up again in Yorkville, and you’re invited. Padoca Bakery is famous for its Brazilian cheese bread and selection of must-try sweets. Try the orange olive oil bread or the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of the double chocolate chip bread. “Padoca, a slang term in Brazil, means neighborhood bakery, a place where everyone knows your name. We're excited to bring our neighborhood bakery to your front door,” says co-founders Marina Halpern and Rachel Binder. Padoca also offers breakfast sandwiches and a strong cup of coffee to keep you going. Find this local favorite at 1663 1st Ave between 87th and 86th street. There is another location at 210 E. 67th street between 2nd and 3rd ave.
The bakers behind the best damn nutella babka in the city are taking their talents to the UES, and cranking out a fresh spin on the iconic black & white cookie. Breads Bakery, which has locations in Union Square, Lincoln Center, and Bryant Park, is taking over 1294 3rd Avenue on East 74th Street. The black & white cookie is thought to have been invented at Glaser’s bakery over 116 years ago, just steps away from this location. Owner Gadi Peleg told reporters at the opening party, “We're a block away from where Glaser's used to be, famous for their black & whites. My guess is that Glaser's is where it all started. And we're so thrilled to be able to bring those cookies back to this neighborhood.” This new take on the storied cookie uses flaky laminated dough as a foundation similar to that of a croissant. A vanilla-bean glaze coats the white side, and the black side is made of a dark cocoa powder in the dough with tiny chocolate chips baked in. The black & white cookie is only available at the new UES location. While there is no indoor seating at the moment, there is a well-heated curbside dining area out on 3rd Avenue for to-stay orders.
The Migrant Kitchen has officially opened at 1433 First Avenue, between East 74th and 75th Streets. The Middle Eastern and Latin restaurant – which is also planning to open a location on the Upper West Side fairly soon – was founded in 2019 by Daniel Dorado and Nasser Jaber, a resilient duo responsible for giving us such a tasty fusion of cuisines. Menu items include salmon and roast chicken entrees, shawarma wraps and tortas, and starters including hummus with pita chips, potato wedges, and fan-favorite empanadas. Dorado and Jaber have also been giving back to the community and serving meals to frontline workers and those in need for well over a year now. As of today, they donate one meal to a New Yorker in need for every meal purchased. The Migrant Kitchen also has a location in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
If you’re craving mochi or have never had it before, newly opened Mochidoki on the Upper East Side will have you covered. In this new second location, Mochidoki is offering an exclusive flavor: Everything Bagel. Curious yet? This new take on the mochi consists of cream cheese ice cream wrapped in light, chewy mochi and flavored with garlic, salt, sesame, and poppy seeds. Alongside this, you can expect a bevy of perennial favorites such as Ube, Vegan Matcha, Salted Caramel, and Vegan Lychee. Mochidoki sports a newly-expanded tea menu with mochi pairings such as their Nitro Turmeric Ginger Tea and Coconut Mochi combination. Mochidoki is open now and located at 1035 3rd ave and East 62nd St.
Doughnut lovers rejoice. Krispy Kreme’s iconic mouthwatering glazed doughnuts are making their flavorful way into the Upper East Side later this October. Scheduled to open its doors at 7 am, Tuesday, October 12, Krispy Kreme will set up shop on Lexington Ave near East 86th Street. Too early in the morning for you? Have no fear; Krispy Kreme will have its doors open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays to satisfy that sweet tooth.