As a follow-up to our pre-theater dinner recommendations, here are our recommendations for where to eat dinner before a Broadway show on the cheap. Our criteria: they must have entrees for under $20, a meal there can’t take longer than 30 minutes, and no national chains. (And we promise, we’d never send Broadway’s Best Shows readership to any establishment without an A from the Health Department.)
Los Tacos No. 1
229 W 43rd; https://www.lostacos1.com/#
Everyone orders at the counter at this authentic and efficient taco spot, which also offers quesadillas and tostadas, which are open-faced tacos on a crunchy tortilla. They make the masa for the tortillas from scratch every day, and gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options abound for all preferences. Make sure to ask your server for “con todo,” so you get all the toppings– guacamole is no extra charge.
Lucky’s Famous Burgers
370 W 52nd St; https://luckysfamousburgers.com/
Lucky’s has been a Hell’s Kitchen institution since 2005, arguably even essential infrastructure – they’re open until 4:30 in the morning on Friday and Saturday nights. They offer the menu of a big fast food chain even though 52nd street is their sole location, and you can order combos like the #1, a burger with fries and a drink.
Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles II
648 9th Ave; http://www.tastyhandpullednoodles2.com/
This outpost of the legendary Chinatown noodle shop features the same menu, with its signature options for noodle thickness and shape– it’s in the name, they really do pull the noodles fresh by hand for each order. Unlike the downtown location, the Hell’s Kitchen shop accepts credit cards!
Lovely’s Old Fashioned
642 9th Ave; https://www.lovelysoldfashioned.com/
Designed to look like a 1950’s burger counter, Lovely’s opened in early 2023. The Charlotte’s Special cheeseburger with special sauce is just $8.50. They’re open until 1 am on weekends, and while they don’t sell milkshakes, they do offer a killer chocolate pistachio Bundt cake.
547 9th ave; https://capizzinyc.com/
There are a million slice counters in Midtown, but Capizzi offers something a bit more elevated– every pie is made from scratch, and is personal-pizza sized. It’s very quick and unpretentious, so you can avoid the line over on 40th street at Joe’s and try something new, like a white artichoke pie, or an egg, pancetta, and provolone pie.