Grub Street’s 20 Most-Read Stories of 2023

To cover restaurants and food is to watch fleeting trends zip past while long-understood truisms remain. The year 2023 offered both: As with every other aspect of our lives, social media fully took hold of this city’s dining rooms and stores, turning corner shops into Instagram galleries and dinner into a live-theater experience tailor-made for TikTok. Is this what we want from our real-world experiences? Maybe, although when YouTube pizza reviews made the jump to an IRL festival, the results were… underwhelming. Meanwhile, a burger-stand can still draw the city’s longest lines, the food world continues to be populated (unfortunately) with bad actors, and everyone still seems to hate the idea of tipping. Plus ça change….

Try as we might, it’s impossible to summarize an entire year of eating into a single, cohesive narrative, and the 20 stories below — our most-read of the year — certainly do not. Instead, they speak to the ever-varied interests of you, our audience. What does 2024 have in store? Whatever it is, we’re looking forward to documenting the best, worst, and weirdest stories we encounter. If you have not already, be sure to subscribe to follow it all.

20. Delia Cai Makes the Most of a Breakup Brunch

Illustration: Maanvi Kapur

“I’m sad, but at least I’m full.” Read the story …

19. It’s the Most Hyped Burger in Years — But Is It Any Good?

Photo: Ron Antonelli

Hamburger America is here. Read the story …

18. Greenpoint Versus Greenpoint

Photo: Hugo Yu/

Can a neighborhood learn to coexist with itself? Read the story …

17. A Tacombi on Every Corner

Photo: Dario Wolos, Jeff Parker, his mentor, and the Tacombi team in Playa del Carmen.

Can Danny Meyer’s millions make the chain bigger than Shake Shack? Read the story …

16. I Manage a Restaurant. Tips Have Never Been More Volatile.

Photo-Illustration: Grub Street; Photo: Getty Images

When undertipping becomes confrontational. Read the story …

15. New York Restaurants Go Full Camp

Photo: Christian Harder

Is anyone even supposed to like Bad Roman? Read the story …

14. I Ate the $29 Ham-and-Cheese Sandwich

Photo: Chris Crowley

It was fine. Read the story …

13. A Big Fat Blob of Boring

Photo: Hugo Yu

Can we cool it with all the burrata balls? Read the story …

12. 33 Eating Adventures

Photo: Beth Sacca/B) Beth Sacca

A Turkish feast among jet-skiers in Sheepshead Bay, dosas worth a drive to Jersey, and carnitas in someone’s Woodside backyard. Read the story …

11. The Blood Feud Brewing Inside Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Alex Lau

A family fight threatens the iconic Doyers Street restaurant. Read the story …

10. The Kids’ Menus of the Ruling Class

Photo: Vincent Tullo/Vincent Tullo for The New York Times

What would Shiv Roy think of the Polo Bar? Read the story …

9. Manhattan’s Super-Jail Is Already Swallowing Chinatown

Illustration: Sarula Bao

“We were open less than a year.” Read the story …

8. Last Stand of the Hot Dog King

Photo: Alexei Hay

“This is like the Alamo.” Read the story …

7. Cheesier, Saucier, and Drowning in Caviar

Photo: Hugo Yu

How TikTok took over the menu. Read the story …

6. Dwight Garner Always Has a Muffuletta in the Freezer

Illustration: Adam Mazur

“I’ve loved nearly every muffuletta I’ve ever had, but these are special.” Read the story …

5. Dave Portnoy’s Sausage Fest

Ezra Marcus

A rain-soaked afternoon eating pizza with the Stoolies. Read the story …

4. The Spanker of Shelter Island

Photo: Lindsay Morris

Many saw Marie Eiffel berate her bakery employees. But they were surprised when she was sued for human trafficking. Read the story …

3. Welcome to the Shoppy Shop

Photo: Teddy Wolff

Why does every store suddenly look the same? Read the story …

2. The Cat Who Could Kill Horses

Lucky Tennyson

Chef Liz Johnson accused her husband Will Aghajanian of killing their cat. That’s just one part of the story. Read the story …

1. The New Rules of Tipping

Illustration: Andrew Rae

Fifteen to 20 percent doesn’t cut it anymore. Read the story …

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