Pride Month, which takes place in June, was born out of the pursuit for Gay Rights around the world. World Pride marches have given the LGBTQIA+ community international visibility, breaking stigmas throughout the era of the AIDS crisis and fight for marriage equality. These marches have evolved into a month-long celebration that everyone can participate in.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and New York City is hosting the largest Pride celebration in the world in commemoration. In June of 1969, the legendary Stonewall Inn was raided by the New York Police department for operating as an illegal saloon. Bars were refused liquor licenses by the N.Y. State Liquor Authority for serving LGBTQ patrons. Pioneering activists, Marsha P. Johnson, and Sylvia Rivera fought back during this raid which inspired gay rights marches around the country.
Establishments like Stonewall served as safe havens and community centers for LGBTQ members when they were ostracized by society. This Pride, you can join in the celebration by supporting one of New York City’s many LGBT-owned and operated restaurants.
Here’s a list of 5 restaurants that we love, with chefs and owners who proudly belong to the LGBT community.
Located in the East Village, Prune’s owner and chef, Gabrielle Hamilton, won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 2018. Prune has gained long-time recognition for its creative, pan-European menu. On the weekend Prune is buzzing with brunch-goers, however, during the week the small bistro hosts a more relaxed crowd. Stop by for dinner and try the grilled whole fish or roasted breast of veal.
Also check out Hamilton’s memoir, Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, which discusses her journey becoming a restaurant owner and chef, amidst forming her identity as a lesbian woman. The memoir won the James Beard Award for Writing and Literature in 2012.
New York City is known for its bagel spots, and Baz Bagel in Little Italy has made a name for itself serving up artisanal New York-style bagels. Chef and restaurateur, Bari Musacchio, started Baz in early 2014 which is inspired by her Jewish-Italian background.
Baz serves diner classics and home-style Jewish fare, using the authentic recipes Bari grew up loving. Their hand-rolled bagels are made daily and offered all day long, so stop by anytime for a traditional bagel with lox and schmear or try the Baz rainbow bagel to celebrate Pride.
With locations in the East Village, Chelsea, and Park Slope (Brooklyn), Fonda is known as a friendly, affordable neighborhood spot for exciting contemporary Mexican cuisine. Run by James Beard-nominated chef Roberto Santibañez, Fonda serves hand-pressed tortillas, made-to-order guacamole, and a variety of craft margaritas.
With a bottomless brunch option on the weekends, Fonda is a lively spot to celebrate the Pride party. During the week, stop by for a relaxed dinner and try Santibañez’s signature enchiladas.
Big Gay Ice Cream was born in June 2009, when Brooklynites Doug Quint and his partner, Bryan Petroff bought an ice cream truck. Their seasonal truck became a popular destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike, and they now have locations around NYC and in Philadelphia.
Step into one of their soft-serve shops and you’ll be surrounded by Pride emblems of rainbows and unicorns. You can find their cheeky, colorful cones and shakes posted all over Instagram.
5. Via Carota
Run by partners Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, Via Carota is an Italian eatery in the West Village that offers a delectable menu filled with items like the black truffle pasta and pappardelle with wild boar ragu. This lesbian-run kitchen is renowned for its superb Italian fare and creative cocktail list — especially their nightly specials. They don’t take reservations but trust us, it’s well worth the wait. You can also check out Williams and Sodi’s other West Village restaurants, Buvette and I Sodi.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
In addition to celebrating, Pride is also a reminder that there is still a lot of progress to be made with the acceptance of sexual minorities. The following food establishments are supporting NYC Pride by partnering with nonprofits that give back to the LGBT community: Just Salad, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Magnolia Bakery, and Bouchon Bakery.