On the Lower East Side, we might duck into Katz’s Deli and try the most mouth-watering pastrami on earth, or stop at Kossars Bialy's and experience what a true bagel tastes like. But it’s not only about the food—I’ll tell you the history behind these tried and true New York eats, too.
As CEO (Chief Eating Officer) of Nice Guy Tours, I get to share with you the city that I love through the food and stories that have shaped it. Everything we eat on my tours has a story behind it—like Katz’s Deli, who has been perfecting their recipes since they opened back in 1888!
What a walking food tour is
It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. On a typical tour, we sample food at about seven different places, eating our way through New York’s most iconic neighborhoods, while I tell you a story or two about the people and places who have made this the great city it is today.
There’s no place like New York for walking and eating, and that’s just what we do. We eat a little, we walk and talk, we eat a little more—walk, talk, eat, repeat—the perfect recipe for creating long-lasting friendships.
If you wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a healthy appetite, I’ll make sure of two things: 1) you come away with a full stomach and some great memories; and 2) you know where the heck you’re headed in this crazy city, even if that means I hail you a cab or march you to the subway myself. We’re not called Nice Guy Tours for nothing!
Really, though. I care about my customers leaving with the impression that New Yorker’s are a pretty decent bunch of people.
As part of that, I make a point to bring you only to places where the owners and staff are friendly. You won’t get some cranky guy behind the counter, and no one will give you glaring looks for taking up a table for too long.
Like at Artichoke Pizza, where I tell you about the spectacular success of two great guys who started out working in their family’s restaurant on Staten Island, and are now about to open their 17th restaurant. Oh, and we’ll try their authentic New York pizza, too. You’ll find out how they prepare it just a little out of the ordinary from other pizza you’ve eaten.
What you can expect to eat on a Nice Guys tour
The food scene in New York runs the gamut from pricey and pretentious to laid-back but unbelievably tasty. Nice Guy Tours lean more towards—you guessed it—the simple, delicious meals that have been nourishing New Yorkers for longer than I’ve been alive.
On the Greenwich Village Tour, for example, we’ll stop at Mamoun’s Falafel, the oldest falafel restaurant in the city. Mamoun’s has been family-owned and operated since the day they opened their doors. Their falafels are created from a family recipe that’s more than four decades old; then they’re fried to golden brown perfection, served inside a toasted pita and drizzled with tahini.
So simple but so good.
What a walking food tour is not
Alright, we talked about what a food walking tour is. I’d like to take a second and tell you what a tour with me is not.
It’s not crowded. I keep my tours to 12 people maximum, so you’ll never have to crowd around or stand behind some tall person while you try to hear out what I’m saying. I like to get to know everyone on my tours.
It’s not led by anyone but me. I hope you read (and write!) glowing reviews on Facebook or TripAdvisor about Nice Guy Tours. Wink, wink. If you do, know always that I was the tour guide then and I’ll be the tour guide later.
It’s not boring. I give you a little history lesson on the places along the tour, but I love telling the most interesting stories I know. Also, there’s food. How could you get bored?
And of course, you’ll get a great sense of New York’s historic neighborhoods as we walk. Watch the city transform from block to block and street to street. Nowhere is this more apparent than the Lower East Side, where we’ll stop in at Yonah Schimmel Knish, named after a Romanian immigrant who peddled knishes to the millions of people who lived and worked on these streets during New York’s peak immigration era.
Now this establishment sits alongside expensive boutiques and hip fusion restaurants in this trendy neighborhood where the rent has soared in recent years.
Learning by eating
And finally, I love when my customers have a great time but I also like people to feel they’ve learned a little something. Like, did you know that Neapolitan Express, part of the Food Truck and Cart Tour, is passionate about the environment? They not only want to serve you an insanely delicious slice of pizza, they also make a point of being eco-friendly by using only organic, non-GMO ingredients, and running their food trucks on natural gas fuel.
So, maybe you’re visiting New York from abroad, and a Nice Guy tour has totally changed your perception of American food and the history that goes with it.
Or you might have come from another American city and eaten a chicken Kati roll from Biryani Cart for the first time. I’ve even been known to introduce true blue New Yorkers to places they’ve never tried before.
Whoever you may be, I welcome you on a food walking tour with me, and I look forward to sharing my city—and some of New York’s incomparable food—with you!