A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 31, 2016
One-Food Wonder

A “one-hit wonder” is a recording artist who has only one hit song. A “one-trick pony” is someone who can do only one thing well. New York City saw a growth of one-food restaurants in the 2000s.

There had always been donut shops and ice cream shops and bagel shops and pizza shops and hot dog carts, but a store that just features peanut butter? A store just about rice pudding? A store just about macaroni and cheese?

“10 One-Food Wonders for Lip Smackin’ New York City Snackin” was published on the blog Mommy Poppins on May 20, 2010. The “one-food wonder” term found its way into a book title, New York’s One-Food Wonders: A Guide to the Big Apple’s Unique Single Food Spots (2015) by Mitch Broder.

Mommy Poppins
10 One-Food Wonders for Lip Smackin’ New York City Snackin’
MAY 20 2010 BY MARCY
As parents we might do back flips to make sure our kids eat their daily 3-square chock full of veggies, whole grains and power fruits. However, sometimes it’s very fun (and wicked delicious) to ditch squaresville, flipping those pesky food pyramids on their points, in order to chow down on some of NYC’s awesome one-food-wonders.

New York (NY) Times
The Menu: One Entree. That’s It.
What they sell is usually made well, often in several different ways, with top-notch components and at least a side dish or two. But the bill of fare is decidedly limited, if not downright obsessive. Take it or leave it.

Many New Yorkers are taking it.

One two-block stretch of Spring Street has a creperie, a café dedicated to chocolate cake — a Portuguese transplant called the Best Chocolate Cake in the World — and even a business, Rice to Riches, that has managed to thrive since 2003 on rice pudding alone.

One-Trick Ponies: Why Single-Dish Restaurants Are Here to Stay
By Rebecca Flint Marx, published on Monday, October 31, 2011
Looking at the roster of restaurants that opened in New York last week, you could draw two conclusions. One, entrepreneurs continue to ignore reason and solvency in order to take a shot at culinary glory (or, at the very least, mediocrity). And two, one-trick ponies—places that specialize in one dish, albeit with multiple variations—aren’t going away.

The Guardian (UK)
Rise of the single dish restaurant
From mango monomania to the meatball menu, restaurants offering Hobson’s choice are appearing everywhere

Alex English
Tuesday 15 May 2012 05.10 EDT
The trend for single dish joints originated in New York (don’t they all?). From macaroni cheese to fries to rice pudding, if you can think of a comfort food, there’s a New York restaurant for it. And if the queues are anything to go by, niche restaurants are doing very well on these shores too.

The Village Voice (New York, NY)

PUBLISHED ON 3/17/2014
BY ADAM LAPETINA @adamlapetina

The Hottest Food Trend in NYC Caters to Fanatics
JUN 04, 2014
Imagine loving chicken nuggets so much that you open an entire restaurant devoted to them. In Manhattan, someone actually did that.

Most restaurants in the New York City borough pride themselves on variety, but others are obsessed with a singular item. A restaurant dedicated to mac and cheese? Check. A restaurant that worships fries? Check. How about a cafe that only serves items with Nutella? As of May 12, that’s a real thing, too, with the grand opening of a Nutella bar in the Italian marketplace Eataly.

OCLC WorldCat record
New York’s one-food wonders : a guide to the Big Apple’s unique single-food spots
Author: Mitch Broder; Jai Williams, (Photographer)
Publisher: Guilford, Connecticut : Globe Pequot, [2015]
Edition/Format: Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database: WorldCat
A decade ago a man decided to open a store selling only a dessert. Today his store is one of the hottest spots in Manhattan. The dessert is rice pudding. The man named the store--presciently--Rice to Riches. Generally speaking, there are two forces behind this sort of success: an engagingly improbable concept and a location in New York City. Those forces have joined enough times to make New York the first city of single-specialty spots--which now finally have a guidebook of their own. New York’s One-Food Wonders is the first guide to collect the dozens and dozens of Manhattan’s weird, wacky, and wonderful onesies. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor in the metropolitan area, it dependably tells you the one place to go to get the one thing you want. Accompanying each of the nearly 100 spots are colorful stories from each spot’s unconventional history.

New York (NY) Times
The City Is Our Oyster: Books About New York’s Favorite Foods

By SAM ROBERTS DEC. 24, 2015
In a word, “Yum!” Mitch Broder, the author of “Discovering Vintage New York,” now trains his sights on “New York’s One-Food Wonders: A Guide to the Big Apple’s Unique Single Food Spots” (Rowman & Littlefield, $16.95).

Mr. Broder not only introduces readers to all-peanut-butter and all-potato-chip restaurants and a place that offers gourmet chicken fingers (as well as more quotidian fare like doughnuts and meatballs), but he also celebrates the “faith, moxie and monumental improbability” of the restaurateurs who “collectively stand as a bastion of individuality and guts.”

Like “Savoring Gotham,” he invokes a staple of food history: New York began as a one-food wonder city, with the oyster.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Coffeehouses/Food Stores • Sunday, January 31, 2016 • Permalink