Off the Eaten Path

Eats Off the 7

Underneath this above-ground train line are some of the city’s most acclaimed eateries and bars.

Photo via Shutterstock

For those of you who’ve been scared off by horror stories of mega delays on the 7 subway line — although we could say that about every line nowadays, #FixTheMTA — you’re missing out on a truly eclectic dining excursion, because some of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants and bars live below the elevated tracks. Here, ride through our favorite places to eat and drink off the purple Queens line en route to one of NYC’s culinary meccas: Flushing. Step in and stand clear of the closing doors!

7 subway line

7 Stop: Queensborough Plaza
Where to Eat: Dutch Kills

You only know you’ve arrived when you see the neon “Bar” sign and a bouncer towering over you, but this is no frat pub. Instead, this deep, dark tavern features well-dressed bartenders who take their time concocting perfectly shaken and stirred libations, a 1776-edition American flag proudly hanging above, and an expertly curated jukebox in the back that’s as old school as they come (as in Frankie Valli old school). Feel like tasting your way through the expansive bourbon selection? Put your trust in the bartenders; they’ll whip you up the cocktail of your dreams. Dutch Kills serves subs from Hendu’s Sandwich Shop, so slow down your buzz with the outrageously delicious hot roast beef hero. 27-24 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City

7 Stop: 40th Street
Where to Eat: Sunnyside Pizza

This no-frills pizza shop is literally a hole-in-the-wall; there’s maybe 10 square feet of walkable space inside, half of which is a two-seat dining area. There’s a solid reason why there is a constant line out the door during peak dinner service: The sesame-crusted pies are cheap and lovingly made by a second-generation Italian family, and the crew remembers regulars’ orders after just a few visits. 40-01 Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside

7 Stop: 61st Street
Where to Eat: Donovan’s Pub 

This long-standing Irish watering hole is the epitome of old-school New York. Before we had barbell-mustached mixologists picking herbs from their own garden to stir into intricately crafted libations, we relied on getting imbibed through classic stouts and lagers. Instead of veggie burgers that magically bleed, cooks are sticking with the classic hulking broiled beef patty. The best part of any visit, though, is the fact that you’ll always be surrounded by the tried-and-true locals who’ve been frequenting the tavern since its opening in 1966. 57-24 Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside

7 Stop: 69th Street
Where to Eat: House of Inasal

Chef-owner Ricardo Aguirre already had a prominent career under his belt when he decided to open Inasal in 2014; he attended the Culinary Institute of America and had stints working the line at Craftbar and Nobu before age 30. Now he’s modernizing the concept of Filipino comfort food for the hungry masses. Recommended is the kwek-kwek—a dozen deep-fried quail eggs—which has replaced the humble Scotch egg as my favorite bar food with a yolk, and the grilled chicken leg Inasal, generously marinated with soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and lemongrass. Pro tip: Doggie-bag a few eggs and the garlic rice and zesty cilantro sauce accompanying your chicken for an international breakfast of champions the next day. 65-14 Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside

7 subway line
7 Stop:
74th Street–Broadway
Where to Eat: Arepa Lady

Jackson Heights is considered by many to be the mecca of the Queens dining scene, and one of the main reasons for that is the proclaimed “Sainted Arepa Lady.” Her filling corn cakes stuffed with sharp mozzarella and sprinkled with queso turn bad days better and good days into great ones—she’s just that powerful. Live your best life and order a few arepas topped with carne desmechada and guacamole to make an epically piggy sandwich—you will at least feel better knowing that your Frankendinner is completely gluten-free. Now’s probably the best time to swing by, considering the shop will be moving shop by year’s end. 77-17 37th Avenue, Jackson Heights

7 Stop: 82nd Street–Jackson Heights
Where to Eat: Prontito

You don’t know fast food until you’ve tried Colombia’s version of it. Hamburgers are readily available…except they’re hanging out between two arepas or patacon (mashed and fried plantains) instead of buns. And then, of course, there are the hot dogsOriginating in the Mexican state of Sonora and made popular in parts of Arizona, Prontito’s South American frank is what I like to call the kitchen sink of hot dogs. You think being deep-fried is enough? It’s also topped with everything from guacamole and Russian dressing to crushed potato chips and a quail egg. 40-25 Forley Street

7 Stop: Junction Boulevard
Where to Eat: Tortas Neza

This Corona mainstay doesn’t mess around with its sandwiches, so prepare yourself for mammoth tortas at this lively food truck. Blaring bachata music and fútbol matches on its minuscule televisions make for great icebreakers while waiting for the grill masters to get to work on the biggest sandwich you’ve likely ever encountered. Its famed Torta Pumas—stuffed to the max with grilled salchipapa, refried beans, a chorizo omelet, and a deep-fried chicken cutlet—is meant to feed a tiny family, so you’re better off ordering another one of the (smaller) soccer-inspired tortas if you don’t want to eat leftovers for an entire week. 96-15 Roosevelt Avenue, Corona

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