2. Baohaus

Baohaus at 238 East 14th Street on the Lower East Side actually began as a 400-square-foot subterranean bomb shelter with a very limited menu on Rivington Street back in 2009 before relocating in 2011. Though the new locale is not that much bigger, it now is able to accommodate 20 people.

The Taiwanese-Chinese restaurant is not only focused on lifting the gua bao (a small Taiwanese sandwich) to an art form, but also acting as a “mouthpiece for the social, cultural, and political issues” that owners, Eddie and Evan Huang, care about. Baohaus, described as a “futuristic YMCA,” has worked to feed homeless families since its beginning in 2009.

1. Freight Entrance Restaurants

El Sabroso, a freight entrance restaurant at 265 W 37th Street (between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue).

While there used to be a lot more of these spots, it’s still fun to spend a lunch in one of these restaurants tucked into the freight entrances of buildings and warehouses. Nick’s Place, the self-proclaimed “best kept secret in the Garment District” was once one of the most well-known of these nooks before it shuttered in late 2016. However, there’s still El Sabroso and Acuario’s Cafe, which offer unique dining experiences as well.

Both of these hole-in-the-wall eateries serve Latin American food and are located within half a block from each other. Address: El Sabroso (265 W 37th St.); Acuario’s Cafe (306 W 37th St.)

For more on restaurants in NYC, check out 6 Hidden Japanese Restaurants in NYC and 10 of NYC’s Oldest Historic Restaurants, Inns and Taverns