Forget the Prix-Fixe

The NYC Theater District Photo: CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade
The NYC Theater District Photo: CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade

There are many things to do and see in NYC but the one thing that tops almost every visitors list is to see a Broadway show. New York’s collection of theaters around Times Square, known officially as The Theater District, is the largest of it’s kind in the world. That’s official, by the way.

A typical agenda for a night of theater might go something like this:

5:00 pm-In anticipation of getting lost on the subway, you leave your hotel. Because of the fear of not making it to the theater on time for curtain, you will probably decide on trying to eat somewhere in the Theater District because it’s close to your theater.

6:30pm- You arrived at the Theater District much sooner than you expected because of NYC’s fantastic subway system, but you have been looking around Times Square for a place to eat for the last hour and fifteen minutes. Now, frustrated by all your dining options from Olive Garden to Applebee’s, you feel the pressure of the 8:00pm curtain time closing in on you.  And, there seem to be a million other theatre-goer’s feeling the same thing.

7:10pm- In a desperate attempt to eat so your stomach won’t make growling noises in the middle of one of Alan Cumming’s monologs, you decide to eat at one of the ubiquitous Times Square restaurants with the run of the mill pre-theater Prix Fixe menus.

7:50pm- With only ten minutes to spare you sit down in your Broadway theater seat, still sweating from your jog to the theater, catch your breath, and stifle a small burp from your pasta and sauce.

Theater District restaurants know this about tourists and they depend on it. They prey on the visitor’s unfamiliarity with New York dinning to cash in and serve overpriced, mediocre food.

It does not have to be this way.

Westway ExtThere are many dining options available to the theater enthusiast if they look just outside the Times Square boarders. One of the best is the Westway Diner, located on 9th ave between 42nd and 43rd.

The Westway Diner has been around since 1988, and is a favorite spot for both aspiring actors and locals, so it has to be good and cheap. After all, a local won’t be a regular if the food is bad.

Westway Reuben
The Ultimate Diner Food: The Reuben Plater, Westway Diner

Westway IntHuge, clean, and open 24 hours, its charms are not immediately apparent unless you spend some time and eavesdrop on the regulars’ conversations. Who knows? You might just overhear an actor who will be Broadway’s next sensation.