There are a few things that might come to mind when you think of Westchester: suburban parents, possibly your own; friends who have suddenly turned into suburban parents; and once-a-year Metro North trips to go apple picking.
But things have changes and maybe it's time to convince your parents to try somewhere other than the red sauce place they've been going to since they moved in. Maybe you've been "just looking" at schooling districts and occasionally checking interest rates on mortgages. Or maybe you've lived in the area for decades and you want help convincing your snobby friends that they made a mistake trading two floors for a two bedroom. Whatever the reason, we have you covered because there are plenty of restaurants and bars worth downloading the train times app for. Like a roadside hot dog stand in a pagoda that’s been around for 100 years and possibly the best farm-to-table restaurant on the planet. Beer nerds are also welcome in these parts, as are people who like their outdoor patios unobstructed by delivery trucks and untainted by dog/maybe human pee.
Here’s our list of the best places to go that are worth a trip, worth branching out for, or at least worthwhile diversions on the way to visit that baby.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns is the fever dream of farm-to-table restaurants, where you drive past your dinner on the way to eating it. It’s also one of the highest rated restaurants on this entire site. We can’t tell you what to order because there are no menus, just multi-course tastings based on what chef Dan Barber decides to create that day. Just know that it will be a long, thought-provoking, expensive, and delicious meal, and it will be 100% worth it.
Let’s say you’ve always wanted to drink during the day in a warehouse that is reached by driving through a rental van parking lot. That might just be a dream we had recently, but if you’re really into beer, head to the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room. For $1, they will refill your five ounce souvenir sample glass their small batch brews on tap, while you check out the factory where they were made. Or you can commit to your favorite beer with a full glass or a growler. Outside they have picnic tables, cornhole, and bocce, and if you get hungry, a local hot dog place has a stand onsite that serves fancied up hot dogs and snacks.
The Parlor takes their Neopolitan-style pies very seriously. With a pizza oven imported from Italy, carefully sourced ingredients, and house-made mozzarella, their pizzas are blistered on top and thin on the bottom with a little body to them. You can get classic preparations as well as pies with ingredients like ramps, lemon, and bone marrow (but not all at once), and some creative starters that make use of the oven. This is as good as Westchester pizza gets.
The Barn is definitely a fancy spot. But the room is cozy, the vibe is friendly, and the Dutch pancake is incredible. It tastes like it was drenched in butter and then air dried while it crisped up in the skillet. As a matter of fact, just about everything here is better than what you've had elsewhere, and you will leave feeling like you just fueled up at your very own country manor.
X2O is a serious restaurant on the Yonkers waterfront. It's long been a choice for anniversaries, dinners with the parents, and graduation lunches. But X2O also has Dylan Lounge, a more casual dining area near the bar where you can order the entire restaurant menu, plus some smaller dishes designed for the lounge. Try whatever pasta they're making that night, and pick and choose from the seafood-focused starters and meat entrees. Don’t be afraid to order some of the sushi rolls on this menu, especially the warm crispy tuna roll with avocado.
Peekskill, a small town way up north in Westchester, has a surprisingly artsy, grungy feel to it, and Birdsall House fits right in. The place is laid back, with worn out booths, a long wooden bar, and zero attitude. Birdsall House is a gastropub that makes its own charcuterie, sources almost everything from local farmers, and creates all the condiments from scratch. Add in 20 beers on tap and a rotating bottle selection in case you want to drink something from every county in New York State, and you should be happy. Throw in some of their incredible fries and you’ll be ecstatic.
Walter’s is a Westchester institution that has been using a proprietary meat blend for its dogs since the first Pat LaFrieda was working at his father’s local butcher shop in Brooklyn (1919 if you're not as much of a meat-nerd as we are). The hot dogs are made in house with a combination of pork, beef, and veal, then split and grilled with a secret sauce and served with Walter’s own tangy mustard blend. So good, especially with a side of curly fries.
While there are plenty of places along the Hudson River to have a drink by the water, none have the 180 degree views that Half Moon does. From here you can see the NYC skyline to the south, sunset over the Palisades across the Hudson, and even the very fancy new Tappan Zee Bridge to the north. Much like Half Moon’s sister place in Montauk, the food doesn't match up to the quality of the scenery, but the burger is a tasty, juicy mess smothered in bacon and cheese. Either way, you won’t be complaining as you watch the sunset from the patio.