Yes! You heard that right, a restaurant inside a loading dock. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but, it’s sure darn creative.
A couple blocks down from 34th street, sandwiched between a massive Dunkin’ Donuts and your run of the mill deli, sits little hole in the wall, El Sabroso. Now, I’ve traveled to 34th street many times and I have never heard about or even seen this place. In fact, while looking around for it, I nearly walked right past. Hide and go seek Manhattan! It is easy to mistake El Sabroso’s metallic entrance and burnished exterior for a factory or warehouse, but if you take a closer look at the door you will see a red rectangular menu beckoning passersby inside.
As I stopped to take a picture of this concealed restaurant, groups of people started looking in as if they too were seeing this establishment for the first time.
As I entered El Sabroso, I started to observe this eccentric scene. The loading dock was made to look like a mini cafe, while still keeping its steely aura and machinery type decor. There were five cute little stools lined up at the lunch counter and a couple of tables towards the back. I could not believe I was about to eat here. I looked up at the menu and beheld an array of homemade Latin American cuisine. Stewed Chicken, Pork Chops, Steak, Goat, Baked Ribs (Yum!)
I decided to order the stew chicken, and for $6 I got meat, rice, beans, and salad. Pretty good deal!
FYI – If you’re looking for a place that is secluded, simple, unique and inexpensive, you will enjoy El Sabroso. If you’re expecting five star quality, posh hospitality and pricey tasteless food, this is not for you.
Fun Facts: While speaking to the owner of the restaurant, Tony Melina, I learned that this peculiar establishment has been operating since 1982. Tony both makes and serves all of the food. Lets give it up for a great owner and awesome work ethic!
So how was my overall experience eating out of a loading dock? Unique.
265 W 37th St
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 284-1118
Hours: Monday – Saturday (7AM – 5PM) *Closed Sunday*