The flavors, the smells, the taste of bacon are so beloved that bacon now has its own holiday to celebrate and, of course, indulge. August 20 is Bacon Lovers Day, a day that gives pure unadulterated license to gorging yourself on this tasty treat and to ignoring any plant-based, fat-free fantasies for at least one day.
The Original Place for Bacon Lovers
The established bacon king in New York City is Peter Luger Steakhouse in Brooklyn. Serving up steaks for 133 years, bacon was originally served to workers in the same way that lobster used to be served as a throwaway food to prisoners. The dish proved so popular that guests began ordering it to top their hamburgers, as an addition to the tomato and onion salad, or as a standalone item. Now that Peter Luger’s has outdoor seating, take advantage of the chance to enjoy this greasy dish while social distancing. Similarly, Prime 1024, a modern Italian steakhouse in Roslyn, features an Applewood smoked bacon appetizer. You’ll want to savor this slowly smoked, thick-pork bacon drizzled with Vermont spicy syrup all by itself. There’s also Peter Luger in Great Neck nearby for an indoor-dining bacon burger fix.
Best Spots for Bacon Lovers Day
Speaking of burgers, bacon lovers will tell you that no burger is complete without a slab of bacon to add to the richness of the flavor. In honor of this holiday, several NYC restaurants have gone all out to enhance their customary offerings with specials for the day.
Best Bacon Burgers and Sandwiches
For anytime cravings, Extra Virgin’s eight-ounce sirloin burger is thick and juicy, grilled and topped with thick strips of smoked bacon, cheese and avocado. It’s perfect to fuel your stroll around the West Village.
UWS (Upper West Side) restaurant Marlow Bistro has a special burger for National Bacon Lovers Day, the Onion & Bacon Jam Burger with Camembert and pepper aioli. You can enjoy it on their beautiful outdoor patio.
Continuing uptown Harlem Shake’s award-winning burger is a Pat LaFrieda signature blend, smashed and griddled. Finished with pickled cherry peppers, homemade bacon relish, American cheese and smoky chipotle mayo, the burger invites an explosion of tastes highlighted by bacon, of course. And the name is more than appropriate – ask for the Hot Mess.
Non-beef lovers have a chicken sandwich with delicious thick-cut candied bacon. Daleview Biscuits & Beer in Brooklyn is your go-to especially if you’re gluten-free. Choices are served on a gluten-free biscuit. Try The Haven with a colorful topping of purple coleslaw.
Best Bacon Salads
Another favorite way to enjoy bacon is as part of a salad. Invented some time in the 50s, the steakhouse fave wedge salad includes crumbled bacon along with blue cheese, a creamy dressing and iceberg lettuce. Two popular locales to enjoy the best are The Writing Room on the Upper East Side and Jacob’s Pickles on the Upper West Side. You can justify enjoying the bacon’s high fat and cholesterol content because you’re eating a salad. Greens balance out the dressing and bacon, right?
But if you want to feel a bit healthier, Ocean Prime NYC has a shellfish Cobb salad that mixes up lobster and shrimp with bacon and veggies. For meat lovers, their Chop Chop salad has both salami and smoked bacon. And, for true indulgence, the restaurant’s creamed spinach is topped with creamy Gruyere cheese together with bacon.
Best Bulk Bacon Dishes
The Jeffrey, a buzzy gastropub on the Upper East Side, has mastered the use of bacon in multiple dishes. Using Nueske's applewood smoked bacon, The Jeffrey celebrates bacon every day but especially on National Bacon Lovers Day with an expanded menu. You can put together a complete bacon-inflected menu starting with Devils On Horseback, bleu cheese stuffed dates wrapped in Nueske's bacon, served with whole grain mustard; followed by a BELT or BEAC sandwich; or the Cracked Out Madame, a cheesy mass of Gruyere, Swiss, Béchamel, Fontina, egg and bacon. Bacon burgers are a given here. Enjoy all with a selection from their extensive beer list.
Winning the award for the most creative bacon dish in the city is David Burke’s signature Clothesline Bacon in all its black pepper, maple glaze glory. At Woodpecker, Chef Burke hits the bacon with a blowtorch just before serving, creating a glaze that infuses fat dripping off bacon strips hanging from a miniature clothesline onto a dill pickle. Both the bacon and the pickles are a wow.
If you can’t make up your mind, you can just add bacon to anything you order at the new Carnegie Diner & Cafe in the heart of Midtown. To celebrate the holiday, the Carnegie will offer a side of bacon for $1 with the purchase of any main dish all day long.