Restaurant Envy (And Its Opposite)

Pete Wells’ love letter to Federal Donuts in today’s New York Times put Michael Solomonov’s fried-chicken-and-donut-robot spot on a short but enviable list: Philadelphia restaurants that NYT food writers wish they could claim as their own. Past inductees include Vetri, upon which former critic Frank Bruni heaped praise, and (if you expand the criteria to include the city’s whole eating culture) The Food Trust, which Mark Bittman lauded last April.

We welcome the attention, and freely admit that there are plenty of restaurants in New York that we’d be happy to see in the sixth borough.

But it’s more fun to play a different game: calling out restaurants that make us even prouder of our hometown, for the simple fact that they do not—and indeed could never—exist here.

So it is in that spirit, and the hope of further nominations in the Comments section, that we bring your attention to Modern Toilet, a chain (!) in Taipei.

To eat, or to pee—that is the question.  At least it’s the question on Modern Toilet’s website, and the implication is that you may attempt both things without the intolerable hassle of moving your rear end.  “In the beginning, we mainly sold ice cream—a big pile of chocolate ice cream sold in containers shaped like a squat toilet,” Modern Toilet’s visionary founders recall.  But why stop there, when you can seat your customers on actual commodes and serve them kimchi hot pots in miniature Western-style flushers that would stun Thomas Crapper to awestruck silence.

Question: Does Assam milk tea taste as sweet when served from a scale model of a portable urinal?

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  • hamburglar

    Bo Jangles. Not only does the name of this sub par franchise sound like southern slang for an old man’s droopy hang low, but their food is some of the worst. Chalk dust biscuits and diarrhea-inducing greasy and pasty chicken. Just awful.

  • thesestreets

    Basically any place in Times Square, although I kind of want that Mars themed restaurant to show up on Market East…

  • Django Fett

    I’ll trade Federal Donuts for NYC’s Donut Plant in a heartbeat – at least from the donut perspective.

  • Miguel

    The sixth borough, North Jersey? Who in their right mind thinks Philadelphia is the sixth borough of NYC?

  • Pat

    Foobooz is hardly the first place to refer to Philly as the sixth borough.

  • Miguel

    I understand that Pat, but have you ever in your life heard a Native Philadelphian call their city the sixth borough? Now, maybe a transplant I can understand…

  • mike

    Miguel – “sixth borough” come from some article published a few years ago about hipsters moving to philly from new york. You see it used now in articles comparing philly to new york. No one uses it in real life.

  • Rob


    Apparently you have never had a country ham biscuit from Bojangles

  • mazza3

    ergh, sixth borough, really? we don’t do that here, author. we pretend it never happened actually.