There’s something quintessentially New York about eating out of a cardboard box.

The humble cardboard box is a symbol of the city, filled with all the essentials for a memorable and satisfied dining experience: food, water, a bathroom, and a place to sleep. It’s no wonder so many films and TV shows are set there. Most restaurants will give you a tostada or tortilla when you’re dining in, but it’s the little extras like the papaya king that make the meal special.

The Papaya King Has Changed Everything

The most significant change the papaya king has brought to New York is its cuisine. Most restaurants in this city would traditionally serve greasy spoons and hamburgers, but the papaya king specializes in healthier and creative food like fresh salads, fish, and chicken offerings. Everything is made from scratch, and there’s usually a New York strip or chicken breast on the menu as well.

The restaurant serves as a testament to the ingenuity of the city’s residents. The owners found a way to make a sustainable living, and in doing so, changed the culinary landscape of the city. It’s difficult to put into words the feeling of satisfaction and pride one gets from knowing that you and your family are helping to make a better world. The food at the papaya king is incredible, and everyone there is very friendly and welcoming. It’s hard to find a bad meal there!

Papaya King’s Boxed Dinner Specials Are Iconic

One of the most iconic and memorable items at the papaya king is its boxed dinner specials. For just $13.95 you get a main course, salad, and a piece of fruit, all served in a cardboard box. The restaurant has a variety of these special boxes, from Chinese dishes to Indian food and even seafood. As the name suggests, these delights are ideal for a holiday or night out with friends and family. It’s become such a standard offer that the restaurant started selling them on its birthday in the form of a personalized cardboard sign. The combination of cheap, yet nostalgic, food and humor is a winning one. You can request a particular sign with a funny or quirky saying for each of the special dinners.

The Location Is Everything

Another thing that makes a restaurant stand out is the location itself. If you look at a map of New York, you’ll notice that the majority of its restaurants and eateries are located in the east side, specifically in Brooklyn. The reason for this is that many of these areas were at one time part of one massive conglomerate known as ‘the city that never sleeps’. When the developers started making their way to build the ‘metropolis of the twenty-first century’, they realized that a big chunk of the city’s real estate was underutilized, and so they built many small businesses and restaurants in the area. The most iconic of these restaurants is, of course, the papaya king.

This area has always been a hub for the arts and food, and the combination of all these elements makes for an incredible dining experience. There’s a wide variety of restaurants and eateries in Brooklyn, ranging from upscale eateries to hole-in-the-wall types. If you visit the area, make sure to try the food there, especially if you like unique and creative dishes. You might find something that will become a new favorite. On that note, here’s a short list of some amazing places in Brooklyn.

Joe’s Bar-B-Que

This is one of the most classic and well known barbecue joints in Brooklyn. The meat is cooked low and slow over an open fire, resulting in tender and juicy cuts of meat. Try their delicious briskets, which are almost impossible to not like. If you’re looking for a place to eat that’s a bit more upscale than your usual bar-b-que restaurant, this is the place for you. Reservations are recommended here, but not required.

Lula Cafe

This is another great place to eat in Brooklyn, located on the edge of the Dumbo neighborhood. Its specialty is Korean barbecue, but the restaurant serves a variety of foods, including sushi and pasta. The restaurant has a relaxed and laid back atmosphere, and there’s definitely something for everyone here. If you have a large group, go for the classic boxes, which are $13.95 per person.


This is a Japanese restaurant in the Dumbo area of Brooklyn. The restaurant serves a variety of local, seasonal and international food, and the menu changes regularly. There’s nothing ordinary about Kuma, and for that reason, it has become a popular destination for foodies. The restaurant serves a variety of hot dogs, and if you’re a fan of the snack, you’ll certainly find something to satisfy you here. If you visit Brooklyn, be sure to add Kuma to your list of places to eat.

Manna Inca Cafe

This is one of the newer restaurants in Brooklyn, located in the heart of the Dumbo neighborhood. The menu features Peruvian food, and the café itself is decked out in all white with touches of yellow here and there. The décor is simple but elegant, and it provides a welcome change of pace from the usual fast food joints and family restaurants that populate the city. You’re not going to find any bad meals here, as the restaurant strives for quality rather than quantity. Reservations are recommended for this popular establishment.

Park Grill

This restaurant in the Brooklyn Navy Yard serves as the perfect culmination of high-end dining with exceptional service and attention to detail. The menu ranges from steak houses to seafood eateries, but everything is served in a relaxed and upbeat environment. You can opt for a bottle of wine or other drinks, paired with your meal as part of the overall package. Reservations are accepted here, but not required.

Sage Bowery

This is a modern American restaurant located in a converted warehouse space in the downtown area of Brooklyn. The interior design here is eclectic and youthful, with elements of Brooklyn’s industrial past mixed with bright, bold colors and patterns. The menu features innovative American food, with a heavy emphasis on local produce and seasonal ingredients. There’s an eclectic mix of music playing here, from blues to jazz to hip-hop. A great place to end the night, this restaurant also provides a memorable viewing experience for guests.

Walking, Talking Books & Awesome Photos

Last but not least, we have the brilliant idea of eating out of a cardboard box, and the incredible photographic memories it brings. It’s these small and creative touches that make a restaurant special. Even in a city as large and vibrant as New York, it’s easy to feel that you’re traveling somewhere else, in a dreamland of sorts, where time seems to stand still and the food is excellent.

This entire list of NYC restaurants would not be complete without including the papaya king. It’s quite an accomplishment that a restaurant can make such an immediate and significant impact on its community, as well as the city as a whole. If you’ve never been there, now is the perfect opportunity to check it out. The iconic, creative, and uniquely American food there will certainly make an impression and become a talking point for life in the Big Apple.