Head to Harlem for brunch and a run, and you’ll leave happy.
I admit, the last time I headed to the park to do a run, I almost didn’t make it. As I popped out of my car and stretched, I caught the scent of bacon in the air, and saw a group of friends lounging at a table sipping coffee. It looked so civilized, and I was bemoaning the intervals that were on my workout schedule. “After,” I promised myself, and spent the next 60 minutes in perpetual thought process—omelette or French Toast? The intervals went fine, but brunch was better.
If you’re out at Riverside Park for a morning run or ride, you should make plans to meet your friends at Covo Trattoria for brunch immediately after. Park right near the restaurant (off of Riverside Drive at West 135th) and run up the road to the park’s ramp, and then do your killer workout before heading back to the car to clean up and head to the great outdoor and open air seating that makes Covo’s Trattoria so inviting.
The restaurant is dedicated to simple Italian food, and the wood-fired pizza is out of this world. It’s not a New York City trip without getting a pizza, and this is a great way to avoid a sub-par greasy slice.
The weekend brunch menu is spectacular: the croissant French Toast is amazing post-ride, and it comes with Greek yogurt and sour and sweet cherries, plus it’s topped with sliced peaches and mixed berries—so, so good. Feeling more savory? The vegetarian omelette is fantastic, with zucchini, scallions, Grueyer cheese, and grilled asparagus. If fancier fare is what you’re looking for, try the Crab and Eggs Benedict, and you won't be sorry.
It’s fairly inexpensive, especially as far as brunch spots in the city go. Each meal comes with tea or coffee and ends up being around $12. Pizzas are about $16, and can split between two people—or just you if you’re starving. Dinners are a bit pricier, but as far as date spots in the city go, this one is perfect because it won’t completely break the bank, but offers some seriously great ambiance with the potential for a gorgeous moonlit stroll in the park afterwards.
The service is great, and even on weekends at prime brunch hour, it’s not overly crowded—plus with the open air seating, it feels less stuffy than most NYC brunch spots, especially after a workout.
There later in the day? While the Margherita is a classic—and a delicious one—for those who are feeling more adventurous, I cannot recommend the Genova enough: Sautéed shrimp, zucchini, Bermuda onions, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, pesto and tomato sauce, all on a fresh, wood-fired pie. If you’re just coming in from a big ride or run, get your own… You won’t want to share. Cool note: you can make reservations online, so if you get to the park, just pop on to the Hudson Greenway’s free wifi and reserve away!
Note: consider changing out of your ultra-sweaty clothes post-run if you’re eating there. The atmosphere is casual, but showing up drenched with sweat to brunch is never a good move.