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March 4, 2024
BROADWAY EATS with Mark MacKillop

The cabaret regular picks his fave food spots in the city ahead of his anticipated return to Chelsea Table + Stage.

Though we understand their circumstances may have been a bit different, like Oliver and his clan of orphan boys, we’ve all fallen into a daze dreaming of “food, glorious food” at one point or another.

After all, it’s been said that food is the great equalizer, connecting us and bringing us together, either with family or friends, colleagues or companions, or any others from all walks of life, to dine often at a communal table or gathering space wherein we share stories and reveal the most authentic parts of ourselves.

In our continued effort, however, to find our way into others’ hearts (and stomachs!), sometimes it helps to venture beyond our tables and into the kitchens of others — especially in a city with such a diversified abundance of eateries as New York.

And of course, you can’t spell “theatre” without “eat.”

So, in this new series, we’ve polled some of the Great Bright Way’s best to “dish” (get it?) on where they love to eat, drink, and take in the vibes either pre- or post-show, while also answering why they love to sup there, sharing a favorite dish or two, and more.

Photo courtesy of Mark MacKillop

Next up on the docket is noted cabaret darling Mark MacKillop, who returns to the lively, lofty Chelsea Table + Stage on March 11th for the fourth installment of his acclaimed Duets series, which sees him singin’ and swingin’ alongside stars of stage and screen… all in the name of BC/EFA!!

Boasting Broadway favorites, classics from both the pop catalogue and the American songbook, and maybe even an original tune here or there, the roster for this renditions includes such names as Nick Drake, Kyla Stone, Mauricio Martínez, and Anne Fraser Thomas, just to name a few... and the results will have you delightfully “doubling over” in pure joy, laughter and ecstasy. After all, as they say, two is better than one (and as the great Sondheim concurs, “what needs to be done you can do… when there’s two of you.”)

MacKillop himself, meanwhile, has enjoyed a storied career onstage, performing in On Your Toes as part of City Center Encores!, keeping it “cool” as Riff on the internationalWest Side Story tour, and appearing in the most recent national tours of Dirty Dancing and Anastasia.  Additionally, he holds the record for highest individual fundraiser for Broadway Bares, the boisterous burlesque event benefiting BC/EFA, personally raising over $393,000 for the esteemed organization.

But what does Mark like to munch on… and where?


Zou Zou’s

(385 9th Avenue, Suite 85)

“Dining should be fun, memorable, and special,” says chef Madeline Sperling, who manned the kitchen at Zou Zou’s Restaurant from its 2021 opening to June 2023.

Photo Credit: Melissa Hom

With a hearty menu inspired by the flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean region, it’s exactly this philosophy with which current executive chef Juliana Latif approaches her ingredients.

Formerly a sous chef under Sperling, Latif prides herself on infusing her food with a “French flair and a bit of fun” in order to give each dish its own elegant finesse.

“We take a lot of home cooking traditional items and flip them into something people have never eaten before,” says Latif.

Top: Noah Fecks / Bottom: Stephen Yang


Menu must-haves, according to the chef, include a shaved vegetable Fattoush dusted with pomegranate seeds and candied pecans, a fire-roasted leg of lamb, served Sixth Avenue Style and shaved delicately onto your plate at the table, and a buzzed-about duck borek, dubbed “the most exciting plate in the city”: a flaky-dough pastry spiral glazed with a sweet and sour orange sauce, sprinkled with pistachios, and sliced tableside with a mezzaluna for good measure.

MacKillop, meanwhile, raves about the mezze dip platter: “They have everything [on it] I’m obsessed with,” he says, from green tahini crowned with bubbling aquafaba foam, a black garlic hummus and umami-speckled Baba ghanoush, and, the pièce de résistance, a “to-die-for” whipped ricotta topped with sticky saffron-infused apricots, all served with a side of flame-grilled flatbread and vegetable crudités.

“I love going with friends and getting lots of plates to share with the table,” notes the singer, given the expansive menu’s variety. “It [allows] me to have a taste of everything.”

“The restaurant itself is also gorgeous,” he continues, noting the grand globe light fixtures that hang above banquettes, mirrored walls that amplify daylight, and wide, blue-tiled floors that pave the path to your table. And post-show, he urges, “you have to return [for] drinks at Chez Zou,” their adjoining rooftop cocktail bar. (Try the signature Dirty Zou, made with olive oil vodka & grape leaf brine, alongside an assortment of bar snacks).

Overall, “the menu is free-form; it changes,” notes Latif. But aside from the offerings and quality of the food itself (which, of course, is top-notch regardless), the chef, again, revels in the restaurant’s individuality: “I’ve had a lot of people come to Zou Zou’s and say, ‘This [dish] tastes exactly like what my grandmother used to make, but it’s absolutely like nothing I’ve ever eaten before.” She cocks her head with a smile. “It makes me proud,” she says. “That’s exactly what I wanted to do.”

Zou Zou’s is open for lunch M-F from 11:30am-2:30pm, brunch Sat & Sun from 11:00am-2:30pm, and dinner seven days a week from 5-11pm.

El Jalapeño Taquería

204 W. 4th Street (Grove St.)

And for something on the other side of the dining spectrum: El Jalapeño Taquería, a movable Mexican eatery which boasts “the absolute best tacos and nachos in New York City,” according to MacKillop.

A long-adored late-night hangout among regulars in the West Village, customers praise the menu for being “consistently excellent,” offering authentic and flavorful Mexican meals with fast-and-friendly service at unbeatable prices.

“Everything is fresh and phenomenally seasoned,” writes one reviewer, “and the food comes out quick.” (“Getting in and out in record time?!" another applauds, to that point. “What more could you want from a food truck?”)

Photos courtesy of El Jalapeño Taquería

Regulars proclaim you can’t go wrong “sticking with the basics” like standard chicken, beef, or veggies, though others praise the more adventurous selections like pork rind, salted beef and lengua as equally standout. Flautas and fish tacos are also among the customer-recommended, the latter made with salmon, rather than the traditional whitefish. The Birria tacos, succulently stewed in a rich consommé broth, are another must-try, and the chorizo (in any form), is hailed as “the best in the city…hands down!”

For MacKillop, a trip to the truck may include a few pit stops – “After seeing a show, I will most likely end up at Marie’s Crisis belting out a few showtunes” – though, at evening’s end, he’s sure to be stationed in front of his beloved culinary vehicle, with a generous plate of his favorite Spicy Chicken Nachos, served exactly as they’re named, atop a mountain of corn tortilla chips, with beans, tomato, melted jack cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Any of their meats can be fashioned into burritos, nachos, quesadillas, gorditas, and more — all blended with onions and cilantro (extra meat – or fish or shrimp – comes at an additional price). Add hot sauce to any dish if you’re ambitious, but be warned — it’s been said to pack a punch.

It’s cash only, but again, reasonably priced, so you won’t find yourself breaking the bank… unless, of course, your taste buds are tantalized to the point of ordering en masse. But when the offerings are this palatable, this plentiful, and this passionately praisedwe wouldn’t blame you if you did.

El Jalapeño Taquería sits across from the Monster Bar in the West Village and is open seven days a week from 6pm-4:30am the next day. 

We’ll continue to present a new performer with new restaurants and new menus, so keep checking back to see who we poll and what’s on their mind at mealtime! Until next time, as always, bon appétit!

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