'GMA' anchors Michael Strahan, George Stephanopoulos share top NYC comfort food restaurants

Check out what restaurants the "GMA" anchors frequent.

April 12, 2024, 12:58 PM

New York City has no shortage of incredible restaurants. From instantly iconic newcomers like Simon Kim's new Korean fried chicken hotspot Coqodaq, to tried and true classics like Danny Meyer's Gramercy Tavern or dim sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor, diners can find delicious fare that feeds every palate's needs.

When the "Good Morning America" talent isn't delivering the top stories of the day from the anchor desk in Times Square, they also enjoy indulging in some of the city's best and most comforting bites.

On Friday, anchors George Stephanopoulos and Michael Strahan, chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, chief meteorologist Ginger Zee, and ABC News weather anchor Sam Champion all invited their favorite local spots to join them in studio and share a bit more about the beloved eateries.

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Michael Strahan's favorite local pizza

PHOTO: Michael Strahan with Star Tavern general manager Willie Vayianos who brought their famous thin crust pepperoni pizza to "GMA."
Michael Strahan with Star Tavern general manager Willie Vayianos who brought their famous thin crust pepperoni pizza to "GMA."
ABC News

To start, Strahan brought in the general manager who runs his top pick for pizza from Orange, New Jersey.

"I love this place," he said of Star Tavern alongside general manager Willie Vayianos who brought their famous thin crust pepperoni pizza.

"The customers are great. The employees are great. They've all been working there for a long time. We have virtually no turnover," Vayianos said. "The pizzas are made fresh daily. The dough, pepperoni's top notch. It works out for us."

Rebecca Jarvis' top pastries in NYC

PHOTO: Rebecca Jarvis with Mah-Ze-Dahr bakery owner Umber Ahmad who brought croissants and cinnamon rolls to "GMA."
Rebecca Jarvis with Mah-Ze-Dahr bakery owner Umber Ahmad who brought croissants and cinnamon rolls to "GMA."
ABC News

Jarvis enlisted James Beard Award nominated bakery owner of her "very favorite place" for pastries, Umber Ahmad of Mah-Ze-Dahr in the West Village.

"My family sees you every weekend cause we are constantly at the bakery. Love the croissants and the cinnamon rolls, what's the secret?" Jarvis asked.

"The secret is we start with love. All our pastries come from family recipes that we've developed over the years," Ahmad said. "Our butter is from upstate New York, our chocolate from France. Everything we do is meant to come together with the most perfect bite in the most magical experience you have."

George Stephanopoulos shares his best NYC burger pick

PHOTO: A cheeseburger served with everything on it at J.G. Melon.
A cheeseburger served with everything on it at J.G. Melon.
KellyMcCarthy/ABC News

Stephanopoulos said his "favorite place in New York to get a burger" is none other than the Upper East Side mainstay J.G. Melon, which first opened in 1972 with famously juicy hamburgers, cottage fries and other hit saloon-style food.

His order? A classic cheeseburger and fries.

The iconic restaurant is easily identified by its forest green awning and bright red neon sign outside with an unmistakeable interior of wood paneled walls adorned with melon art and decor, green and white checked table cloths where generations of locals, politicians, artists, and writers alike have dined.

PHOTO: George Stephanopoulos with longtime J.G. Melon waiter John Roney and the restaurant's iconic cheeseburger and cottage fries.
George Stephanopoulos with longtime J.G. Melon waiter John Roney and the restaurant's iconic cheeseburger and cottage fries.
ABC News

John Roney, who has been a waiter for over 30 years, told "GMA" the secret is the restaurant's "consistency."

"The ownership is the same as it was back in 1972. The burger is the same and it's a real family style place," Roney said. "The families of the original owners still maintain it. And the 'J' of J.G. melon, his wife Jane still runs the place."

Ginger Zee's favorite NYC comfort food

PHOTO: Ginger Zee with PJ Bernstein's Deli owner Eugene Slobodski and their famous homemade triple delight soup.
Ginger Zee with PJ Bernstein's Deli owner Eugene Slobodski and their famous homemade triple delight soup.
ABC News

Zee chose a classic Jewish deli because, "when it comes to comfort food for me there is nothing better, especially if I'm not feeling well, than a big bowl of soup."

Eugene Slobodski, owner of Zee's top pick PJ Bernein's Deli, said their triple delight soup was born of his grandfather's idea in 1965 to combine three of the restaurant's most-ordered items.

"He decided to put it in one giant bowl -- so it's noodles, chicken, carrot, matzah ball -- you get a triple delight. Best in the world," Slobodski said.

Sam Champion's greatest gluten-free comfort food in NYC

PHOTO: Sam Champion with Jemiko Solo, the owner of Senza Gluten by Jemiko and the gluten-free restaurant's pasta.
Sam Champion with Jemiko Solo, the owner of Senza Gluten by Jemiko and the gluten-free restaurant's pasta.
ABC News

For anyone who can't tolerate gluten or has celiac disease, Champion shared his favorite spot Senza Gluten by Jemiko from chef and owner Jemiko Solo who brought his best penne dish.

"I'm glad you like it. People with celiac disease come and they trust us not to serve gluten -- so they won't be scared to try something," Solo said of everything from the bread to the pasta and pastries he serves.

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