Feeling sick? Here’s what to eat and drink in NYC when illness strikes

Pharmacist Stanley George blends a customized healing concoction at Stanley's Pharmacy at 31 Ludlow St.
Pharmacist Stanley George blends a customized healing concoction at Stanley’s Pharmacy at 31 Ludlow St. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

Some things are practically inevitable as the end of January rolls around:

Forgoing New Year’s resolutions; ending Dry January early (you practically did it); having someone squeeze into the subway seat next to you even though you’re both wearing extremely puffy winter coats. And, perhaps the most likely of all: catching a cold.

Luckily—like mother dearest used to—NYC will send you back to bed and whip up homemade remedies to have you feeling better in no time. From hot juices to new takes on chicken noodle soup, here are the best eats and drinks in the city when you’re feeling under the weather this winter:  

Immune Activator Elixir at Stanley’s Pharmacy  

Stanley’s Pharmacy on the Lower East Side is a true one-of-a-kind establishment where “culinary arts meets chemistry meets plant-based medicine,” according to owner and veteran pharmacist Stanley George. It’s the first wellness bar plus pharmaceutical practice, and mimics the role of a community apothecary from the 19th century, where patrons would discuss their maladies with the pharmacist and then be mixed an antidote based on their symptoms.

Stanley’s still fills prescription medications and offers over-the-counter meds, but the centerpiece is the all-natural wellness bar, where George encourages patrons to tell him (or one of his apprentices) exactly what ails them, and they will blend a customized healing concoction. Depending on symptoms, ingredients vary.

“A lot of people come to see me when they have colds,” George said. “Whether it’s early on and they just have a sore throat, or whether they’re full-blown with sinuses and coughing…” In this case, George would likely whip up the Immune Influencer Flight, which, depending on your symptoms, can include an all-natural vapor tea called the “Sinus Soldier” for decongestion, a turmeric-based elixir for the chest and coughing called the “Painkiller,” followed by the “Immune Activating Elixer,” which is a blend of adaptogenic herbs known to stop a cold in its tracks.

“Usually if they do the whole flight of the tea and the shot,” George said, “they wake up the next day and feel totally better.”

31 Ludlow St., New York, NY 10002

Chicken Noodle Pho at Bep Ga

Chicken noodle soup is a classic get-well-soon meal, but step it up a notch with Chicken Noodle Pho at Bep Ga—a stone’s throw away from Stanley’s Pharmacy (so you can have your shots and then pull up to a steaming bowl of comfort). Chef An Nguyen Xuan describes it as the “ultimate chicken noodle soup” and the “best cure to fight winter and the cold.” Loaded with tender poached chicken and rice pho noodles, the fresh chicken broth is infused with ginger and spices and it’s all topped with fresh Thai basil, culantro red Thai chili and a squeeze of lime for a kick of heat that’s bound to warm you up and help clear out your sinuses.

70 Forsyth St., New York, NY 10002

Chef An Nguyen Xuan describes the chicken noodle pho at Bep Ga as the “best cure to fight winter and the cold.”
Chef An Nguyen Xuan describes the chicken noodle pho at Bep Ga as the “best cure to fight winter and the cold.” Photo Credit: Damien Ropero

Immunitea Booster at Physical Graffitea

Nothing feels quite as good on a sore throat as a hot cup of tea, and this quaint cafe in the East Village, named after a Led Zeppelin album (it’s located in the historic “Physical Graffiti” buildings that graced the album cover of the same name), offers two medicinal blends ideal for combatting a winter’s cold, depending on your taste preference. “There’s the Immunitea Booster, which is soothing and minty, and the Turmeric Ginger, which is sweet and spicy,” the shop said. “Both are great to relieving cold symptoms like nose and throat irritations and will give your immune system a boost to help you get better faster.” As always, the shop uses only fresh and organic herbs in their teas.

96 St. Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

Camu Cure at Agavi Organic Juice Bar

Agavi co-owner (and Queens native) Andy Ngucaj recommends juices with ginger in them, especially their “hot juice” selection. The Camu Cure boasts grapefruit, camu camu (an antioxidant-high Amazonian berry), dandelion root (which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties), and raw agave mixed with hot water. There’s even a “Cold Remedy” section on their menu that includes the “Lemon Spice,” a hot juice including lemon, ginger, apple, mint, cayenne pepper and raw agave, and booster “shots” like the Safe & Sound, which is straight lemon, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne with a pinch of olive oil.

72 E. 7th St, New York, NY 10003

Agavi Organic Juice Bar on East 7th Street uses boosters like the "Safe & Sound" and "The Chi" in its juice selections.
Agavi Organic Juice Bar on East 7th Street uses boosters like the "Safe & Sound" and "The Chi" in its juice selections. Photo Credit: Andy Ngucaj

Avgolemno Soup at Bahari Estiatorio

Avgolemno soup is a classic in Greek cuisine—and should become a classic in your feel-better arsenal as well. The base is egg yolk and lemon juice heated in broth, resulting in a creamy, citrusy base with all the other good stuff added: chicken, rice, celery and carrots. Pump up your vitamin C intake and get a little extra protein at the same time.

31-14 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11106

Citrus Salad at Cookshop

Give your immune system a mega boost with the Citrus Salad at farm-to-table eatery Cookshop in Chelsea. Piled with two types of oranges (blood and cara cara), ruby red grapefruit, pomegranate seeds, fennel and mint, this bright salad is the perfect option if you find yourself under the weather and are just not a soup person.

156 10th Ave., New York, NY 10011

Matzah Ball Soup from Fine & Schapiro

If delivery is the way you go, ordering in Matzah Ball Soup from Fine & Schapiro on the Upper West Side, a classic kosher deli founded in 1927, will give you that home-cooked cozy feeling you’re craving. The soup comes with homemade not-too-dense Matzah balls (of course), and then gives you the option of adding noodles, rice, kasha (a grain made of buckwheat) or just plain broth.

138 W. 72nd St. A, New York, NY 10023

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