In this city, restaurants come and go faster than you can say "sustainable locavore burger." And even though there are great new additions to the culinary landscape popping up every week, you've gotta give kudos to anyone who can stick it out for over a year. With that in mind, we bring you Still Got It, our tribute to establishments that continue to serve mouthwatering meals and drinks long after the buzz has faded—or if the lingering hype is still justified.
Dive bars and other delightfully dingy spots are dying by the dozens in this city, only to be replaced by soulless banks, Duane Reades, and expensive bars meant to resemble the sad, dead corpses of their predecessors. But Trailer Park Lounge, which opened in Chelsea in 2000, is still hanging on, serving up tater tots and potent margaritas in a space filled with kitschy decor that might go so far as to make John Waters smile.
Trailer Park Lounge was launched by two folks from Florida back in pre-9/11 NYC, and according to legend (i.e., the restaurant's website), they were inspired to do so after a chance encounter with an Elvis impersonator. That tale makes sense, considering the entire place looks like something you'd find on the wrong end of the Vegas strip—Trailer Park Lounge boasts everything from pregnant beer-guzzling mannequins in flamingo slippers, to lit up Santas and snowmen, to a (non-working) toilet plunked out front. There's even an actual trailer facade inside, just in case you forget the theme you're braving.
Spectacular decor aside, the thing to drink here are the $8 frozen margaritas, which are thick, sweet, tall, and potent as hell. If you have no soul and margaritas aren't your thing, you can also score $5 beers, though perhaps steer clear of the $5 PBR cans—kitsch comes with a price here.
As for the food, burgers, bar sandwiches and fried delicacies are the name of the game here, with everything from double-wide burgers, to sloppy joes, to hot dogs on the menu. And when given the opportunity to choose between sweet potato fries and tater tots, go with the latter&mash;those soft-and-crunchy little potato balls pair perfectly with the gallons of tequila you're imbibing, provided you took my advice about that margarita. Give your arteries my condolences, please.
Trailer Park Lounge is located at 271 West 23rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues in Chelsea (212-463-8000, trailerparklounge.com).