Aparna Nancherla's Day Off in NYC's West Village Is an 'Introvert’s Bender'

The "Fairview" actor and comedian reveals her go-to spots in the neighborhood, including where to find vegan French food.

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“It’s a tour for people who are emotionally 145 years-old and want to be in bed by 8 pm.” That’s how comedian and actor Aparna Nancherla describes her ideal day off in NYC’s West Village. While we can certainly appreciate an old soul and chill, introvert vibes, we think she may be selling her guide to the neighborhood—and its scribble of charming streets—a tad short.

In our new video series, “Ride With Me,” Nancherla, who voices the character Chelsea Hill in the new Comedy Central animated series, Fairview, guides us through her favorite spots within this decidedly not-gridded slice of Manhattan. Then again, she tends to get a little lost there herself.

“Most of Manhattan is a grid and I have a terrible sense of direction, so I think I also enjoy the West Village just to challenge myself, get lost, and see if I can ever find my way out of it,” she said. “It’s also just a dense neighborhood in general. One of my favorite things to do is just explore a neighborhood and wander around and kind of pop into random places without a real agenda or plan, and I think the West Village is really good at having little, tucked away holes. There’s cool things to do like bars and clubs, but I would say, you know, I will take you on basically an introvert’s bender in the West Village.”

Pretzel croissant breakfast sandwiches, matcha and rose water lattes, griddle cakes that’ll ruin pancakes for you, whimsical stationery shopping, and indie film screenings—there’s much to love in Aparna Nancherla’s guide to the West Village. Go, take her word for it and lose yourself there, too.

click to play video

Places to Eat & Drink

ad hoc collective coffee + shoppe
A self-described “sucker for a bougie coffee shop,” Nancherla is drawn to this spot by its expansive coffee and food menu, which includes sandwiches with interesting names. “There’s a huge food menu and all the sandwiches have people’s names, so you’re like, ‘Ooh, there’s a story there. Who are these people?’ Because they’re just people’s first names, like The Keith or The Sam.” Her go to: The Sangita.

“It’s a pretzel croissant—which I had never heard of before, but they’re delicious—with a fried egg, avocado, cherry tomato, cucumber, then melted cheddar over it,” she said. “I am a sucker for this sandwich, and they just have like 40,000 varieties of breakfast sandwich, so it’s hitting all the notes for me.”

As for the coffee drinks menu, her highlights include a matcha drink with rose water and a peanut butter-y twist on hot chocolate.

Breakfast by Salt’s Cure
As soon as Nancherla finishes dinner, she’s already thinking about breakfast. There’s an inherent optimism about your first meal of the day, she said. That’s especially true when there are Oatmeal Griddle Cakes involved.

“They basically make this thing called Oatmeal Griddle Cakes, their own spin on, I guess, a pancake, but they’re hard to describe,” she said. “They’re not as dense as a pancake. They’re these thin, crispy, buttery, just delicious things and I would say those are the stars of the menu.”

Nancherla first experienced Breakfast by Salt’s Cure living as an Angeleno (they have locations in WeHo and Santa Monica) and quickly picked up on their No. 1 rule: no syrup. And for good reason:

“They don’t need the syrup. That’s how good they are on their own. You can get a blueberry one or an apple one or a banana one, but the original holds its own. It’s like cinnamon sugar and butter. Doesn’t need syrup because it’s all there,” she said.

Delice & Sarrasin
As a vegetarian, Nancherla usually has to steer clear of French restaurants and their meat-centric menus. So, Delice & Sarrasin’s 100% vegan menu of plant-based takes on cassoulet, escargot, and even brie, makes her feel spoiled.

“You’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s why I live in New York. So that I can have vegan French food,’” she said.

Places to Shop

Goods for the Study
Nancherla’s love for stationery stores runs deep. As she put it, “I think in a past life I was a Victorian coat rack or something, because I believe women were furniture back then.” Time stops on a day off spent browsing racks and shelves laden with pens and attractive notebooks. And it somehow gets better from there.

“I just love the whole idea of letter writing and sitting in your little study with your quill pen and your nice stationery and that flowery sort of writing,” she said. “Stationery stores are my jam. I can just go through notebooks and pens forever.”

Things to Do

IFC Center
With a mix of indie film and mainstream movie offerings, this art house movie theater—like most places in the West Village—”scratches every itch.”

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Tony Merevick is the Managing Editor at Thrillist. Follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick and Instagram @tonymerevick.