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Premieres Thursday, August 11 at 8:30pm

August 4, 2011 - Noted author and former New York Times restaurant critic William Grimes brings his epicurean knowledge to Appetite City, a new series on NYC life (Channel 25) that tells the history of New York City through its iconic food. Each episode focuses on a unique flavor of food that has become a staple in New York City as Grimes takes viewers on a journey about how soul food, delis and farmers’ markets all came to be a part of New York’s history.

Appetite City premieres Thursday, August 11 at 8:30pm. The first episode features soul food. NYC life (Channel 25) is the flagship station of NYC Media, the official network of the City of New York.

“From the origins of delis to the evolution of diners, Appetite City provides a fascinating and unique look at New York City’s past,” said Diane Petzke, general manager, NYC Media. “Viewers are in for a treat as they discover our City’s gastronomic history.”

Watch the promo:


William Grimes has been in journalism for 20 years. He has a variety of experience, including being the current obituary writer at the New York Times and an editor for the Sunday Magazine and Arts section. Grimes became the newspaper’s restaurant critic from 1997 to 2004. As the author of three books, Straight Up or On the Rocks: The Story of the American Cocktail, My Fine Feathered Friend and Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York, Grimes has acquired a breadth of knowledge, both about New York City as well as its food.


Appetite City follows host William Grimes as he investigates the history and legacies of iconic New York City food. Traveling to food spots around New York, viewers are taken on a diverse culinary trip across the City and through time. From world-renowned fine dining restaurants to local neighborhood delis, Grimes shows how food has changed (or hasn’t) by comparing the current day establishment to what used to be in its place years ago. With special guests, such as establishment owners and authors, Appetite City takes viewers for a fun and historical trip about the legendary food of New York City.


Soul Food
Host William Grimes takes a journey back in time to the glory days of Harlem when he explores the origins and evolution of “Soul Food.” At a favorite local restaurant he speaks with soul food expert and author Frederick Douglass Opie and later has our historic gastronomist whip up a soul food favorite. Then viewers join award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson at his newest Harlem-based restaurant where he’s putting a whole new spin on this down-home favorite.

The word “Delicatessen” is almost synonymous with New York City, yet many don’t know where the word comes from or how the deli got its start in the Big Apple. Join host William Grimes as he uncovers the true origin of the New York City deli, speaks to food author Arthur Schwartz and reveals the truth about how these once foreign and unusual delicacies from Eastern Europe became a staple of New York City life.

Believe it or not, there was a time in New York City when there weren’t any Chinese restaurants. Discover, along with host William Grimes, the origins of “Chinatown” as it grew from a small cluster of streets in Lower Manhattan to the vibrant neighborhood of today. Take a trip to New York’s oldest tea parlor, hear stories about the first immigrants and find out what’s in Chop Suey.

Before New York was called the Big Apple, it could have been called “The Big Oyster.” Join host William Grimes as he dives into oyster history, the commodity that sparked the creation of some of New York City’s first food markets and restaurants. Listen in as Grimes speaks with New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky on what some deemed to be a “worthless commodity” because it was so plentiful. Discover an old recipe made new again and then float to the present with a trip to the Mermaid Inn for a look at the oysters of today!

Green Markets
New York City offers an abundance of sustainable and locally grown fresh “Green Market” options. Host William Grimes reveals how our food shopping today mirrors a time in the early 19th century when New York City was a world class food mecca – where indoor and outdoor markets dotted the City and people fought for spots in the check-out line. Then uncover the story behind the resurgence of green markets in the City with the co-founder of Union Square Market.

Street Food
“Street Food” is a must-have for many New Yorkers. Join host William Grimes as he looks at this current food fad that actually dates back to the turn of the twentieth century, when falafel carts were wheel barrows filled with yams, pizza trucks were push carts filled with pies of every kind imaginable and hot dogs were a new and unusual food. Discover what surprising street food our historic gastronomist whips up and listen in with Grimes as he speaks with a Lower East Side author.

Host William Grimes explores that favorite New York institution where breakfast for dinner is considered the norm and where food travels from the grill to the table at fast-food speed. Follow Grimes as he uncovers the story of the “Diner” from its origin as a lunchroom to feed the masses to a refuge for female shoppers to its place today. Join our historic gastronomist as she recreates a lost recipe from the famous Schraffts.

Fine Dining
A special night out on the town requires more than just your average food fare. It takes a “Fine Dining” experience composed of select foods, the right décor and perfect lighting. Join host William Grimes as he uncovers the stories of how these small, exclusive, elegant and elite restaurants found a home in New York City. Explore one of the oldest fine dining establishments in the City. Then visit with the talented team behind the groundbreaking 11 Madison Park.


Appetite City airs Thursdays at 8:30pm on NYC life (Channel 25), beginning on August 11. NYC life is available in the New York tri-state area on broadcast, cable and satellite channels. Visit for local cable and satellite listings. Appetite City will also be available to watch online on the NYC Media Video on Demand player – and through the NYC Media app, available to download for free from iTunes. New episodes will be added each week.