Major Upheaval As Mix Of Grand Central Eateries Evolve


Grand Central Terminal is going to start serving commuters and visitors some new restaurant menus, making it the latest New York City commuter hub to roll out changes on the food front.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is the terminal’s landlord, is planning a series of swaps at the historic station, with 15 leases either turning over or up for grabs.

In the spring, Copenhagen chef Claus Meyer, known for the restaurant Noma, considered one of the best in the world, is opening a Nordic food hall and brasserie in the western half of Vanderbilt Hall. Meyer and his American investors were reportedly the highest bidders among 15 groups that responded to the request for proposals to use the hall and adjoining areas in the terminal. The rent in the first year of the 10-year lease will be $1.8 million.

Other eateries are shifting out of the station as rents rise. Brooklyn-born Junior’s, the bakery and sit-down deli famed for its cheesecake, is exiting Grand Central’s lower level in June or July, after already closing its spot on the upper concourse, which lost its lease and vacated on Jan. 6.

The sandwich chain ‘wichcraft, owned by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, is moving into the lower-level space while Juice Press will replace the upper-level space. Two Boots Pizza, also in the lower level, is getting the boot, to be replaced by celebrity restaurateur Donatella Arpaia’s Prova Pizzabar.

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The changes come as new restaurants have opened up near the terminal, competing with its offerings.

“You have to stay fresh,” Nancy Marshall, the MTA’s director of retail leasing at Grand Central said. “We are like the old lady now.”

The fates of two denizens of the station, the cocktail bar Campbell Apartment and Cipriani Dolci, are waiting to hear from the MTA about whether they can stay.

Commuters into Grand Central are not alone in getting some fresh restaurant options. Those who commute into the Port Authority Bus Terminal will see signs of a new food court starting this month. The Port Authority board approved OHM Concession Group, which builds airport food courts nationwide, to build one at the bus terminal that will include three “diverse, high-end dining options.”

OHM will fork over $15.2 million over a 10-year year lease for the dining space near the main ticketing plaza. That’s much higher than what a Deli Plus, a post office, and Jamba Juice currently pay for the same space.

As of this month, Penn Station commuters also have a new option called The Pennsy, where a number of well-known chefs have joined in on an upscale food court, including Mario Batali, who partnered with caterer Mary Giuliani on Mario By Mary, and a new outpost of The Little Beet by chef Franklin Becker.