James Beard Platform at Pier 57, NYC: Behind The Dining Options

James Beard Foundation Platform Pier 57
The centerpiece of the project is the magnificent Platform kitchen designed by the Jacobs Doland Beer team

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Part of Total Food Service’s Blueprint Series on hot new restaurant kitchen renovations, new floor plans, and more.

The James Beard Foundation (JBF), a national culinary nonprofit organization, has debuted its’ highly anticipated new food hall opening at Pier 57 in Manhattan as part of the $400 million redevelopment of the property.

JBF has teamed with Jamestown, a design-focused real estate investment and management firm, that developed, and curated the food hall for Google, RXR, Youngwoo & Associates, and the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT).

“The James Beard Foundation is committed to celebrating, supporting, and elevating the people behind America’s food culture,” said Kris Moon, President and COO of JBF. “Pier 57 is an exciting opportunity to bring our Good Food for Good™ philosophy to both the industry and food lovers as part of a vibrant, community-centered space.”

Marcus Samuelsson Pier 57 Platform
Many of New York City’s top chefs including Marcus Samuelsson (R) will be showcasing their talents at The JBF Platform (Photo by Clay Williams)

“From the get-go, our goals for Pier 57 have included introducing unique and engaging uses for the public to enjoy within the engineering marvel that is Pier 57,” said Noreen Doyle, President & CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust. “Gaining the mission-based James Beard Foundation as the anchor food market tenant and Jamestown as the creative management team overseeing the market and other community spaces are wins for both Hudson River Park and the public.”

The project also features The James Beard Foundation’s new mission-centered showcase kitchen, dining and demonstration space: Platform. The venue includes vendor kiosks featuring new chef-driven, fast-casual concepts selected by the James Beard Foundation. The food hall, which is being curated by Jamestown in partnership with JBF, is home to an additional 17 kiosk vendors and serves as an incubator for local small businesses and food entrepreneurs aligned with the Foundation’s mission of championing a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability.

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Google selected Jamestown to develop and manage the public areas within its space at Pier 57, similar to its partnership at Chelsea Market, where Jamestown manages ground floor leasing and programming for Google. In addition to the food hall, Google is providing a series of community spaces, which also will be managed by Jamestown. These include rooms with flexible layouts that will be available for booking by local nonprofits, community organizations, cultural groups, and more, and a public gathering place—called the Living Room—located on the ground floor of the Pier’s southern edge.

The Living Room will include seating and tables for people to connect and gather and provide visitors with views of the Pier, nearby Little Island, lower Manhattan, and Hudson River. “Pier 57’s many publicly accessible spaces will enhance neighborhood connectivity and provide new access to the waterfront,” said Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown. “The food hall will further diversify Chelsea’s vibrant food scene, while also fostering and incubating local entrepreneurship.”

“We’re excited to help bring Pier 57 back to life as both a community amenity and cornerstone of our New York City presence,” said Torrence Boone, Vice President of Global Client Partnerships and Site Leader for Google New York. “Together with Jamestown, we will deliver a dynamic experience-driven food, retail, and cultural destination at Pier 57 that connects to and supports the broader Chelsea community and beyond.” The food hall and community spaces at Pier 57 are part of the $400 million redevelopment of the property, where Google is serving as the anchor office tenant.

RXR is spearheading the overall redevelopment, which also includes an events space and restaurant from City Winery, classroom and gallery space for the HRPT, two additional full-service restaurants, and a public rooftop park. “RXR is delighted to welcome the James Beard Foundation to Pier 57 – and to support JBF’s vision of food based educational and community enrichment,” said William Elder, EVP Managing Director Leasing NYC. “RXR – along with partner Youngwoo & Associates, has developed and repurposed this historic site to create a home for innovative initiatives like this.” The food hall and community spaces opened to the public in fall 2022.

Pier 57 marketplace
The new Pier 57 marketplace offers culinary treats from across the globe in its 17 culinary kiosks.

Jamestown is a global, design-focused real estate investment and management firm with a 38-year track record and mission to create places that inspire. Since its founding in 1983, Jamestown has executed transactions in excess of $35 billion. As of September 30, 2021, Jamestown has assets under management of $13.1 billion and a portfolio spanning key markets throughout the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. Jamestown employs more than 400 people worldwide with headquarters in Atlanta and Cologne.

Current and previous Jamestown projects include One Times Square and Chelsea Market in New York, Industry City in Brooklyn, Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, the Innovation and Design Building in Boston, and Groot Handelsgebouw in Rotterdam.

The James Beard Foundation promotes Good Food For Good™. For more than 30 years, the James Beard Foundation has highlighted the centrality of food culture in our daily lives. Through the variety of industry programs that educate and empower leaders in our community, the Foundation has asserted the power of food to drive behavior, culture, and policy change. The organization is committed to giving chefs a voice and the tools they need to make the world more sustainable, equitable, and delicious for everyone.

The Operator
Kris Moon, President and COO, James Beard Foundation, New York, NY

The Kitchen Design Consultants
Siu Mey Fung and Gary Jacobs, Jacobs Doland Beer, New York, NY

The Developer
Michael Phillips, President, Jamestown LLC, Atlanta, GA

The Equipment & Supply Dealer
Bruce Marino,General Manager, Singer Equipment, Melville, NY

The Real Estate Leasing Agent
William Elder, EVP Managing Director, Leasing, RXR, New York, NY

Kris Moon’s Approach:

The James Beard Foundation (JBF) is the nation’s leading culinary nonprofit dedicated to celebrating, elevating, and supporting the people behind America’s food culture, while pushing for new standards in the restaurant industry where all have the opportunity to thrive. The organization was founded in 1985 in honor of James Beard, known as the “Dean of American cookery”—who was one of the country’s first food TV personalities, as well as cookbook author, teacher, and overall pioneer for the appreciation of American cuisine.

For more than 30 years since our founding, the Foundation has highlighted the centrality of food culture in our daily lives—celebrating gastronomy and the people behind the culinary industry. Yet, given the longstanding issues in our industry and broader food system, our mission has evolved over time. Today, we hope to drive lasting change, by championing a new standard for the industry anchored in such values as equity and sustainability.

This is what we call “Good Food for Good”. We do this through a number of initiatives, including—the James Beard Awards, industry and community-focused programs, advocacy, events across the country, and our new Platform by the James Beard Foundation space at Pier 57 in NYC.

Juneteenth Jubilee Chef Dawn Burrell
The JBF Platform is hosting top culinary events including a recent Juneteenth celebration with chef Dawn Burrell (L) (Photo by Eric Vitale)

We saw the Pier 57 opportunity as an important opportunity for us—it’s the first time the Foundation has expanded its real estate portfolio since it was founded at the Beard House in 1985. While the Beard House is a treasured historical and cultural institution that continues to play an important role in advancing our mission—there were limitations to the space that prevented us from offering the full scope of public programming we envisioned.

For example, as James Beard’s apartment and home, it was not built with modern ideas of accessibility in mind. The new Platform by JBF space includes a show kitchen and flexible space for culinary arts programming, education, and events—allowing us to better meet the needs of modern food lovers, while realizing our desire to have a more inclusive space.

In addition, Platform allows us to engage the general public like never before. The space is set to become a major destination for locals and tourists alike, and the foot traffic we’ll receive from consumers—in comparison to the Beard House, which was more word of mouth and industry-focused—is unparalleled. Through this new space, we’ll be able to extend our mission and brand to a global audience year-round.

Pentair Everpure filtration Manitowoc
Pentair filtration is being utilized to support heavy duty Manitowoc ice making solutions throughout the Pier’s concession and a la carte operations

The idea for the new venue came when we were approached by Jamestown after they were brought on by Google to assist with the redevelopment of the ground floor of the pier to serve the community. With a vision for anchoring part of the space in food, they believed JBF was the right cultural food partner to be part of this exciting project.

Together, we workshopped what was possible for the space and how that aligned with the strategic goals of the Foundation. Over the course of several years, we worked through the programming, concept, and design of the space to realize what is “Platform by JBF” today—which will bring our “Good Food For Good” mission to life like never before.

The Pier 57 project is really two very different models. Market 57, a partnership between Google, Jamestown LP, and the James Beard Foundation, is a brand-new dining destination that showcases the culinary and cultural diversity of New York City’s local, independent food culture.

The food hall serves as an incubator for emerging chefs and entrepreneurs who are aligned with our mission of “Good Food for Good” and who have been historically underrepresented in the culinary industry—with an emphasis on featuring women- and BIPOC-owned operations. Market 57, thanks to the support of Google, is providing these vendors with affordable rents—offering them an opportunity to participate in a market they might not have been able to access otherwise.

Building the mix of operators in each of the kiosks was an exciting process.

The Foundation supported Jamestown LP by recommending an initial list of vendors from the NYC-area who were aligned with our mission and values. We curated a list of potential vendors who we thought embodied our commitment to racial and gender equity, environmental sustainability, and American food culture and leadership.

Many who we suggested have participated in our programs and events, including our Women’s Entrepreneurship Leadership Program, Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans, Legacy Network, and Smart Catch sustainable seafood program.

Ultimately, the leasing and property management team at Jamestown LP made the final decision—they had conversations with potential vendors and assembled what they believed to be a winning mix of concepts, culinary styles, and offerings.

Vulcan combi oven Pier 57
Vulcan combi and cooking equipment was specified to support the high volume demands of both the JBF platform operation and the multiple marketplace kiosks

As mentioned above, we are constantly seeking ways to live our values and bring our mission to life, while continuing to be of service to the food and beverage industry. With Platform and Good To Go (our retail incubator for fast-casual concepts from operators who embody our mission and values), our goal is to continue our work of lifting-up the stories, voices, and amazing craft of all those pushing American food culture forward.

We are doing this through a full calendar of culinary programming, education, and events that explore the people, cultures, traditions, and innovations shaping our food culture today. Events are fully open to the public and offered at multiple price points, including at times free—and include everything from a weekly chef-in-residence program to intimate dining events, exciting beverage-focused programming, cooking demos, hands-on classes, and much more.

Ultimately, by coming to an event, we hope that guests walk away inspired to get involved or learn more about our country’s food system, as well as the many opportunities and challenges at play.

One of the signatures of the James Beard House was the access to the kitchen that guests enjoyed. With that in mind, and the fact that the pier is intended to be community space, we were intent on creating a visible and open show kitchen so guests visiting the pier could see all of the activity happening at any time of day. We worked closely with the kitchen designers at JDB to build a space that is well-appointed and smartly laid out to accommodate the greatest culinary talent from across the country.

We are incredibly grateful to the large list of founding kitchen donors who stepped up to help make this project a reality including: BentoBox, Blodgett, Clover, Ecolab, Jade, Middleby, Perfect Fry, True Refrigeration, and Turbo Chef.

Jade cooking suite Pier 57
A custom Jade cooking suite is the centerpiece of the JBF platform kitchen

Given our mission, it was important to us that business operations for the two spaces were in line with our values of sustainability and equity in hospitality—and as a nonprofit with limited resources, we decided it was best to engage an outside partner to help us achieve this. After going through an extensive RFP process, we were thrilled to announce Great Performances as the operational partner for the two spaces to run both front and back of house.

Great Performances are known as leaders in the industry—consistently setting standards of best-practice—and we are grateful to have their support and guidance. Essentially, any on-site support staff you see are Great Performance employees who are paid a competitive hourly wage.

We have been asked about how the new Pier space could impact the the return of the JBF Awards could return to Manhattan. We have a strong relationship with the city of Chicago and will continue hosting the James Beard Awards there through at least 2027. That being said, as a national program that celebrates achievement across our entire industry and country, we try to ensure other regions are incorporated into each year’s Awards cycle. For example, we typically host the Restaurant & Chef Awards nominee announcement and the Media Awards announcement in a different city each year.

In 2023, we hosted that announcement at our new Platform by JBF space and may continue to do so in the future. However, the Platform by JBF space is not large enough to host the full Awards events, which welcome nearly 2,000 attendees each year.

RATIONAL combi oven Pier 57
RATIONAL combi cooking is a staple in each of the Pier 57 culinary kiosks

Siu Mey Fung’s Approach

It was a blank canvas when we began the process. We worked with Jamestown to prepare for the types of concepts they wanted in the mix. Our team then took their projected list and designed accordingly.

Our goal was to come in and help to design flexible kiosks that could be used by vendors with many different concepts. What made this unique is that there will be rotating chefs and residencies, that required us to create a seamless transition and a smooth operation. With the building’s unique architecture and engineering, we designed creative solutions that to-ok into account that problems everyday restaurants face, such as plumbing and staying up to par with NYC’s health and safety codes. We had to face numerous obstacles in order to turn the space into what it is now.

As each operator signed on, we then worked with them on the design of each kiosk. In each case, the goal was to create a floor design and equipment package that could best serve the needs of their concept’s menu. Among the major challenges was turning an already built cellar under the water line into four storage spaces that could accommodate food prep and large walk-ins. That cellar below the food hall was an extraordinary architectural design executed by the engineers and developers that built Pier 57

Gary Jacobs Approach:

JBF made clear that the Pier 57 project is all about creating a high visibility, accessible opportunity for entrepreneurs across the culinary community.

Metro Singer Pier 57
Metro shelving was selected to support dry good storage for both the James Beard Foundation platform kitchen and the multiple kiosks in the marketplace

Siu Mey led the JDB team, from Concept Development through Construction Administration. Reconciling the unique requirements of each of the 17 vendors and the James Beard program with the overall scheme was challenging. Siu Mey’s coordination with the engineers, architects Jamestown and the various operators was extraordinary.

The Pier’s unusual physical properties (having the lower level support areas in caissons below the water line and reconciling mechanical challenges with the office floors above among others) added complexity.

Jacobs Doland Beer worked closely with both the full design / development team and Singer Equipment to turn JBF’s idea of a multi-functional food hall and event space into reality. Many contributed to the success of the project, coming together and creating an innovative space unlike anything else in the Chelsea area.

Bruce Marino’s Approach:

Jacobs Doland Beer brought us in and we supported them on both the JBF Platform and Marketplace at the same time. Some of the back history on this project is really interesting.

This was actually the project that Anthony Bourdain was working on. It’s a pretty stunning place. It’s a complicated project, with a lot of moving parts and kudos to Michael Ryan from our team who worked closely with me to get it right. With the market, we provided a basic equipment package for the 17 different stalls.

Our goal was to be able to offer customization on that package where possible. As you can imagine among the challenges were several changes in the Marketplace line up of operators. That was of course compounded by supply chain issues. Despite the challenges, we managed to make the necessary adjustments.

AmeriKooler walk-ins Pier 57
AmeriKooler walk-ins were specified to support both prep in the marketplace and in the JBF Platform performance kitchen

We’ve been working on this project for almost a year and a half. Budget increases and delays can be frustrating for the owner, but at the end of the day, the final result is beautiful. As you can imagine being on the water created an interesting set of challenges. We needed to specify certain types of pumps and extended drain lines to solve the drainage issues. Ventilation was a concern in certain areas of the space. We are able to solve that with a switch to ventless equipment that’s becoming quite popular.

The approach to storage was really interesting. There is a central caseon area where product can be stored at Pier 57. It provides storage for both refrigerated and dry goods. It includes Amerikooler’s walk-in boxes for storage. This was a really interesting project with a truly a stunning location with the famous floating park next door.

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  • RAK Porcelain
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