Welcome to NYC – A Foodie’s Conglomeration Nation

New York City’s booming food-hall scene is redefining the urban restaurant experience that continues to be a success story across the city, now entering new areas that foodies hadn’t thought of much, until now.

Faith Hope Consolo
Faith Hope Consolo

These big multivendor concepts offer so many dining options in these giant spaces, with the variety of eateries and communal tables promoting endless opportunities for culinary mixing and matching, plus social interaction. Two new areas where the food hall phenomena are on the upswing, and the food mix is proving to be groundbreaking: Chinatown, in Manhattan, and St. George, on Staten Island.

Canal Street Market, 265 Canal Street, debuted its retail portion in December and recently added its 12-vendor food hall next door, where Chinatown meets Soho. The dual retail spaces were newly renovated and had housed a large format of the New York-based fast fashion chain Necessary briefly before this incarnation. The location retains some of the Soho-style charm, with its hardwood floors and high ceilings inside, and is a delightful contrast to the ever colorful street vendors and fruit carts outside that Chinatown’s Canal Street is known for. 

Inside Canal Street Market, the retail anchor vendors now include Mast BrothersOffice Magazine NewsstandFox Fodder Farm, Upstate StockJill LindseyLeibalIl Buco Vita. Among the new food vendors worth seeking out, you will find a branch of Ippudo’s Kuro-Obiwhich specializes in dense chicken broth ramen; Nom Wah Kuai, for dumplings and bento boxes; Boba Guys, the bubble-tea specialists; Oppa from the Gansevoort MarketUma Temakeria; plus sweets from Billy’s Bakery and Davey’s Ice Cream, grain bowls from fresh&co., and Lebanese restaurant ilili.  New concepts include bar Lulu and a collaboration between Izakaya and Samurice, which serves miso soup and ochazuke made like drip coffee. A new stall called the “CSM Lab” will host a rotating cast of restaurants.

 Here is the full delicious cast of characters in this new food hall:

 As Canal Street real estate turns over, more modern food concepts including Chikarashi, which is already winning awards for its poke and soft-serve, are bringing this neighborhood up more than one notch.

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Another food-centric eating extravaganza is coming to Staten Island, where a category-defining retail destination, New York City’s first and only shopping outlet, an entire new entertainment district on Staten Island’s North Shore, to be called Empire Outlets

This world-class outlet shopping center is located at the base of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, which is a 20-minute free ferry ride from Manhattan with gorgeous views of the Statue of Liberty. Besides the 75,000 daily commuter passengers who take the ferry, the big tourist draw will be The New York Wheel, a 630-foot version of the 480-foot London Eye, the world’s tallest. The outlet mall will host approximately 100 shops of the finest brands over 350,000 square feet, plus a 190-room boutique hotel. 

Among the food and beverage stand-alone concepts announced so far, we’ll have Shake Shack, Staten Island’s first, Two Boots PizzaMighty Quinn’s Barbeque, Nathan’s Famous and Wasabi Steak & Sushi, an Ohio-based chain with this marking their New York debut, plus treats from Ghirardelli Chocolate, Starbucks, Haagen-Dazs, and Krispy Kreme.

Out of the 40,000 square feet earmarked for food and beverage space, a 15,000-square-foot artisanal food hall will open. To be called the Marketplace at Empire Outlets, or MRKTPL, and being run some of the same execs behind other successful food hall projects in Manhattan, this food hall will include 40 different food concepts, with a mix of local and international names in a relaxed and elegant environment, tilting more towards Le District at Brookfield Place. 

Set to open in Spring 2018, the total transformation of the St. George waterfront will have food at its center, with MRKTPL becoming a destination for shoppers and diners local to Staten Island.

Savor this roundup and watch for my next edition of Faithful FoodHappy Dining!

Faith Hope Consolo, Chairman of Douglas Elliman’s Retail Group, writes the "Faithful Food" column for Total Food Service. Ms. Consolo is a leading retail broker and advisor who covers the national market. She is a specialist ranging from fine restaurants to fashionable fast foods. "To find the best retail space, You Need Faith." Email her at fconsolo@elliman.com