One of the great retail truisms is that stores tend to open in packs – once one pioneers an area, others follow, and you have a great new shopping district. The same is true of dining. The result: burgeoning food scenes in a number of neighborhoods around the city. Some are established, but experiencing changes; others are becoming more specialized, but the trends are definitely in downtown Manhattan and haute hipster haven, Williamsburg!
Nolita is legendary for Italian dining, but look for some shifts and new entrants this year. Torrisi Italian Specialties, which shuttered on New Year’s, will reopen in a fine dining concept in the spring. Sweetgreen opened at 100 Kenmare Street. Look for Rebelle, from some of the partners of Pearl & Ash, to debut at 218 Bowery.
Both the East Village and Lower East Side are exploding with new concepts, including Francophile favorites. Newly opened Bara melds French and Japanese cuisine from former Momofuku sous-chef Ian Alvarez at 58 East 1st Street. Keith McNally has introduced another swank bistro with Cherche Midi at 282 Bowery. From Major Food Group comes Dirty French at 180 Ludlow, offering classic French cuisine, with a modern twist. Happy Ending, formerly a dance club, has been transformed into a retro-designed restaurant at 302 Broome Street, and offers Italian, French and Asian influenced fare. Beer and red meat reign at Stanton Street Kitchen at 178 Stanton Street. And continuing to “steer” carnivores is the Bowery Meat Company at 9 East 1st Street, the newest outpost from the team of Josh Capon and Paul DiBari, who have channeled a 60s vibe between the décor and red meat-centric menu. DumplingCo. is relocating to 188 2nd Avenue early this year, while Golden Crepes is coming to 82 2nd Avenue.
FiDi’s food excitement is focused primarily at Brookfield Place and the World Trade Center. What more is there to say about an area that soon will boast Eataly and a restaurant from Joel Robuchon? Hudson Eats, open at Brookfield Place, has established a fast-casual presence with Black Seed Bagels, Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar, Chop’t, Dig Inn Seasonal Market, Dos Toros, Little Munster, Mighty Quinns BBQ, Northern Tiger, Num Pang Sandwich Shop, Olive’s Skinny Pizza, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Tartinery and Umami Burger. That will be bolstered by Le District, Parm, Amada and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. The World Trade Center’s lineup will include anchors Eataly and Australia gourmet shop Jones the Grocer, joined by Beer Table, La Colombe, Épicerie Boulud, FIKA, Joe Coffee, Lore Wine & Spirits, Minamoto Kitchoan, Noble Tree Coffee, and Nunu Chocolates.
We’ve already seen a huge influx of dining in Williamsburg, but restaurateurs are finding new and innovative locations for a diverse mix of cuisines. A recent example is The Heyward, which offers an eclectic menu and classic décor at the former Zebulon concert hall, 258 Wythe Avenue. Other openings in coming months include Streets BK at 53 Broadway, and Llama Inn, with Peruvian cuisine from Eleven Madison Park’s Erik Ramirez at 50 Withers Street. Have freshly roasted coffee at Devotion Botica del Café, which recently debuted at 69 Grand Street. Custom cake creator Penny Stankiewicz has opened Sugar Couture at 386 Graham.
Flushing, Queens, has been an up-and-coming food market for years, and it’s all about Asian cuisine. The New York Food Court offers a variety of Asian cuisines, from Teriyaki to Szechuan to Guchun Private Kitchen at 133-35 Roosevelt Avenue. Others are going the niche route: Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao, which has a focus on Taiwanese specialties at 59-16 Main Street. Or go for, yes, dumplings at Dumpling Galaxy, with 100 different options at 42-35 Main Street. Happy Dining!