For the 25 restaurant and food concepts moving into the Hudson Yards project, their top customers are going to be the 40,000 office workers flowing through the development on a regular basis. Figuring out in-office delivery and flexible operating hours are key.
— Erika Adams
More details are emerging about the dining roster at the $25 billion Hudson Yards project, and as a food editor who also happens to be a native New Yorker, I can say that it’s time to get very excited. By mid-March the megaproject’s 25 restaurants and food concepts, from José Andrés’s Mercado Little Spain food hall to the fish temple Estiatorio Milos, should be open.
Hudson Yards anticipates more than 40,000 employees arriving to work daily—a new epicenter of Manhattan supporting companies from Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management to Tapestry, VaynerMedia, and Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs.
The question of feeding all those workers, as well as the thousands of residents and tourists who will be flowing through the 1-million-square-foot space, has obsessed Kevin Stuessi, vice president at Related Companies LP, the real estate company developing the project. He’s determined that most of the restaurants will have continuous service, starting at about 11:30 a.m., with late-night menus planned.
Following an exclusive hard hat tour in early September, Stuessi and Related Urban CEO Kenneth Himmel shared some of the most exciting details of the project’s signature concepts.
Momofuku Picks a Korean Temple Food Expert as Executive Chef
Eunjo Park will be the executive chef of Momofuku’s yet-to-be-named restaurant at Hudson Yards. The Seoul-born chef has worked at New York’s Daniel, Per Se, and Momofuku Ko, but most intriguing is the time she spent in South Korea preparing vegan dishes at Baekyangsa Temple with the Chef’s Table star, Buddhist nun Jeong Kwan.
Says founder David Chang about what Jo’s (his nickname for Park) appointment means for the food: “While not strictly Korean, as Jo currently sees it, her menu will be influenced by her time spent cooking in Korea. We don’t see [the restaurant] as being tied to just one cuisine. She’ll be utilizing her fine-dining background and her time in Korea, but in a more casual and fun way.”
The restaurant will also have a takeaway component, something Chang has honed at his fried chicken concept, Fuku.
Belcampo Meat Co. Arrives in New York
The sustainably minded meat company is opening its first location outside of California, using meat from its farm in the Shasta Valley. At the counter, customers can order the Fast Burger, named one of the Best in Los Angeles, along with protein-topped vegetable bowls and bone broth.
Belcampo owner Anya Fernald considers Hudson Yards a game changer. “The chance to offer the quality and caliber of the meat we produce to the wide audience there is awesome,” she tells Bloomberg. “What better place to push a revolution in how we grow and sell animal protein in the U.S. than from New York?”
Fernald predicts her fine-fast concept will be appealing for the employee who isn’t venturing far from his or her desk, good for two or even three meals a day. “This food is ideal: healthy and protein-heavy, really designed for everyday consumption,” she says.
Rotisserie Will Be the Star at Hudson Yards Grill
“I’m bumped up about the rotisserie chicken,” says chef and co-owner Michael Lomonaco of his forthcoming Hudson Yards Grill. While steak is the focus at his Porter House (whose fan club includes incoming Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon), here birds will spin on the rotisserie throughout the day, as will legs of lamb, pork shoulder, and prime rib. There will also be pots of mussels and a handful of steak cuts, and, best of all for him, fried chicken.
The 265-seat dining room, designed by Bentel & Bentel Architects, will feature big, comfy booths and a major bar at the entrance, where, Lomonaco predicts, pimento cheese will be a best-seller. He’s also opening a bake shop with housemade breads, biscuits, and Parker House rolls.
Thomas Keller Is Going Back to the Classics
At Hudson Yards, Thomas Keller is unveiling the TAK Room, a glamorous 1950s vision of the American grill. The restaurant is designed with a sultry 5th floor lounge, a series of intimate dining rooms on the 6th floor, and a Winter Garden terrace with views of the water and Thomas Heatherwick’s labyrinthine, climbable sculpture, Vessel. Keller’s meat-focused menu will be a contrast to the neighboring Estiatorio Milos and its celebration of fish.
Related’s Himmel says he’s picked TAK Room as the first restaurant he’ll eat in when the Hudson Yards restaurants officially open.
Roving Concierges, Dedicated Delivery, and More
Because of the diverse makeup of the Hudson Yards tenants, Stuessi is promoting programs that go beyond flexible eating hours.
“The workforce will include a critical mass of 25- to 37-year-olds—people who want to meet up. We want to send out alerts like ‘Buns at Momofuku at 5:30.’ ” Additionally, Himmel is planning for ‘concierges’ armed with iPads to be on-site and ready to assist with reservations at the restaurants.
Also helpful for anyone familiar with the tedium of trekking to the lobby of their office building to pick up lunch, Stuessi says Hudson Yards is staffed with a team of delivery people who will bring food upstairs past security.
Likewise, when Citarella opens on the second floor, it will offer more prepared food than it typically does. Unlike its other branches, this one will have a sit-down section, à la Whole Foods, that overlooks a spur of the High Line. Next door will be a Citarella wine and liquor store, its first in New York City.
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