In this great dining city of ours, barely a day passes without news of an exciting new restaurant opening, a devastating closing, a shocking chef shuffle, or a groundbreaking, must-try dish. That’s why we’re keeping you apprised of the industry’s most noteworthy bits and bites — from major plans for Grand Central’s dining concourse to an unexpected migration for fine dining stalwart, Union Square Café and the Pok Pok dynasty’s complete commitment to Brooklyn.
Bye Bye Phat Thai: Andy Ricker has severed his last remaining link with Manhattan by deciding to move his dedicated noodle spot, Pok Pok Phat Thai, to the Columbia Waterfront District in Brooklyn. That means, you won’t be able to take a step down Columbia Street without running into a Ricker joint, including the cocktails and small plates haven, Whiskey Soda Lounge, and his original, full-fledged restaurant, Pok Pok Ny. Poor Lower East Side residents — it’s going to be quite a pilgrimage if they want a taste of Pok Pok’s patented Drinking Vinegars and delectable Crispy Broken Crepes with mussels and garlic chives.
Grand Plans: We’ve been wondering when Grand Central would step up its concessions game, in the face of the recently opened, high-end food hall servicing the PATH trains, called Hudson Eats. Well, finally it’s on. Claus Meyer, one of the co-founders of the famed, forage-happy Scandinavian restaurant, Noma, is overseeing a massive, Nordic market in Grand Central’s landmarked Vanderbilt Hall. Look out for a coffee parlor, balcony café and fancy, 100-seat brasserie — we wonder what local ingredients the team will be able to forage for on the decidedly urban streets of Midtown?
Out to Pasture: Nick Morgenstern (the brains behind the eponymous, buzzy new LES ice cream parlor), is closing his under-the-radar but well respected restaurant, Goat Town, and reimagining it as an eatery called GG’s in the fall. In partnership with chef Bobby Hellen, formerly of Resto and The Cannibal, Goat Town’s beverage director, Gabriel Richter, and service director Emily Schumacher, of Jack’s Wife Freda, GG’s will utilize ingredients sourced from the restaurant’s back garden, and, per Morgenstern, hopefully “serve the East Village community in a broader way.”
Union Blues: If hospitality kingpin, Danny Meyer, can’t afford rent on his beloved Manhattan institution, Union Square Cafe, who the heck can, nowadays? Owing to a recent rent hike (up to $650,000 a year!), the 30-year-old restaurant will vacate its longtime location by the end of 2015, and while it will probably eventually resurface somewhere, there’s no word yet as to where or when. We imagine that Danny Meyer will find a way to muddle through somehow, but what does the ever-increasing cost of doing business mean for New York’s many small, independent owners?
Seersucker Shake-up: This isn’t the first time Rob Newton and Kerry Diamond — the industrious couple behind numerous Smith Street restaurants — have done a switcheroo with their spaces. This time around, they’re moving their year-old Vietnamese joint, Nightingale 9, into Seersucker’s spot (their original, Southern eatery), and in the vacated area, plan to install a casual, Seersucker spin-off, called Wilma Jean. So we guess that means that, after four years, Seersucker itself is dunzo, but no matter what their restaurants are called, Newton and Diamond have only continued to assert their dominance over Brooklyn’s food scene.
Le Shutter: It seems that the adage is true; all good things must come to an end. Despite earning a Michelin star, as well as a solid, two-star review from The New York Times, the gourmet Tribeca food market, All Good Things, and its adjunct, downstairs eatery, the 12-table tasting room, Le Restaurant, have closed. Unexpected and unfortunate, but we image we’ll see (more) good things from owners Kyle Wittels and Ryan Tate in the future.