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Inside Turnstyle, Columbus Circle’s Subterranean Food Hall

Not so long ago Columbus Circle was a culinary wasteland, and while the Time Warner Center did much to change the landscape, casual great eats were still few & far between.  And so — not that we need any more proof how radically times have changed — we never could have conceived of the day that the subterranean, 59th Street-strip would become home to the city’s most happening new Food Court, dubbed Turnstyle. 

1459288283502Considering New York’s current, overwhelming obsession with grand culinary halls (think Hudson Eats, Smorgasburg, The Pennsy, UrbanSpace Vanderbilt and the upcoming hawker mecca via Anthony Bourdain), it only stood to reason that developers would start looking underground for real estate.  Which brought us to this week’s grand opening of Turnstyle — a privately financed, 30,000-square foot, 325-foot long passageway that snakes from the 57th street subway entrance all the way to the lip of the A, B, C, D and Number 1 platforms — and features a lineup of 12 boutique shops, 20 gourmet eateries, and a series of pop-up kiosks, offering everything from hats and 35455flowers to dumplings and doughnuts.

So the next time you’re headed to the Time Warner Center, Lincoln Center or Central Park, consider lingering under the city for just a moment longer, for a visit to one of the following, destination-worthy vendors.

Doughnuttery: If anything can counteract the suspicious smells of the subway system, it’s this bite-sized doughnut mecca, which forms and fries its tiny pastries on site, before tossing them in fun, flavored sugars and toppings, like lavender, pistachio, and fruity pebbles.

KaleBlossom Du Jour: While it’s hard to look your best when you’re all sticky and sweaty from the subway, you can at least feel somewhat better about yourself with fare from this 100% vegan eatery, which ranges from wholly virtuous (a Spicy Green Bowl with kale and turmeric rice) to pretty indulgent; we’re talking Seitan Philly Cheesesteaks.

Bosie Patisserie: No, Bosie is not likely to offer their celebrated high tea service underground, although you can still avail yourself of more grab-and-go friendly sweets, like Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies, Honeycomb Brioche and Lemon Praline Macarons.

Semsom: Skip the halal carts that haunt the perimeter of Columbus Circle, and check out this Lebanese mini-chain (with branches throughout the Middle East) instead, for fresh and healthful offerings like Sriracha Hummus, Freekah Salad and Sumac Chicken Wraps.

2Beans: If there’s anything that can help jumpstart the weary commuter’s day, it’s Coffee and Chocolate.  And this caffeine-fueled shop supplies both; from simple shots of Espresso and goblets of Hot Raspberry Mocha, to fair trade Cocoa Bars, flavored with everything from nuts and chiles to olives to bread.

MeltKraft: Being that they abandoned their brick and mortar location in Brooklyn, this outpost might just inspire Brooklynites to take a train out to Columbus Circle, for molten triangles of cow, sheep or goat-based grilled cheese, augmented with pickled green tomatoes and BBQ potato chips (the “Melter Skelter”) or baked macaroni and beef brisket (the “Valley Thunder.”)

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