Former New Yorker editor, artist, and food writer John Donohue is on a mission not to eat at every restaurant in New York City, but to draw them. He describes his project, Every Restaurant in New York as “an ongoing visual compendium of the city’s eateries,” and as “intentionally hyperbolic.” He’s figured out that by spending 20 minutes on each illustration, it’s mathematically possible to visit all 24,000 restaurants in the city in under a year. To date, he’s drawn nearly 200 restaurants, has an exhibit up of his drawings in Park Slope, and is selling prints of the restaurants (a portion of the proceeds from which he’ll donate to hunger-relief organizations). Ahead, John shares a collection of his drawings, from classic New York restaurants like Katz’s and the Grand Central Oyster Bar to new spots like Shake Shack and Carbone, and tells us how he got started on the project, about his process, and why he thinks drawing is good for the mind.
Two Waterline Square; Image: Noe & Associates with The Boundary
GID Development Group announced today that the Upper West Side‘s Waterline Square mega-development will be getting the first-ever experiential food market by the Cipriani family. Located within Two Waterline Square, the new Cipriani food hall will be designed by London-based interior designer Martin Brudnizki. Within the 28,000-square-foot space will be a large-format culinary experience with multiple food and beverage establishments including a market, restaurants, and casual outlets.
It’s been more than 60 years since Childs Restaurant left its historic home on the Coney Island boardwalk, but on Sunday the landmarked building will reopen as a massive new food and beverage concept called Kitchen 21 (h/t Eater). The formerly vacant and deteriorating space was redeveloped through a $60 million joint investment among the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Legends Hospitality (who run the dining programs at One World Trade Center and Yankee Stadium), and Cravable Hospitality Group (of David Burke Kitchen). It will hold five separate restaurants, all peddling “summer-friendly fare”: casual take-out spot Coney Island Café; beer and seafood spot Community Clam Bar; gastropub Parachute Bar; rooftop wine bar Boardwalk & Vine; and a more formal restaurant called Test Kitchen.
Though we’re getting used to bidding farewell to our favorite vestiges of old New York, the May 17 reopening of historic and elegant cocktail establishment Campbell Apartment brings a rare reprieve to that familiar scenario, as The New York Times reports. Shuttered in July, the iconic lounge tucked away deep within Grand Central Terminal will reopen as an expanded version of the original. Both its slightly hidden nature and the establishment’s dress code will not be returning in its newest incarnation. The new, easier-to-find bar will be run by the Gerber Group, who says they want the bar to be less stuffy, hopefully without losing any of the historic and genteel appeal that made it a favorite grown-up rendezvous spot and a great way to impress a date.
6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, award-winning photographers James and Karla Murray return to give us a behind-the-scenes tour of Murray’s Cheese. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Murray’s Cheese was founded in 1940 on Cornelia Street. When Rob Kaufelt bought the business in 1991, he grew the store into an internationally known food destination that now includes educational programs, a full-service restaurant, catering, and state-of-the-art cheese aging caves in Long Island City. Personally, our love affair with Murray’s Cheese began in 1994, when we were newlyweds on a budget, often buying cheese from the small Bleecker Street store to eat with some freshly baked bread purchased from the nearby Zito & Sons Bakery. Plus, with Murray’s being our namesake, we felt an immediate connection to the store.
Just last month, the Kroger Company purchased the equity of Murray’s Cheese and its flagship Greenwich Village location to form a merger of the two companies. As this new era approaches, we decided to capture all the cheesy goodness of the store, restaurant, and caves, as well as chat with Rob, cavemaster PJ, and Murray’s Cheese Bar’s general manager Jake Goznikar to learn about Murray’s history, unique contributions to local and world-wide food culture, and future.
New York may be one of the world’s greatest cities for dining out, but that doesn’t mean that every restaurant is up to par. The number of restaurant complaints to the city’s 311 call center rose for the second year in a row. There were 10,373 restaurant-related grievances called in during the fiscal year that ended June 30, an increase of 1,720 over the previous year.
The Four Seasons: Photo via Le Travelist
News of the iconic restaurant’s impending demise surfaced last summer, as 6sqft previously reported, when Seagram Building owner Aby Rosen did not renew the lease for what has been seen as the quintessential Midtown “power lunch” spot for the last decades of the 20th century since it opened in 1959. The restaurant’s interiors feature designs by Pritzker Prize-winner Philip Johnson, furniture, tableware and other items by Seagram Building designer Mies Van der Rohe, Hans J. Wegner and others and custom-made Knoll furniture.
Those items will be included in the 500 lots headed for auction on July 26. Dezeen highlights critics’ frustration at what Aaron Betsky, leading US architecture critic and dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture rues as the dispersal of “one of the rarest phenomena in Modernism: a place where the architecture, the furniture, the table settings, the service, the food, and even the clientele was of a piece.”
Brunch is inarguably one of New Yorkers’ favorite pastimes, and if there’s one dish that represents the lazy, and perhaps boozy, Sunday afternoon meal it’s Eggs Benedict — poached eggs and Canadian bacon on an English muffin, topped with hollandaise sauce. Which is why it’s not surprising to learn that the egg creation originated right in our fine city. There is however, a bit of controversy over just who gets the credit for inventing it. Was it the Wall Street bigwig who was looking for a hangover cure at the Waldorf Hotel? Or was it Charles Ranhofer, the legendary Delmonico’s chef who published a recipe for it in his cookbook “The Epicurean?”
Despite its interior landmark status and role as the quintessential Midtown “power lunch” spot, the Four Seasons has been facing an uncertain future for the past year. In May, a small victory was had when the Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected Aby Rosen’s plans to re-conceptualize the Philip Johnson-designed space, but it was short-lived, as Crain’s now reports that the Four Seasons will close its doors on July 16th after serving New Yorkers since 1959. Rosen did not renew the lease and plans to replace the restaurant with what will be considered a more “hip” eatery. As the Post shares, of-the-moment restauranteurs Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick (of the Major Food Group and trendy restaurants like Parm and Dirty French) signed to take over and partner with Rosen, who will increase the rent to $3 million a year.
If you’re looking to celebrate the Lunar New Year with Chinese food, you’ll likely end up with Cantonese or Szechuan cuisine, those most popular in the city. But if Erika Chou has anything to do with it, New Yorkers will soon be adding to their repertoire the flavors of China’s Yunnan province.
Erika, who studied art and formerly worked in fashion photography, was introduced to the Yunnan culture and flavors several years ago on a trip to China. By 2012, she made the decision to start a restaurant celebrating this province and opened Yunnan Kitchen on the Lower East Side with esteemed chef Doron Wong in the kitchen. This past fall, Erika reopened the restaurant as Yunnan BBQ and revamped the menu with Doron to offer small plates like a Chrysanthemum Salad made with asian pear and large, barbecue-focused plates such as Pecan-Smoked Chicken Wings and Yunnan Curry Beef Brisket. Earlier this week, Erika and Doron’s efforts were celebrated when the New York Times included Yunnan BBQ in an article discussing Chinese-American chefs and restaurants.
On the eve of Chinese New Year, 6sqft spoke with Erika to find out what drew her to the Yunnan province, how her background in art helps as a restaurateur, and to find out about a misconception surrounding Chinese food.
Today, the only thing you’ll be spending money on when you travel to the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building is the $50+ Observation Deck ticket. But back in the ’30s, it was a much more glamorous experience, complete with the Empire State Observatory Fountain and Tea Room.
The New York Public Library recently digitized 18,000 of its 40,000 restaurant menus, which range from 1851 to 2008, including this one from the Empire State Building in 1933. As you’ll see, sandwiches (ham, peanut butter, and tomato and lettuce, to name a few) were a mere 25 cents, the same price as their six types of ice cream sundaes and ten flavored sodas. In terms of actual food, your only choice other than a sandwich would’ve been a pretty blah-sounding salad, some pastries, or a selection of “candy and cigarettes.”
Automat by Berenice Abbott, 1936
In the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s Automats were a New York City dining staple for a hard-working lunch crowd, a modernist icon for a boundless machine-age future. At their height there were over three dozen in the city, serving 800,000 people a day. And nearly everyone who actually experienced Automats in their heyday says the same thing: They never forgot the thrill of being a kid at the Automat.
Created by Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart in Philadelphia in 1902, coin-operated Automats were lovingly-designed Art Deco temples to modern efficiency. Sleek steel and glass vending machine grids displayed sandwiches and main dishes as well as desserts and sides, each in their own little boxes, square and even, clean and well-lit. You put a coin in the slot, opened the door and removed your food—which was reportedly quite good, as the founders took terrific pride in their craft.
It seems like every day now we’re getting word of a new mega-food hall, likely the trickle down effect from wildly successful Smorgasburg and the realization that “snake person” and “foodie” seem to go hand in hand. Just yesterday, Crain’s announced that the former AIG headquarters tower at 70 Pine Street will be turned into a 13,000-square-foot food mecca “to be operated by Spotted Pig owner Ken Friedman and Michelin-starred chef April Bloomfield.”
It’ll join a long list of similar markets, such as the one planned for Essex Crossing (which will be one of the five largest markets in the country); Hudson Eats at Brookfield Place, the massive forthcoming food court by Anthony Bourdain at Pier 57, City Point’s Dekalb Market Hall, Danny Meyer’s possible giant food hall at Hudson Yards, and the Jean-Georges-led 50,000-square-foot culinary wonderland coming to the South Street Seaport. And we’re just scratching the surface here. With so many similar projects in the works, is the foodie boom going to sink or swim?
Images: Smorgasburg (L); Urban Space Vanderbilt (R)
If you’re like most New Yorkers, you probably keep within a ten block radius of your home when you have downtime, maybe venturing out on a Sunday afternoon for brunch. A tired routine? Well, here’s the perfect opportunity to spread your wings a bit. Like A Local is a cool startup that invites folks to chow on some of the best eats a neighborhood has to offer, while also giving them a taste of a place’s history—from the art to architecture to the origin of what they’re biting down on. Basically if you love eating and you love learning, they’ve got four tours worth your time.
Rendering of the revamped Tin Building via SHoP Architects
Perhaps spearheaded by the Smorgasburg foodie culture, putting multiple local food vendors in one place has become a recipe for success in NYC development projects. There’s the Hudson Eats food hall at office-filled Brookfield Place, the forthcoming food court by Anthony Bourdain at Pier 57, Danny Meyer’s possible giant food hall at Hudson Yards, the 55-vendor Dekalb Market Hall planned for Downtown Brooklyn’s City Point, and the food hall at Sunset Park‘s Industry City, to name just a few. So it comes as no surprise that the South Street Seaport redevelopment will boast not one, but two massive food halls.
The Post reports that none other than three Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten (ABC Kitchen, the Mercer Kitchen, and JoJo are just a few of his famed restaurants) will be spearheading the foodie revolution at the Howard Hughes Corporation’s $1.5 billion mega-development. According to the paper, “The great chef and his business partner Phil Suarez have signed a lease/partnership contract with NYSE-listed Hughes to launch two major Seaport projects — a 40,000 square-foot, seafood-themed marketplace inside the Tin Building and a 10,000 square-foot restaurant in a rebuilt Pier 17.” Both are expected to open in 2017.