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2014 Preview: NYC Openings to Put on Your Radar

By James Mulcahy
January 2, 2014

2013, we hardly knew ye. While everyone dusts off their champagne hangovers from New Years, the swim-or-die restaurant world keeps on truckin', with a slew of new openings ready to help you abandon those resolutions and get eating in 2014. The below preview contains some of the things we're most excited about, so put these on your radar, weight-loss goals be damned.

  • Danny Meyer Watch

    Danny Meyer has partnered with the Manhattan branch of the King and Grove Hotel (pictured) for what is sure to be one of 2014's hottest tables, a new restaurant in King and Grove's East 29th Street property from Maialino chef Nick Anderer. The King and Grove brand might sound familiar - the brand's Brooklyn branch houses Paul Liebrandt's The Elm, widely respected as one of the most ambitious openings in 2013. Details are scarce about what the eatery will feature (and no name has been released), but it will be open for breakfast and serve through late-night hours, with Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group handling all food and beverage at the hotel. This looks set to open in summer.

    That's not all for the USHG. Meyer and co. also plan to open Porchlight, a Blue Smoke spinoff on 28th Street and 11th Avenue. The large 4,000-sq.-ft. space will pour a wide variety of craft beer and cement 11th Avenue's place as an up-and-coming food street. Stop by for a cocktail this fall.

  • Acme Guys Strike Again

    Jean-Marc Houmard and Hui Chi Lee from perennial hot spot Indochine will work with their partner from Acme (pictured) Jon Neidich to bring their brand of downtown chic to a new Mexican-Asian spot on Essex Street. The two-level space used to house The Laugh Factory, and the unnamed venue will feature a bar downstairs, which seems to mirror the successful model of their bi-level New Nordic spot on Great Jones Street. These guys know how to attract buzz without any major bells and whistles, so stay tuned for what we predict will be a quiet launch this spring.

    Trend Watch: With this venue on the horizon and the recent opening of Danny Bowien's Mission Cantina, it seems that Mexican-Asian mash-ups could be an on-the-rise trend in the next 12 months.

  • Umami Does Pizza (and More Burgers)

    The Burger buzz in 2013 was all about Calforina-based chain Umami Burger opening a new location in the West Village, and in 2014, founders Adam Fleischman and Allen Ravert hope to recreate the magic with pizza. The duo are scouting a location in NoMad for their LA-based 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, which offers customized pizzas fresh from a wood-burning oven. If all this talk about Umami just gets you hungry for one of their signature truffle burgers, the chain will also open a second NYC location in Williamsburg on North Fourth near Metropolitan. Originally scheduled to launch in 2013, expect the grills to get fired up by spring, with a third location also pending for the World Financial Center .

    Williamsburg Bonus: Another bonus for Williamsburg residents in 2014 will be the first Brooklyn location of Parm, which the guys behind Torrisi plan to open on North Fourth near Bedford.

  • A FiDi Food Court Worth the Trip

    Downtown Manhattan is about to be reborn with the debut of the Freedom Tower and the World Financial Center, and it will include a lot more than gleaming office space. The new complex will be dubbed Brookfield Place and will feature a dining terrace with outposts of Umami, Dos Toros, Num Pang and Little Muenster Grilled Cheese. Other vendors include Mighty Quinn's BBQ and Sprinkles Cupcakes, and guests can grab their fare and camp out with some vino at one of the massive food hall's 600 seats. The complex will also feature a retail component, where shoppers can nab produce and sundries to go.

    Trend Watch: The space was designed by AvroKo, the restaurant design firm that was also behind the Gotham West Market, a high-end food hall in Midtown West. With the debut of this FiDi grub hub, we think it's fair to say that the food court has been reinvented for a modern-day audience.

  • The Plaza Hotel, Reborn

    Earlier this year, Geoffrey Zakarian was named culinary director of The Plaza Hotel, and in 2014 you can expect to see some changes at the venue's iconic eateries. Refreshers are on tap for The Palm Court, The Rose Club and The Champagne Bar, but we're most intrigued by the Iron Chef's plans for The Oak Room, which has been closed along with its sister Oak Bar for almost two years.The iconic destinations plan to reopen in 2014 with Zakarian at the helm, and judging by his success channeling old New York at Midtown's The Lambs Club, we think he's primed to put this Uptown address back on the culinary map.

    Trend Watch: Zakarian isn't the only chef that is breathing new life into a historic hotel. The St. Regis recently enlisted John DeLucie to redo the menu at famed King Cole Bar, and that spot recently opened to positive buzz.

  • The Le Bernardin Team Expands

    Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin is the best restaurant in NYC according to our 2014 survey, and next year he is set to debut two new projects in a nearby space that once housed Piano Due. Bernardin Prive will become the restaurant's private-dining space, allowing Ripert and his team to bring in the big bucks for exclusive functions while leaving plenty of room for the rest of us at his flagship. That's a great development for the ballers in the bunch, but for regular diners and wine lovers out there, the real fun is going to be at the Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, a high-end vino den with a list curated by Ripert's longtime sommelier. A small menu of bites will be served at this sizable space, which should debut during the first few months of the year.

  • Keith McNally Reboots Pulinos

    Restaurateur Keith McNally has had a string of winners ranging from Balthazar to Minetta Tavern, so it came as somewhat of a surprise when he announced his LES pizza joint Pulinos would close at the end of 2013. The restaurant, which went through a few menu changes since it opened, never reached the level of his other hot spots. Even though he plans to shutter this concept, McNally won't be down for the count. He plans to come back with Cherche Midi, a French eatery that will debut in the first half of the year. That's not the only news from the restaurateur's empire: his Meatpacking District mainstay Pastis will close in January for renovations and reopen next year on the same corner

  • Two Downtown Chefs Expand

    Two well-respected chefs from NYC's Downtown dining scene are getting ready to expand. Amanda Cohen, who has been at the cutting-edge of vegetarian cuisine at her minuscule Dirt Candy, will pack up shop and move to a larger space on Allen Street. She'll keep the lease at her original space, where she will launch a new project after getting Dirt 2.0 up and running. Alex Stupak of Empellon (pictured) and Empellon Cocina is also playing the expansion game in 2014. No word yet on what the new concept will be, but we expect the chef to stay within the Mexican idiom that has been a hit at his two other venues. Eater reports that he was recently looking to sign a lease for a space that used to house a sushi restaurant on St. Mark's Place.

  • Others to Watch Out for

    There are a few other big names to watch out for in the coming months. Caesar Ramierz will debut his long-awaited Hell's Kitchen outpost of super-high-end Brooklyn Fare sometime during the next few months. Back in October, Joel Robuchon told us he is looking to bring a more approachable version of his L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon back to New York (the original in the Four Seasons Hotel closed this July). He is currently scouting locations in Midtown.

    In a bizarre mash-up, Top Chef winner Ilan Hall (pictured) will bring an outpost of his LA eatery The Gorbals over from the Gold Coast, and it will open in a Williamsburg Urban Outfitters. And finally, David Chang will move his tasting-menu-only Momofuku Ko to a larger address on the tucked-away East Village Street Extra Place.

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