A slew of openings in Battery Park City promise more dining options for local residents and workers this spring. But will they be able to entice hungry New Yorkers to drop in for dinner from outside the neighborhood's narrow borders?
The short answer is: Maybe.
Philadelphia-based restaurateur Stephen Starr, whose Mexican eatery El Vez opened late last month on Vesey Street, currently the neighborhood's main dining corridor, expects he'll be catering to a local crowd of families and business people to start.
"But as more restaurants come to the area, I think that Battery Park City will become a destination," said Starr. "It's easy to get to, it's easy to navigate and not as tumultuous as midtown or the Meatpacking District."
And new restaurants are arriving in droves. Later this month, Hudson Eats, a "fast-casual" dining terrace at the $250 million-revamped Brookfield Place complex, is opening to the public. It's bringing 14 eateries, including Blue Ribbon Sushi, Umami Burger and Num Pang Sandwich Shop, to what is sure to be a hungry -- and plentiful -- weekday lunch crowd.
Later this year, Le District, an upscale French market in the same vein as Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and Joe Bastianich's Eataly, will open up on the ground floor beneath Hudson Eats. And over the next 17 months Brookfield plans to roll out five sit-down restaurants, with Major Food Group's cult-favorite Parm sandwich shop and an as-yet unnamed concept from Jose Grarces' Garces Group announced so far.
The area will also be getting an Eataly of its own, with a location near the World Trade Center site recently announced. An international street food market helmed by Anthony Bourdain is also rumored to be opening at 3 World Trade Center.
But how will these businesses fare at night and on weekends, when offices are closed and there is little sign of life on the streets?
"As many restaurants as I've opened, I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking no one is going to come," said Starr.
Danny Meyer, who opened Shake Shack, Blue Smoke and North End Grill in the area between 2011 and 2012 and whose Union Square Events provides catering services to the area's Conrad Hotel, admits that three years since opening in the neighborhood, there are still times when his spots have trouble getting people in the seats. But he remains optimistic.
"What we really root for is other people's restaurants down here, because that's when we know things are working, and that's about to happen," Meyer said recently at an event at the Conrad Hotel. "We're so excited that we're going to have a lot more company soon."
As for whether or not people will make the trek across West Street, those who live in the area are optimistic. Cheryl Wortzel, a Battery Park City resident since 2011, thinks a project like Bourdain's would solidify the area's reputation as a dining destination in its own right.
"That whole concept in general is so popular," she said, referring to retail-dining emporiums such as Eataly and Hell's Kitchen's Gotham West Market. "Gotham West ? is in the middle of nowhere, but people still go there."
WHERE TO DINE IN BATTERY PARK CITY
Mexican restaurant from Stephen Starr
259 Vesey St., 212-233-2500, elveznyc.om
Danny Meyer’s cult burger joint
215 Murray St., 646-545-4600, shakeshack.com
A leader in NYC’s barbecue movement<
255 Vesey St., 212-889-2005, bluesmoke.com
North End Grill
New American bar and grill from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group
104 North End Ave., 646-747-1600, northendgrillnyc.com
Inatteso Pizzabar Casano
Neighborhood favorite since 2008
28 West St., 212-267-8000, inattesopizzabar.com
ATRIO Wine Bar and Restaurant
Classic Mediterranean fare in the Conrad Hotel
102 North End Ave., 212-945-0100, conradhotels3.hilton.com
All of these concepts are slated to open in Brookfield Place over the next year and a half or so:
Collection of 14 fast-casual restaurants, including Blue Ribbon Sushi, Umami Burger and Black Seed Bagels, opening later this month
Brookfield Place, 220 Vesey St., 212-417-7000, brookfieldplaceny.com
Upscale French market
Major Food Group’s cult-favorite sandwich shop
ALSO PLANNED FOR THE AREA:
The historic pier on the Hudson River is being converted into a beer hall, expected to open this summer
New location of the Italian food mecca planned near the World Trade Center site
International street food market from Anthony Bourdain
Rumored to be opening at 3 World Trade Center