“I’ve always been inspired by the new, the unexplored,” José Andrés says.
The award-winning D.C.-based chef’s first New York project, Mercado Little Spain, is among the buzzy dining concepts to lure diners to Manhattan’s Far West Side now that Hudson Yards is open. The massive commercial and residential development excited Andrés because it is “a completely new neighborhood in a city that I’ve loved ever since I came to this country.”
Mercado is one of the more than two dozen restaurants, bars, cafes and shops that make up Hudson Yards’ dining collection. In its conceptual stages, it has been likened to a Spanish Eataly and will celebrate the cuisine and culture of Andrés’ native Spain through three restaurants, two bars and more than a dozen kiosks serving tapas.
“New York is a city of beautiful immigrants, Spanish and many, many others, and what we’ve tried to create with Mercado Little Spain is our tribute to my native country, a little piece of Spain in an exciting new corner of Manhattan,” Andrés says.
‘Something for everyone’
Mercado will be accompanied by new restaurants from other world-famous chefs, from David Chang’s Kāwi to Michael Lomonaco’s Hudson Yards Grill, along with new-to-New-York concepts, like Bay Area-based sustainable meat company Belcampo and department store Neiman Marcus’ eatery Zodiac Room.
The menu of options will also be lush with local food brands, like Shake Shack, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, Fuku, Jack’s Stir Brew and Citarella.
Development group Related Urban teamed up with chef Thomas Keller to curate Hudson Yard’s culinary lineup. They worked to ensure different price points and diverse cuisine to offer “something for everyone in this neighborhood coming to life,” says Kevin Stuessi, vice president of Related Companies, who compared the process of developing a coherent culinary program to building a puzzle and finding fits for the missing pieces.
As a dining destination, Hudson Yards will enhance the options for visitors to the High Line, with its proximity to the elevated park’s north end, and the Javits Center. It will also serve a bridge between Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. For Stuessi, a highlight will be the outdoor space — a premium in Manhattan — which has inspired restaurants to offer picnic baskets and boxed items to go.
The majority of new restaurants are slated to open this Friday, an almost unfathomable feat in a city where opening day can be synonymous with delays and postponement.
“We have an absolutely incredible construction and tenant coordination team,” Stuessi says with a laugh when asked how they’re pulling off the large batch of openings. “They’re working with us to bring them all to life in one moment.”
Already, there’s a sense of community in the new neighborhood.
“You see people from different restaurants walking in each other’s spots, grabbing a coffee,” Stuessi says.
The benefit of proximity has also helped the restaurants work together on staffing and supply needs; Stuessi recounts that the hospitality businesses were able to share applicants with their neighbors when good candidates presented themselves but job openings were already filled.
“There is a sense of camaraderie with everyone opening a restaurant in Hudson Yards at the same time,” says Sam Gelman, vice president of operations at Fuku, Momofuku’s fast-casual fried chicken sandwich mini-chain.
The Hudson Yards outpost will feature Fuku’s new bone-in fried chicken program and menu of sides, along with its signature spicy fried chicken sandwiches and chicken fingers.
Fitting in in NYC
In addition to familiar names like Fuku and Shake Shack, Hudson Yards will see a few eateries dipping into the New York dining scene for the first time, like Belcampo. It’ll be serving its burgers, grass-fed and finished steaks, bone broth on tap and bone broth-based soups for the first time outside of California.
Grain bowls with fresh veggies will also be new to the menu, a nod to the potential regulars living and working at Hudson Yards who may crave a lighter option. Another change Belcampo is making for Manhattanites: takeout.
“We’re planning on launching with a focus on food delivery systems like Seamless and Grubhub,” says Anya Fernald, co-founder and CEO of Belcampo, who is anticipating an “immediate high volume” of orders from hungry New Yorkers who don’t like to wait.
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story did not note the restaurants are opening Friday.
Opening day eats
More than 25 restaurant and food concepts are planned for Hudson Yards, with a majority making their debut this week. (Some, like Sweetgreen, have already opened, while others, like new concepts from Danny Meyer in The Shed and Stephen Starr in the Equinox Hotel, as well as a Maison Kayser, will follow.) Here’s a look at everything on the food front that’s slated to open on Friday:
The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards
- Teak Tearoom at The Conservatory: Choose from a variety of teas, as well as bites and baked goods, at this all-day cafe. Level 1
- Blue Bottle Coffee: Get your java fix from the specialty coffee roasters. Level 2
- Citarella Hudson Yards: Shop a selection of seafood, meat, cheese and produce, as well as wine and spirits, at the gourmet market. Level 2
- The Drug Store: Try new beverages from Dirty Lemon at this cocktail bar. Level 2
- Fuku: Find the latest location for the Momofuku fried chicken spot. Level 2
- Kith Treats at Snark Park: The ice cream and cereal bar adds an outpost in this exhibition space. Level 2
- Bluestone Lane: Another spot to get your coffee fix. Level 3
- Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream: The fancy ice cream shop continues its rapid NYC expansion. Level 3
- William Greenberg Desserts: Pick up some black and whites from the kosher bakery. Level 3
- Belcampo: Sustainably-sourced meats are the focus of this California chain. Level 4
- Dylan’s Candy Bar: Fill up on boutique candy. Level 4
- Hudson Yards Grill: The latest from chef Michael Lomonaco. Level 4
- Jack’s Stir Brew: More in coffee. Level 4
- Li-Lac Chocolates: The chocolate institution opens its newest chocolate bar and new flagship. Level 4
- Queensyard: A restaurant and bar from the UK’s D&D London. Level 4
- Shake Shack: Get the chain’s signature burgers and milkshakes. Level 4
- Bouchon Bakery: Find a selection of French pastries and freshly-baked breads. Level 5
- Kāwi: Chef Eunjo Park helms this new restaurant from Momofuku. Level 5
- Milos Wine Bar: Get yogurt to go during the day, sip on Greek wines at night. Level 5
- Neiman Marcus: The department store will feature a cafe (Cook & Merchants, level 5), bar (Bar Stanley, level 6) and restaurant (The Zodiac Room, level 7).
- Peach Mart: Momofuku’s new to-go concept specializes in kimbap and sandwiches. Level 5
- Wild Ink: Chef Peter Jin helms this new restaurant from the UK hospitality group rhubarb. Level 5
- TAK Room: Chef Thomas Keller debuts a new concept in NYC. Levels 5 and 6
- Estiatorio Milos: Chef Costas Spiliadis opens a second NYC location of his acclaimed Greek restaurant. Level 6
10 Hudson Yards
- Mercado Little Spain: José Andrés’ ode to Spain (a collaboration with brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià) rolls out over the first few weeks, starting with the cocktail-focused Bar Celona, food kiosks Bravas and Churros, and retail shop Colmado. Hours will be limited to start, too, opening daily at 4 p.m. Ground floor