From his Greenwich Village apartment, Ryan Hardy has watched Hudson Yards rise on the West Side.
The development has been transforming part of Hell’s Kitchen for several years. A multibillion dollar project needs a flashy, flagship spot, and it’s getting one from the chef and his Delicious Hospitality Group with Legacy Records, opening March 6 at the new residential building Henry Hall at 517 W. 38th St.
More room to play with
The two-level restaurant, complete with a bar, cafe, two private dining rooms and two kitchens to serve it all, is the most ambitious to date from the team behind downtown hot spots Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones.
Starting from essentially a hole in the ground, Hardy and partners Robert Bohr and Grant Reynolds got to put to life some features they’ve always wanted at their other two spots but lacked the space — like a proper spot to enjoy a pre- or post-dinner drink.
“When you come to our other restaurants, there’s not a lot of room to wait, or if you want to sit after or before dinner and have a glass of wine, it’s a difficult thing to do,” Hardy, 43, said. “We embraced the ability to say, OK, we can be a little bit more adult with our approach to design and the experience.”
The second-floor bar (and ground-floor cafe, which will transition to a bar at night) will provide that cocktail space. Thanks to the two kitchens, it will also have its own bar menu — something the team wasn’t able to do before too.
“We’re finally able to serve a cheeseburger,” Hardy said.
A new culinary identity
An emphasis on Italian- and Mediterranean-inspired fare connects the group’s restaurants. But while dishes can be shared, that’s less of a focus here than at Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones.
“We wanted it to be familiar but unique,” Hardy said. “It had to be its own identity. Charlie Bird is who we were five years ago. This is who we are now.”
The cuisine takes advantage of the East Coast’s maritime bounty.
“We got a guy off the coast of Cape Cod pulling oysters and scallops just for us,” Hardy said. “To be able to do that stuff is the next step; it’s not just calling the purveyors, but calling the source. Having a third restaurant has given us that ability.”
With more space, the kitchen will have a station to make risotto from scratch each order. “To do that sounds very basic, but it requires a lot of space,” Hardy said. “We have an entire section of the kitchen dedicated to just rice [which] we’re not able to do at either of our restaurants.”
Behind the beverage program
Faces old and new are behind the drinks. Partner and wine director Arvid Rosengren is focusing primarily on French and Italian offerings, with about 300-350 options.
If you’re not feeling wine, Legacy Records also has a focused cocktail program curated by Jeff Bell from PDT — you know, that “secret” East Village place.
The restaurant takes its name from the former Legacy Recording Studio space, razed to make room for the tower. Beyond the homage, regulars at the team’s previous spots know music is as central to the experience as the food, from the old-school hip-hop of Charlie Bird to the funk and soul of Pasquale Jones.
Legacy Records sees the team returning to hip-hop, but with a “more contemporary approach because the space is more contemporary,” Hardy said.
Legacy Records is helping usher in a whole host of Hudson Yards food concepts. Getting in on the ground floor of the area was especially appealing to the group.
“We really wanted to find an emerging neighborhood,” Hardy said, like SoHo was for Charlie Bird in 2013 and the corner of Mulberry and Kenmare streets was for Pasquale Jones in 2016. “Whoever’s the first to open in a neighborhood tends to do better in the long term.”
The hungry Hudson Yards population is also a plus; once built out, it will have 100-plus shops, 4,000 residences and a hotel.
“It’s almost an expansion of midtown, and you’re going to have a massive amount of demographic power over there,” Hardy said. “It’s a very interesting opportunity to be one of the first people in.”
With Joseph Ellingham
Hudson Yards lineup
Legacy Records is just one of some 25 restaurant and food concepts planned for Hudson Yards. Here’s a look at some of the big names slated to deliver later this year:
- Chef Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon Bakery) is planning a new American restaurant.
- A new spot from David Chang’s Momofuku will feature a more formal dining room and takeaway concept.
- A new American grill concept from chef Michael Lomonaco (Porter House New York) will be aimed at the people living and working in Hudson Yards.
- Chef Costas Spiliadis is bringing his Greek seafood restaurant Estiatorio Milos.
- D&D London, which has restaurants across the globe, will open its first NYC location — a modern brasserie concept.
- Chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup will debut a 35,000-square-foot Spanish food hall at 10 Anchor Yards in collaboration with Ferran and Albert Adrià, the brothers behind Spain’s famed El Bulli restaurant.
- London’s Rhubarb hospitality group is set to open two restaurants and a catering operation.