Food & drink pop-ups, because options are everything

Seasonal pop-ups often translate to creative collaborations, like the Katz's summer residency in The Met's cafeteria. Photo Credit: Katz’s Deli

From a Katz’s Deli residency to Queens Night Market’s Manhattan outpost, summertime is tasting fine.

Seasonal pop-ups often translate to creative collaborations, like the Katz's summer residency in The Met's cafeteria.
Seasonal pop-ups often translate to creative collaborations, like the Katz’s summer residency in The Met’s cafeteria. Photo Credit: Chris Ware

Pop-ups. [Insert eye roll here.] On the negative end, we could say they’re for the commitment averse. On the positive end, they translate to satiating with an ever-changing roster.

Let’s stay positive. 

And during the summertime, this city of ours is filled with temporary food and drink options, often channeling warm-weather themes and offering a mini-vacation from the sweltering streets. Here’s a sampling of some of the most notable.

Katz’s Deli x The Met

Feed your brain with art, then your belly with pastrami, during Katz's stay at The Met.
Feed your brain with art, then your belly with pastrami, during Katz’s stay at The Met. Photo Credit: Katz’s Deli

The best pairings follow the whole "the sum is greater than the parts" rule. And the option of fueling an artventure at The Met via Katz’s pastrami understands this fundamental.

Katz’s summer residency in the museum’s cafeteria translates to sandwich platters. Patrons can support turkey or pastrami, served with potato salad, coleslaw and sour pickles for $19. For added atmosphere, these old-timers (The Met is 149, Katz’s is 131) are making sure the meats are carved on the premises, and you can frame the perfect photo in front of a miniature of the deli’s signage.

(1000 Fifth Ave.; from 11:30 a.m. Thursdays through Mondays; metmuseum.org)

The Courtyard’s hangout

A Souvlaki GR food truck is serving up Greek food at The Courtyard.
A Souvlaki GR food truck is serving up Greek food at The Courtyard. Photo Credit: Oleg March

An outdoor hangout with a Greek food truck — why do our friends’ yard parties suddenly seem so modest? If you’re looking to freshen your fresh air fun, a seasonal pop-up at The Courtyard at Paper Factory, might be the answer. The LES’ Souvlaki GR truck is making the journey to Long Island City, with offerings of skewers for meaties and veggies alike, and meze including hummus and pita. 

Sink your teeth into those lamb bites (Thursdays through Sundays only) while sipping on custom cocktails — the PF Spritz involves sparkling wine and pomegranate liqueur, and of course there will be frosé — at a picnic table. Additional draws include lawn games, live music, and that ultimate in atmosphere, twinkle lights.

(37-06 36th St., Queens; 4-9:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, 4-10 p.m. Wednesdays, 4-11 p.m. Thursdays, 3 p.m.-midnight Fridays, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturdays, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sundays; a-collective-summer.com)

City Winery’s wine garden

A summer wine garden from City Winery sits at Rockefeller Center.
A summer wine garden from City Winery sits at Rockefeller Center. Photo Credit: City Winery

When a multinational conglomerate buys your block, here’s one solution: Set up a temporary wine garden at Rockefeller Center during the lovely months of the year. City Winery’s 143 Varick St. location shuttered on July 31 due to a displacement by Disney, and while a new spot at Pier 57 is slated to open by March, there’s a stopgap where the vino flows. (It also, per a statement from the company, employs 50 of the 150 workers impacted by the closure.)

Through the fall, City Winery’s pop-up is serving a selection of its Manhattan-made reds, whites and rosés on tap, plus beers from Montauk Brewing Company. Pair those with, say, charcuterie plates or hummus.

(Rockefeller Center’s North Plaza, between 50th and 51st streets and Fifth and Sixth avenues; open 11 a.m.-midnight daily, weather permitting; citywinery.com).

The William Vale’s Turf Club

The William Vale's rooftop is 23 stories up.
The William Vale’s rooftop is 23 stories up. Photo Credit: Andy Boyle

If your backyard is, say, nonexistent, or perhaps doesn’t offer spectacular views of Manhattan, you are a) in the majority and b) have an option that involves lawn games. For a second summer, The William Vale in Williamsburg resurrects its Turf Club, positioned 23 stories up on its rooftop. Don your best caftan and get ready to just hang out, your ears treated to tunes, your hand busy with beer, wine or one of seven specialty cocktails — maybe a Sunset Park (with tequila, spicy honey and watermelon) for us, a Ponce de Leon (coconut rum, banana and pineapple) for you.

(111 N. 12th St., Brooklyn; 4-10 p.m. Thursdays, 2 p.m.-midnight Fridays, noon-midnight Saturdays and noon-10 p.m. Sundays through September; westlightnyc.com)

Queens Night Market at Rock Center

Joey Bats Cafe's pastéis de nata.
Joey Bats Cafe’s pastéis de nata. Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

An advantage of pop-ups, often, is their flexible geography. For fans of the seasonal Queens Night Market, the commute is potentially a heck of a lot more convenient with its short-term offshoot – called Outpost – in midtown.

After a successful first go, Outpost is extended, at minumum, through September. An array of cuisines will cycle through, with Polish pierogies, Portuguese pastries and Jamaican jerk chicken just a sampling of the possibilities.

(Rockefeller Center’s South Plaza, between 48th and 49th streets and Fifth and Sixth avenues; noon-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, queensnightmarket.com)

Republic of Booza in Fort Greene

Republic of Booza flavors include vanilla on through watermelon-feta.
Republic of Booza flavors include vanilla on through watermelon-feta. Photo Credit: Shelby Knowles

The stretchy scoop shop that launched in Williamsburg in June 2018 has temporarily doubled its presence. Enthusiastic NYers quickly got an education on the taffy-esque treat, which is made of sahlab, a flour, and mastic, a resin from tree sap, and R.O.B. has crafted some 75 flavors over the past 18 months. You’ll find more than a dozen at the Fort Greene outpost, with likely flavors the popular vanilla and pistachio as well as some of the more inventive, such as a coconut matcha and salted Oreo.

(45 Willoughby Ave; through September; republicofbooza.com)

Rainbow Room’s tiki bar

There’s a reason why tropical drinks are popular: We have to survive the humidity somehow, right? Tackle the mood-dampening (ahem) air with a Mermaid Lagoon, theatrical Smoke on the Rock or one of the other cocktail creations being shaken and poured at the Rainbow Room’s Gallery Bar as it channels a tiki lounge. Snack on a specialty menu that includes a spin on a Hawaiian pizza, with pork belly, burrata and grilled pineapple; beef poke; and cream pie, with a backdrop of stellar Manhattan views from a 65th floor perch.

(30 Rockefeller Plaza; open at 5 p.m. Sept. 4, 9, 13 and 16; rainbowroom.com)

Rosé Mansion

Tiffany Williams hangs in the Rosé Mansion's Cleopatra room on Aug. 8, 2019.
Tiffany Williams hangs in the Rosé Mansion’s Cleopatra room on Aug. 8, 2019. Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon

Move over, rosé all day: It may not rhyme, but, these days, it’s rosé all the time. (Oh, hey!) The Rosé Mansion makes it so.

Back for a second round, this time overtaking Manhattan Mall’s second floor, attendees can again think and drink pink across 14 themed rooms. Clutching a wineglass, the tour includes a winery area, where you can dig into the winemaking process and a rosé tank; a space for introspection, as you chart personal palate preferences; and plenty of photo opp options, including cannons shooting glitter (make pretty, not war, people) and thrones, the better to feel like a queen.

(111 W. 32nd St.; through September; $35 at showclix.com)

Polly Higgins