It’s true: New Yorkers love their food. And with new spots opening weekly, you’ll never run out of options. Besides corner delis and pizza parlors, trendy restaurants from David Chang and fine-dining spots run by celebrity chefs like Mario Batali, a new kind of restaurant has captured attention: casual food halls serving top-notch cuisine. These buzzing food courts, which are popping up all over NYC, provide cozy seating in open air spaces where the concrete jungle suddenly becomes a lot more…communal. Here are some of the latest food halls in Manhattan—plus one in Brooklyn—that locals and visitors are falling in love with.
This high-ceiling hall near Grand Central station is as high-energy as New York gets. Thick bolted columns and hanging metal beams give the space an industrial vibe, and diners out for a lunch break can eat at long wooden communal tables. Over 20 artisanal vendors occupy the space, serving everything from oversized glazed donuts from Dough to unique hummus bowls from Mimi’s Hummus and even Japanese-inspired Mexican fare at Takumi Taco. But the list of vendors isn’t static; with a rotating list of chefs, the food options are constantly changing. (230 Park Ave.)
On Memorial Day, Gansevoort Market will make its second debut in a new (and bigger) home that’s only a five-minute walk from its former Meatpacking District location. Old favorites like Cappone’s and the Meatball Guys will return, sharing space with big-name newcomers like Big Gay Ice Cream and Luke’s Lobsters. The food court will accommodate up to 160 seated diners, plus 40 additional spots in the outdoor café during the summertime. (353 West 14th St.)
If you travel through Columbus Circle station regularly, you’re in for a tasty treat: The underground subway station is now home to the TurnStyle food court. The hub’s 30 storefront vendors are tucked into the sides of the station’s passages, and some have tables or stand-up counters. So when you’re running to catch the next 1 train, you can grab a slice from The Pizza or a fruity cereal donut from The Doughnuttery on the way. (8th Ave. between 57th and 58th St.)
Grand Central is constantly bustling with commuters and wide-eyed tourists, and just like its visitors, the historic space is often changing. The latest transformation is taking place inside Vanderbilt Hall, where the Great Northern Food Hall is set to open soon—possibly later this month. Run by Claus Meyer (the cofounder of Noma in Copenhagen), the new food court will serve Nordic cuisine under the station’s gold-plated halo chandeliers. Diners can grab a coffee, salad, or baked good to go, or sit at a table and try a smorrebrod, a traditional open-faced Danish sandwich. (Grand Central Station, 89 East 42nd St.)
Over the past few years, a variety of food businesses have opened small storefronts inside Industry City, an up-and-coming district in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Consisting of 17 warehouses, the IC has created a community that welcomes start-ups, small manufacturing businesses, and commercial kitchens. This 4,000 square-foot food hall is primarily aimed at IC businesses, but it’s a great place for any Brooklyner to grab a bite from Blue Marble Ice Cream, Table 87 Pizza, and other local food vendors. (220 36th St.)
Dodge the underground dining options at Penn Station and go straight for this high-end food hall, located next to Madison Square Garden. With floor-to-ceiling windows and ample stool seating, this new space is not only a great happy hour commuter hangout, but also home to high-quality cuisine. The five vendors here are all NYC food stars: Chef Franklin Becker of Little Beet delivers his signature bowl filled with beets, quinoa, and chicken; the award-winning The Cinnamon Snail has vegan specialties like a seitan burger grilled in maple bourbon barbeque sauce; butcher extraordinaire Pat LaFrieda serves made-to-order meatball subs; Chef Marc Forgione serves the kinds of lobster dishes that fans fell in love with at his eponymous restaurant; and Mary Giuliana has partnered with Mario Batali to make soups and sandwiches, like a truffle honey grilled cheese. (2 Pennsylvania Plaza)
The first of its kind in Hell’s Kitchen, this “day and night market” is home to food vendors known throughout NYC like Blue Bottle Coffee, Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, and Ample Hills Creamery. It also offers a unique feature that you won’t find in other food courts: diners can reserve communal tables that seat up to 40 people. But it’s the 8,000 square-foot private event space called the Club Room that really separates this food hall from the competition. The space, which has both a test kitchen and lounge area, can be rented for cooking classes, wine and beer tastings, or any kind of celebration. (600 11th Ave.)