Pandemic or no pandemic, New York City creativity never stops. The current climate has motivated chefs and entrepreneurs to put together novel experiences that no novel virus can undermine.
Pop-up Dining Experiences in NYC
You might find them in a literal pop-up setting or within a space formerly or currently inhabited by a well-tuned restaurant. Or perhaps they’ll show up as a pop-up of an entirely different nature.
Here are some tempting options that may soon be as fleeting as Brigadoon. Look at them as “test markets” within the New York City culinary landscape.
Chikarashi Isso’s location in FiDi was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without missing a beat, the team launched a seasonal pop-up on the second-floor outdoor terrace of Hotel 50 Bowery. Inside a Japanese pagoda-inspired structure, Chef Atsushi “ATS” Kono (Yakori Torishin) orchestrates a 13-course kappo-style yakitori omakase at a u-shaped chef’s counter. Book now for dinner only before it disappears at the end of the summer.
Adà Supper Club
Another quick re-trench after the pandemic forced the new Ada Supper Club dining concept to close, Nkem Oghedo launched monthly pop-ups to highlight “interesting, thoughtful and delicious expressions of food” from a rotating roster of black female chefs. The inventive “A Night In” is a completely vegetarian or non-vegetarian supper delivered to your home. To create a full pop-up dining experience, the chef also includes a personal video message, the menu’s playlist, and meal reheating instructions. Check the website for monthly additions to this exciting chef showcase.
If you haven’t heard about micro-kitchens, here’s one you need to try. Andre Olivier is using his home in Flatbush to prepare some of the finest ice creams in town. A self-taught baker and ice cream maker, Olivier is a born-and-raised New Yorker who launched Dre’s Desserts after being furloughed from his job as a construction project manager. Born out of his passion for baking and sweet treats, Dre’s Desserts started as a means for Olivier to earn an independent income while also sharing his love of ice cream. Dubbed the “King of Desserts” by his friends and family from an early age, Oliver views the world through the lens of potential ice cream flavors and then applies his R&D and engineering knowledge as he experiments with and fine-tunes his recipes. Olivier creates a varied menu of handmade ice cream, including vegan and boozy versions, and hand delivers each order in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. The entrepreneur hopes to one day move Dre’s Desserts to a brick-and-mortar location and expand the ice cream delivery service nationwide.
Sandbar on Hudson
Around the corner from the Whitney Museum, High Street on Hudson teamed up with neighbor Brunetti Pizza to introduce an inventive, seasonal seafood pop-up founded on a love for the West Village neighborhood. The joint venture dubbed the “Sandbar on Hudson,” which was designed to help keep the neighborhood upbeat when all hope seemed elusive. Continuing to flourish, the Sandbar features a robust seafood menu sourced from Brooklyn’s Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. To keep the spirits elevated, a playful and seasonal cocktail menu accompanies the signature natural American wine program.
Thaimee Love is a pop-up restaurant in the West Village from Chef Hong Thaimee. Originally from Chiang Mai, Chef Hong serves market-driven Thai comfort food that marries the traditional flavors of her homeland with local ingredients and sauces, spice blends, and tea that she creates. Hong collaborates with Hudson Valley-based Heermance Farm to grow Thai herbs, chilis and produce specifically for the pop-up and provide the freshest poultry, fish, and eggs. Chef Hong also offers a special “Family Secret Recipes” tasting menu every Friday and Saturday, featuring dishes contributed by her loved ones across Thailand, created especially for the pop-up.
twiggy to go
twiggy to go is a pop-up grab-n-go concept in TriBeCa from chef and caterer Mitchel London and his business partner Thomas Mikolasko. London was the former chef at Gracie Mansion during Ed Koch’s mayoral tenure in the ’80s. London and Mikolasko originally planned to open a full-service restaurant until the pandemic hit. Instead, they pivoted and opened twiggy to go, which offers sweet and savory pastries, prepared foods, and London’s signature cakes for carryout and delivery. All creations at twiggy to go are made on-premises daily, with rotating seasonal specialties. Choose a light menu of salads, soups, sandwiches, and tarts, or create a more substantive dinner with a selection of meat, fish, and vegetable mains and sides. Chef specialties include jump lump crab cakes as well baked treats like maple-glazed French crullers. All meals are available for pick-up, or delivery can be arranged with 24 hours advance notice. An outdoor curbside patio is planned for this summer, along with expanded delivery to the Hamptons. The eatery also offers wine, beer, and specialty cocktails to go.