A couple of days ago, Times Square got its first permanent food hall, the 4,000 square foot City Kitchen in the Row NYC hotel (formerly the Milford Plaza) at 44th and 8th (diagonally across the street from the Theater District Shake Shack, if that helps you place it). We didn't have anything planned for tonight and we like food halls, so we decided to check it out for dinner.
In the previews of the place, we kept hearing that it would be "massive" and "gigantic" but it really wasn't a huge space. Located on the second floor of the building, there were a few tables in the center and seats at counters along the windows, as well as a small seating area in the hotel lobby/bar area. Definitely not as much seating or space as the nearby Gotham West. Since it was only the second day, it wasn't insanely busy and we didn't have any trouble getting seats around 8 pm. (They close at 9, which seems early for the Times Square area, but maybe that'll change over time).
There are currently 9 vendors at City Kitchen - Gabriela's Taqueria (tacos and rotisserie chicken), Ilili Box (an offshoot of the Flatiron Lebanese restaurant), Whitman's (meat sandwiches and similar stuff), Luke's Lobster (part of the growing Luke's empire), Kuro Obi (a fast casual spinoff of Ippudo), Azuki (sushi), Wooly's (shaved ice that we first tried at the Vendys), Sigmund's Pretzels (an offshoot of the East Village pretzel shop with the cutest cart), and Dough (one of our favorite doughnut spots). Some vendors are permanent but others are apparently seasonal, so there may be some changes in the line-up sometime in the future.
Between the opening of City Kitchen and A finding an article on upcoming food halls the other day, we've had food halls on the brain this week, and it occurred to me that we haven't actually posted about our visits to other food halls on the blog at all. (The only one we've really ever mentioned that we can think of was Food Gallery 32 over 4 years ago.) We have posts on Hudson Eats and Gotham West still languishing in our drafts, and now 3 new spots to review from City Kitchen. Maybe it's time we focus on food halls for a little bit. Hopefully we finish all the posts before Bourdain Market comes to town!