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NYC

Feature

Hannah Albertine
March 5, 2021
NYC’s Newest Pop-Ups
Filipino-Hawaiian five-course dinners, Yemenite pull-apart rolls delivered right to your door, and pizza from a 5th floor apartment in Crown Heights.

New pop-ups are sort of like pigeons - they’re all around us. But instead of feeding them Wonderbread or asking them to kindly move from the bench you’re sitting on, all you have to do is eat and enjoy. Here are the latest pop-up projects to have opened in NYC.

Pop-ups we added this week: Mama Guava at Red Paper Clip, Nudibranch at Nightmarket, Parchment Brooklyn, Mr. Lee’s at The Good Fork, Pies Upstairs, and a Texas disaster relief fundraiser at Yellow Rose.


Red Paper Clip has been hosting different chefs at their space in the West Village for the past couple of weekends. This Sunday, March 7th, there’s a five-course in-person dinner via a Filipino-Hawaiian pop-up project called Mama Guava, including poke, lumpia, and green curry with lechon. Mama Guava is run by chef Monique Cadavon, who grew up in Kalihi, Hawaii, and then worked in fine dining in NYC. You can buy tickets for the $75 indoor or outdoor dinner event here, and be sure to follow Mama Guava on Instagram to stay in the loop about their various pop-up and private catering specials around the city.

It’s possible that by now you can no longer get excited about any more delivered brown boxes - but Parchment will change that. This Park Slope-based Israeli project is run by a chef (Erez Blanks) who previously worked at restaurants like Nur and Lamalo. Each of the three weekly delivery boxes comes with a different bread (challah, fresh pita, and kubaneh - an excellent, savory Yemenite pull-apart roll) as well as salads, sides, and dips like Iraqi mixed pickles, freekeh tabbouleh salad, and squash dip with Aleppo chili and preserved lime. Parchment delivers all over Brooklyn and into Manhattan below 20th Street - place your order ahead of time here.

If you’re looking for a special (indoor) date-night idea that’s never existed before, get to know Nudibranch - an upscale tasting menu pop-up at Nightmarket in the East Village started by two former Momofuku Ssäm Bar staffers (Jeff Kim and Victor Xia). Nudibranch’s rotating menu incorporates a variety of cuisine inspirations, like whole snapper with oyster mushrooms, soba noodles with bottarga, and a tostada with pineapple-cured hamachi. You can make an indoor dining reservation for Nudibranch’s six-course $65 tasting menu here. For now, they’re open Thursday through Sunday with two seatings per night until the end of March.

Back in January, a chef who used to work at Mayfield in Crown Heights and Gramercy Tavern started a project called Pies Upstairs, selling 10-inch pizzas out of the fifth floor of a Crown Heights apartment building. There’s a limit of eight pies available for pickup every Thursday and Friday night, including options for a white and a red pie with additional toppings offered (as well as homemade cream soda, which we’re perhaps equally excited about). Pies Upstairs takes orders via DM and on a first-come, first-served basis. We’d recommend following their Instagram page so you don’t miss your window for charred, pillowy personal pizzas.

After closing down during summer 2020, The Good Fork in Red Hook just reopened as a pop-up project called Mr. Lee’s by one of the restaurant’s former team members, Leland Yu. Until early May, Leland will be serving a menu of Chinese and Chinese-American dishes like bang bang chicken salad with fried wonton strips, pork buns, pea shoots with XO sauce, and a ginger panna cotta. You can check out the Mr. Lee’s pop-up every Thursday-Sunday between 5-9:30pm, and place your order online ahead of time here.

One of our favorite new restaurants, Yellow Rose, is hosting a collaborative burger and pie pop-up on Sunday, March 7th to raise money for Sueños Sin Fronteras and Trinity Mutual Aid - two nonprofits providing disaster relief in Texas right now. In addition to Yellow Rose’s burgers and pies, the Hunky Dory team will be on drink duty, Dame is serving spicy shrimp salad, and a baker who grew up in Houston (Zoë Kanan) is making buttermilk pie.

There’s a new Mexican restaurant operating out of the now-closed Bacchus kitchen in Boerum Hill. The Brooklyn Paper reports that the project, El Zason, is run by a couple of the restaurant’s staff, who were looking for new employment opportunities after Bacchus shut down in November. You can check out their menu of specialties, like nopal asado, cochinito chiapaneco, and mole poblano, for takeout, delivery, and limited indoor dining here.

We all could really use a big bowl of soup during the existential pop-up series called 2021′s Never-Ending NYC Winter. (We made that up. It’s not a pop-up, it’s real life). If you’re in the business of steaming vats of liquid, get to know a brand new project, Soup Shop. Every week, chefs from Brooklyn or Queens restaurants will offer a couple of different soup and bread combos for preorder, all available for Thursday night pick-ups at designated neighborhood wine stores. The first installment on February 18th involves Caroline Fidanza from Marlow & Sons, but future soups are in the works from restaurants like Adda, Tanoeen, and For All Things Good. Read more about the project on Eater, and find details on preordering your soup here.

Perhaps we can interest you in another ideal comfort food this winter: lasagna. The chef and owner of Brucie, a beloved Italian-American restaurant in Cobble Hill that closed in 2016, is now running a weekly pop-up called Za Za out of Shelsky’s Brooklyn Bagels. The menu changes every week, but there are always options for a couple of different seasonal lasagnas that come in massive portions, as well as garlic bread, dessert, and more. Check out this past week’s menu here, and keep an eye out for preordering for the next pick up at Shelsky’s on Fridays.

The latest installment of Wildair’s Mexican pop-up series, The Güeros, is serving food at Winner in Park Slope every day this week until Saturday, February 20th. For $17, you’ll get a chicken milanesa torta made on bread from Winner’s bakery, as well as esquites with avocado leaf broth, herb mayo, chili powder, and a shower of cotija cheese. If you’re currently thinking, “I want all of that and more,” know that there are also tamales available for individual purchase. Email your order to info@winner.nyc with your desired pick-up time between 5-7pm.

Winner

Hunky Dory in Crown Heights is celebrating the start of the year of the Ox with a special takeout series this month. Their second event features chef Hannah Wong of Haema BK (Hannah helped opened Vietnamese restaurant Van Da and has previously worked in kitchens like Gramercy Tavern) who will be serving longevity noodles, a citrus salad, fried rice with roasted duck and octopus, and a salted coconut mung bean cake. You can preorder for pickup on February 20th and 21st here.

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A chance to eat Louisiana-inspired food in our primarily Louisiana-less city: The chef de cuisine at Chez Ma Tante (Spencer Bennett) will be cooking Cajun-Mediterranean influenced dishes in collaboration with Sami & Susu. If you’re currently wondering what such a dreamy combo looks like, think chicken boudin hand pies, lobster roll pitas, and grillades over grits. You can place you order for delivery Wednesday through Sunday here (they deliver anywhere in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens) or schedule a ticketed outdoor diner at The Ten Bells’ heated patio on the LES.

Ursula, a New Mexican cafe that opened in Crown Heights in September 2020, is giving NYC’s queer community something to celebrate with a new pop-up series. We wrote everything you need to know about it in this feature here.

After indoor dining service closed down in December, Estela on Houston Street did too. But now they’re offering a new outdoor skewer extravaganza called Up In Smoke, which involves selling barbecued dishes like chicken wing yakitori, head-on shrimp, and steak with potato chips and taleggio. Estela will have outdoor dining on a first-come, first-served basis, as well as takeout and delivery service available. Up In Smoke runs on weekends from 1-4pm, starting Saturday, January, 30th to the end of February.

Up In Smoke

Another new pop-up we’re excited about is the Asian Street Food Chef’s Collab Series, a project featuring the chefs at Golden Diner, Saigon Social, Fat Choy, and Hirohisa. Each week, Golden Diner will collaborate with a different chef on a $60 menu available for outdoor dining or takeout. You can buy tickets for the three pop-up weekends (happening January 29th and 30th, February 12th and 13th, and February 26th and 27th) here.

For all those wishing they could temporarily move somewhere like Miami (without actually doing so, because it’s a pandemic and Florida is...Florida), check out the Garret Nolita’s new tropical pop-up. Until March 31st, they’ll be serving a bunch of rum and tequila cocktails, mezcal flights, and snacks like nachos and tacos. Make a reservation and find out more information about their heated outdoor set-up here.

Dame in the West Village is kind of like a chic hotel for pop-ups, meaning there’s always something new happening there and it looks really nice on Instagram. Right now they’re running a bagel pop-up on Sundays with everything bagels from Leo in Williamsburg (which qualify for any best new bagel list you may mentally keep). You can pre-order your bagel sandwiches with whitefish salad or cured salmon and whipped caper cream cheese here. Also, after temporarily occupying a space in the West Village this summer and fall, Dame is moving to a permanent location on Macdougal Street (right next door to where they are now).

Eastern European cafe and bakery, Agi’s Cafe, is running a pop-up out of Vinegar Hill House with chicken paprikash, golden beet borscht with spaetzle, walnut spelt cake, and a couple of sides. You can place your order for takeout and delivery on Thursdays and Fridays, starting January 14th. Agi’s is currently set to open a full-time space in Brooklyn sometime in 2021.

L’itos, one of our favorite new restaurants, is hosting a few new collaborations this month, like pizza night on January 16th and a takeout party on January 31st with katsu curry sandwiches, fries, a play on the McRib, and sake. Follow along their Instagram here to stay updated.

Fat Choy is another one of our favorite new restaurants that opened in 2020, which is why we feel it’s important to let you know they’re now serving breakfast during the week with vegan dishes like rice and daikon hashbrowns, seasonal congee, and black sesame donut with pandan dipping sauce. They open at 8am Monday through Friday, and you can place your order online here.

Contra just launched a new menu for takeout and delivery with dishes like spicy beef noodle soup and black sesame and caramel ice cream sandwiches. It’s available Tuesday through Sunday from 5pm to 9:30pm, and you can place your order here.

A new pop-up called The Blue Light Speak Cheesy is serving breakfast sandwiches every Sunday at Getaway in Greenpoint. You have to pre-order online, pay using Venmo, and pick up orders at a scheduled time to maintain social-distancing. If you can’t make it on a given Sunday, The Blue Light pop-up also serves double-decker breakfast tacos on Tuesdays and breakfast burritos on Thursdays.

If you’re looking to sneak away from your computer on a random Thursday, know that Charlie Bird started a new aperitivo hour from 5-6pm where you can get $10 sparkling drinks.

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