Chef Harold Moore is ditching the Southern component of his namesake restaurant Harold’s Meat + Three to focus on healthier, seasonal fare found at the typical American bistro — a change he hopes will better fit the New York diner’s appetite.
The restaurant inside the Arlo Hotel at 2 Renwick St. opened in 2016 as an upscale version of Southern-style, small-town cafeterias that offer a choice of meat accompanied by three generous sides, hence the name. Moore’s iteration was less casual and came with higher prices.
But starting October 1, Harold’s will drop the “meat and three” format altogether. The re-tooled venue will offer a wide-ranging, all-day menu focused on lighter fare, including soups, salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, pasta, and an assortment of “protein-forward entrees,” Moore tells Eater.
“We wanted to shift gears a bit because we noticed during lunch people would gravitate toward a quinoa salad or the local produce,” says Moore, who also owns Bistro Pierre Lapin, a French all-day cafe in the West Village. Because of the restaurant’s location just north of Canal Street in a non-neighborhood stretch near the Holland Tunnel, his daily clientele consists of people who live or work in the area. Sales began dwindling last year, especially near the holidays, he says.
Moore began backing off the heavy Southern cuisine, deciding that the average New Yorker doesn’t want to eat fried chicken twice a week. He instead turned to options like grilled chicken wings or salads. Beer-can chicken and ham steak have been replaced by ricotta gnocchi and quinoa salads.
“People seemed to like it, so we’re moving the restaurant more in that direction,” he tells Eater, adding that the new breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus are more “in line with what people are looking for in that neighborhood today.”
Some Southern favorites were able to hold their ground, though: Fried chicken served with cole slaw, mac & cheese, and the Nashville-style hot chicken sandwich will remain on the table. The hot dog du jour will also stay, featuring a different variation each week day.
At the rebranded Harold’s, the breakfast menu will include several egg dishes like omelets and fricassee, and of course, an avocado toast. For lunch, protein and vegetable bowls are offered. Entrees include roasted chicken with potato puree and salmon served with herb butter sauce, and sea bass is added for dinner.
And an all-American wine menu with natural and biodynamic options is also new, as well as a seasonal cocktail menu. Check out the new menus below.
Moore is best known for his restaurant Commerce, which closed in 2015 following a long legal struggle with the landlord. The West Village restaurant opened in 2008 and quickly became a neighborhood favorite for its fresh pastas, a monster pork chop, and one of New York’s very best chickens for two. Harold’s Meat + Three came after the closure.
The chef was also recently involved with Greenwich Grille, an American restaurant that closed its West Village location in January, less than two months after opening. He had been brought in to revamp the menu of the place it replaced, 33 Greenwich, a Southern restaurant that had a six month lifespan.
His latest development at Harold’s isn’t a closure — but a change-up that he hopes will allow the restaurant to thrive. The new version of Harold’s opens on Monday.