Hello! Welcome to the first day of the $25 billion mega development called Hudson Yards. After years of anticipation, it’s finally ready to open to the public today — and for restaurant fanatics, it’s a big deal, albeit one that’s had a lot of critics. The Shops at Hudson Yards, a seven-story mall with lots of shopping and restaurants, will be the place to look. Eater staffers are on-site with observations and first impressions of the space and food today, including senior editor Stefanie Tuder and critics Ryan Sutton and Robert Sietsema. Reporter and Instagrammer extraordinaire Carla Vianna will be doing stories on the Eater NY Instagram, too. Note: They’re mostly focusing on take-out food so that they can keep on rolling. Keep refreshing for more to follow along, and check out this guide for more details on what to expect. Formal reviews will come later, after everyone’s had a little more time to settle into the space. — Serena Dai, editor
7:04: Okay folks, it’s been more than hour since they’ve ordered food and no signs of it yet. We’re closing out this blog for the day. Stay tuned next week for more thoughts. It’s been a day!! Check out pics from the day from our pro photographer Alex Staniloff here. — Serena
6:45: We still haven’t gotten our food; Bar Celona is kind of chaotic. Lots of signs around the market say “We are in training,” and staff are running around the place. No food seems to be coming out, but the people here seem to be having a grand ol’ time with just drinks. — Carla
6:29: Correction: There IS chocolate but no one seems to be ordering it!!! — Carla
6:27: Now, they’re cutting some free ham for the masses. But the churros stand, though up and running, looks like its selling the plain without the chocolate for dipping :(— Carla
6:08: We are in, more than an hour later. Bar Celona is popping. — Carla
6:01: We’re almost in! We should be the next batch. Lol at this sign. — Carla
5:47: They’re now giving out fans and saying everyone will get churros. — Ryan
5:26: We’re now on a new line outside. They stopped letting people in from the upstairs line, apparently. We waited about 30 minutes upstairs, and now that we’re downstairs, they said the wait is about 30 to 45 more. — Ryan
5:15: We’re on the first floor, waiting to go through the mall entrance down to Mercado Little Spain. There’s a group of young guys behind us that were researching what Spain’s national drink is. Other people have come up to us asking what we’re in line for; two of them hadn’t heard of the market. The line’s not really moving anymore. — Carla
We were by the entrance around 4:35, and there was no one here. Then we used the restrooms and came back at like 4:50, and the line was absolutely epic (and still is). Literally there was not a single person in line before. — Ryan
5:08: The line for Mercado Little Spain is long, but we’re moving now. — Carla
4:52: I’m waiting for the bus to go home now. It was a really bad mall. It was pay your money and get out, really no different than a mall in Houston — same marble, same stores. Even if you buy something in the Bouchon bakery, you can’t eat it. Those places must be targeted to people in the complex who can eat back at their lonely little desks. It’s worse than I thought. There’s no place to sit, to congregate, for speed-walking seniors or for skateboard-riding teens. There’s nothing there for anybody unless they’re rich, to drop a lot of money and then get the hell out.
I thought the best thing was Chang’s little grocery store. At least it had a sense of humor. We had this thing… it was rice in this bean stew. Ryan bought it. It was really excellent. There were a couple of duds too. They had a ham sandwich just like Queensyard’s $12 one, but for $8. That wasn’t too bad a deal.
I’ve lived in Dallas, and that mall is pure Dallas. I guess that’s why Neiman Marcus is the anchor. I’m curious to try the other restaurants, though. They could be fine. — Robert
4:48: The bathroom paper towel situation is very, how shall I put this, “Penn Station.” — Ryan
4:36: We got Kith ice cream. It was... $10 for one. A machine made it. Then we began eating it at the counter inside the Kith parlor, and they kicked us out. It’s supposed to be grab and go... or we’re not cool enough looking. The cereal one reminded me of Milk Bar and made my stomach hurt. — Carla
We waited on line for nearly 18 minutes at Kith Treats, the snack component of the Snark Park Instagram museum that charges like $28 for people to look at a bunch of monochromatic stuff for 45 minutes. Everyone really wants to be here, it seems.
The people in front of us were very excited, dressed in the type of cute outfits that suggested when they woke up this morning, there was just a single thing they had planned for the day, and that thing was being here, whatever this is. Multiple people took selfies as they waited in line.
I ask a Snark Park staffer in a white Snark Park jumpsuit why I’m waiting in line, and he goes to confer with someone else, then informs me I’m waiting in line for a selection of ice creams mixed with cereal. Cool.
We go up to order and the menu displays neither ice cream flavors nor prices. Carla placed the order: soft serve blended with Rice Krispies treats, and then another with crushed Oreos. These two single-serving cups cost $22 with a $1 tip. They taste like any other vanilla soft serve blends, sold for half the price or less, anywhere else in the country. It is profoundly mediocre soft serve.
As I’m eating by the counter a staffer tells us we need to leave because you can’t actually eat the ice cream at this ice cream store. So we stand by the escalators. Honestly f-ck this place lolz! — Ryan
4:01: A Snark Park employee informs us: “If you have Instagram, it’s very aesthetically pleasing.” Here’s a menu. — Carla
3:57: Here at Eater HQ, I’ve asked Sutton to check out Kith Treats at a thing called Snark Park. It’s an ice cream and cereal bar in some sort of interactive exhibit. Love to ask a James Beard Award-winning restaurant critic to eat fashion cereal. — Serena
3:51: Forgive me, this isn’t totally food related, but I have some questions about this photo:
Why does this guy have a tux on while drinking his morning coffee? It’s not like he came back from an all-night bender, because his clothes are freshly pressed. — Ryan
3:32: There’s actually a group of teen boys playing hacky sack at the foot of the vessel. I wonder if Related paid them. — Stefanie
3:22: Peach Mart isn’t too crowded now, and it’s pretty good. Asian grocery stores, whether supermarkets or convenience stores, have been part of the New York experience for decades (I think the first H Mart opened in 1982). It’s of course precisely the type of place that would be a nice addition to street level, where it would function like a useful late-night bodega, rather than an ironic venue for rich people to buy Advil and hand sanitizer and condoms after spending a lot of money at Neiman Marcus or Kāwi or wherever.
The black sesame sandwich here, incidentally, is quite good: peanut butter and cream cheese and citron jam on crustless white bread. Rich and soft and aromatic. Also super solid is the spicy stew of red beans over rice, exactly the type of thing you’d want to pick up on the way home from work as a cheap snack. It’s also exactly the type of thing you wouldn’t want to walk up four floors to get. The physical inaccessibility of everything from street level really is a huge deal. They truly designed this place to be confusing and labyrinthine like, apologies, a Vegas casino.
Also, you’ll love this re: Milos. The menu they place outside for people to look at is stripped of all prices. I’ve never seen that before, ever. If you ask a host standing nearby for a menu with prices, they hand you one. — Ryan
3:17: Just got an email from the Mercado Little Spain people. They’re now opening at 5 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. today. Bravas and Churros will be open. — Serena
3:14: I’ve never spent this much time in a mall. Even as a tween in Jersey. — Stefanie
3:08: This is us eating a ton of Peach Mart food on a trash can, a literal, expletive-omitted trash can, because there are no places to sit in this area and because there aren’t even any regular standing tables. (To be fair and accurate, there are four sit-down tables just inside Neiman Marcus, where folks are eating Bouchon.) Other folks are eating on the trash bins, too.
It says something about a mall if they don’t want people ordering the cheapest foods to sit down and relax. They prefer them to walk around and the buy unaffordable stuff. Right next to Peach Mart, where they sell $5 black sesame sandwiches and condoms, there’s a store called Forty Five Ten hawking button-down shirts for women for over $900. — Ryan
2:54: Ryan just bought a bunch of snacks at Peach Mart, and we’re looking around for a place to eat it. And damn it, there’s not a single place to sit down. Ditto with Bouchon Bakery, it’s buy and get the hell out. Even Time Warner Center has seats to consume your purchases. There’s really no difference between Hudson Yards and a modern mall in, say, Houston, except a determination on the part of the developers to make sure you don’t get any comfort. No power-walking seniors or skateboarding kids. Carla and Ryan are eating their purchases on an effin trash can. — Robert
2:46: At Fuku, there are a bunch of new items, including a vada pav — a crispy potato cake with fried garlic, pickle, and scallion sauce on a Kings Hawaiian roll, a take on an Indian street food. It’s really good!!!!!! — Stefanie
2:43: They’re not letting us pay at Belcampo because the wait was so long (and also likely because there was little or no air conditioning). We tipped the full amount of the voided check.
Further notes: Duck confit poutine is damn good. Nicely pan-crisped meat, and fries that still boast a firm texture despite glistening with demi-glace. Things get wonderfully softer and appropriately soggier toward the bottom of the fry bowl.
One-hundred-day dry-aged burger ($28) tasted literally like any other middle-of-the-road $18 burger one could find elsewhere. Didn’t show any signs of tang, with the soft, loose crumble one expects. Had a firm, almost spongy texture. A sell for now. — Ryan
The burger was steep at $28 and needed salt, but the aged beef was good and juicy. Poutine duck was duck jerky in a duck demi-glace, fries only so-so. The cheese curds had no curdy at all. — Robert
2:24: Across the hallway is a cocktail bar called the Drug Store that’s not serving booze right now because it’s still waiting for a liquor license. It’s just mocktails like a yuzu swizzle, which has strawberry mash, yuzu, basil, mint, and club soda. Drink brand Dirty Lemon is behind it. The idea is that they’ll bottle stuff based on what people order at the bar. They think mixologists are driving trends so want to tap into that. — Stefanie
2:20: Upscale grocer Citeralla is hopping. It’s probably the easiest, fastest place to get healthy food on the go in this mall. And it’s one of the only places that has seating outside, meaning you’re sitting in the actual mall to eat. — Stefanie
2:17: Lunch crowds around here were clearly thirsty. Chang’s chicken chain, Fuku, located on the second floor, also has a line.
Belcampo’s opening day is having some service hiccups. They are now offering to cover food because of the wait. — Carla
2:12: The Belcampo charcuterie plate thoughts are in.
Charcuterie is delicious, especially the culatello. Be we haven’t gotten another dish in nearly an hour. We’re starving! Belcampo is at least clearing out. Arrive now if you can, my friends.— Robert
This physical space honestly has all the charm of an airport Buffalo Wild Wings. Like, I’m not sure you can get deeper in the mall than this windowless space. But no one seems to mind; it’s as packed as an after-work haunt for locals. The move here is to hang out at the bar and do a charcuterie platter for $18… custom cured culatello and other meats, appropriately served at room temp and boasting a clean funk. — Ryan
2:04: Shake Shack still has a line, even after prime lunch time. Diner Liz Batista says that she’s waiting for it because it’s a known entity. “I don’t know Jack’s [Stir Brew, across, the hall], and you always go to the places that have the most lines,” she says.
“I love Shake Shack,” says Juan Perez, also in line. “I work nearby; it’s close and convenient. I do want to try new places, but at this moment, Shake Shack is good.”
Meanwhile, local Nick Flatto is going to just come back later for food. “We’ll be back when it’s less crowded,” he says. “We live close enough that it’s not worth fighting the crowds. We wanted to come to explore architecture and stuff.” — Stefanie
Service at Belcampo is slow, as is typical for first day. (The server warned us.) Food’s still not out, but a charcuterie plate ($18) has landed. — Carla and Robert
1:34: Mercado Little Spain isn’t opening until 4, but editor of sister site Curbed NY, Amy Plitt, says that José Andrés is already there. Apparently he was close to the top of Vessel around 11:45 a.m. — Serena
1:22: Belcampo is still packed. Owner Anya Fernald is on-site, overseeing the whole thing. “I am really excited about the turnout. It feels like it’s bumping, the energy is great,” she says. “Hourlong wait within 10 minutes of opening, which was a great feeling.” But the AC is broken, and it’s hot in the place. They’re working on it. — Stefanie
1:12: Back on the fifth floor, a line is now wrapped around Chang’s take-out convenience shop, Peach Mart. The Changheads have arrived. — Stefanie
1:11: We’ve managed to procure duck poutine and the 100-day dry-aged burger from Belcampo. There’s also free charcuterie! — Robert
12:59: We’re now waiting for a table at Belcampo. A lot of people are there, with a quoted hour wait time for two people to sit down. There’s a separate to-go line, though. — Carla
12:51: Our first stop was Citarella (second floor). The prices aren’t too out of line here from other high-end grocers; fancy raw coconut water is $6. Rotisserie chickens are $11 to $14. But really, price isn’t the main impediment to access here — it’s the fact that it’s practically hidden in a windowless corner of a mall. There’s something very odd about walking past a Patek shop on the first floor — where a watch costs, like, $150K — en route to buy orange juice on the second floor.
One interesting thing is that Citarella sells pizza, either $7 personal pies or $3 slices. The slices are objectively terrible. Sauce tastes like it was poured out of a Prego jar. Crust is bland. No stretch to the mozz. A real insult to New York slice pizza. — Ryan
12:49: The whole mall feels very Miami to me, super glitzy and a ton of stores/decor that’s meant to feel “lifestyle-y.” Lots of plants and clubby music. I literally feel like I’m in a big mall on Brickell. — Carla
Honestly, it’s sorta low-key here. You can walk into most places. Definitely a well-heeled crowd. — Stefanie
12:41: At Queensyard — the new restaurant from D&D London, behind critically maligned Bluebird — the restaurant part is totally booked. There’s a carry-out section with a few items. This $11 cold sausage roll from Queensyard, soggy on the bottom, was maybe not the kind of food I was dreaming of finding here. It was expensive and not very good. Nor was this $12 ham sandwich. The sausage fell out when I tried to eat it.
The mall itself is really confusing. They make it that way purpose. There are a ton of empty storefronts, really big spaces with a lot of frontage.
But I’m in front of the Shake Shack, which is just mobbed. — Robert
12:29: The food is really a little difficult to find among the glitzy retail establishments, but at least you can get some chocolate if you’re really hungry. — Robert
12:27: On the fifth floor, Milos Wine Bar and Estiatorio Milos have people inside too, though more people are at the downstairs wine bar. In the future, it will be open at 8 a.m. for people to get coffee and Greek yogurt. “We think people who live and work here, this will be their home away from home,” says VP of marketing Noah Weinstein.
Though not too many people are inside Estiatorio yet, the restaurant says it’s fully booked for today. — Stefanie
12:18: Chang is out here Changing, taking photos with fans outside of Kāwi and Peach Mart. They’re both busy. — Stefanie
Over on the second floor, Blue Bottle has people filing in, too. It’s pretty big for a Blue Bottle, with some nice corner seating by the window. — Robert
12:12: Crowds are fully filtering in. Mercado Little Spain isn’t open yet, though. Oh darn! I was hoping for a noontide glass of vermouth. I have to wait till 4 p.m., according to the sign. Please, José, I want a glass of wine. — Robert
12:06: There’s security everywhere, seemingly stopping anybody with professional photography equipment. Isn’t the sidewalk public? — Robert
Otherwise, people have been let inside. David Chang is on-site. — Stefanie
Ninth Avenue has all the warmth of a futuristic SuperMax prison. A largely windowless steel facade, a literal fortress. — Ryan
11:51: Things don’t open until noon, but there are already hundreds of people lining up to get inside. There are bomb dogs on-site. — Stefanie
Giant traffic jam out front. Long lines waiting in front of the Neiman Marcus exterior entrance to get to the observation deck. Ran into Food Baby guy and he complained that there were absolutely no facilities aimed at children inside. I commiserated with him on behalf of my granddaughter and noted that the whole place is a high-chair-free zone. — Robert