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Hit Harlem Fast-Casual Restaurant Scoops Up Cash to Open at Least Six More Locations

Plus, ElfCon, a family-friendly hot cocoa crawl, arrives in Manhattan — and more intel

A variety of food items from Fieldtrip’s menu, including rice bowls and sides, laid out on a light blue background
Rice bowls and sides from Fieldtrip.
Noah Fecks/Fieldtrip

Chef JJ Johnson is preparing to expand Fieldtrip in a big way. The star restaurateur announced that his mini-chain of fast-casual rice bowl shops had scooped up cash from two investment firms: Founders Table Restaurant Group, which owns Chopt and Dos Toros, and Pendulum, a group that primarily partners with minority- and women-owned businesses, according to Crain’s New York. Fieldtrip did not disclose the total amount of money raised, but it’s reportedly enough to open six to eight additional locations over the next four years, Crain’s reports.

Fieldtrip, which opened with a single location on Harlem’s Lenox Avenue in 2019, has since expanded with stores at the Rockefeller Center and the Jacx office complex in Long Island City. According to Crain’s, Johnson plans to launch a line of packaged sauces for retail sale early next year, followed by the opening of two more locations of Fieldtrip, possibly in Washington Heights and near Columbia University.

King David levels up its breakfast taco carts

Fieldtrip isn’t the only company making moves this week. King David Tacos, purveyor of Austin-style breakfast tacos, has announced it’s teaming up with Blank Street, the now-ubiquitous chain of coffee carts and cafes that launched in Williamsburg last year. As part of the partnership, King David will roll out a new line of breakfast taco carts at Madison Square Garden and Prospect Park, where it already has a presence, as well as at Imagination Playground across from Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport.

SantaCon spawns a family-friendly hot cocoa crawl

SantaCon will return on December 11, and if there’s a New York City to wake up to the following morning, a family-friendly hot cocoa crawl called ElfCon will take place in Manhattan. “Instead of beer, hot cocoa! Instead of drunken and publicly urinating adults, cute little children and their families!” a spokesperson for the event said in an email. ElfCon will kick off at 10 a.m. on Sunday, December 12 in Midtown Manhattan with a list of participating venues to come closer to that date.

A South Korean seafood pop-up makes a splash

After making its debut at Leo earlier this year, Korean pop-up Gangjin will return to the Williamsburg pizzeria on Monday, December 6. From 6 to 10 p.m., chef Daniel Lee, who also manages Japanese fish market Osakana, will serve a seafood-heavy menu — scallop ceviche, monkfish puttanesca — priced around $15 to $20 per dish. Leo will remain partially open during the pop-up; walk-ins only.