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The Biggest Food Stories in New York in 2023

Readers responded to restaurant openings, industry drama, and Michelin stars

Two diners sit at a table dissecting a massive whole lobster adorned with pasta in an orange sauce.
When Bad Roman opened in February, Eater called it the “most unhinged Italian restaurant” of the year.
Lanna Apisukh/Eater NY

Every December, we look back at Eater’s most-read stories — a minor attempt to make sense of the past year. More often, we’re left scratching our heads: Did four new food halls really open in Manhattan this year? Yes, and so did restaurants selling $29 hot dogs, salty granita, and onigirazu.

At the start of 2023, there was no Bad Roman — and before you get nostalgic, no new Superiority Burger, either. Dave Portnoy wasn’t throwing pizza festivals, and Salt Bae’s burger shop, the worst restaurant in town, was still open in Manhattan. Croissants have always been weird, but they appeared in new shapes and sizes this year. So did Singaporean street foods, a specialty of the Urban Hawker food court. In ascending order, these are the 10 most-read food stories of 2023.

A red room where a man sits at a banquette along the wall.
Michael Imperioli now has a cocktail bar on the Upper West Side.

10. ‘Sopranos’ and ‘White Lotus’ Actor Michael Imperioli Opens a Manhattan Bar

What do you get when put The Sopranos, The White Lotus, and $24 cocktails in the same room? One of the city’s most popular bar openings of the year. Michael Imperioli, a star in both of those shows, opened Scarlet, a restaurant and cocktail lounge, in December with his wife, Victoria Imperioli. Curiously, Imperioli doesn’t drink himself, but a spokesperson for the celebrity says he “loves bar culture.”

The dining room for Maialino (vicino).
Marta and Maialino (vicino) closed in August after the Redbury Hotel announced it would house asylum seekers.
Giada Paoloni/Maialino (vicino)

9. Two Danny Meyer Restaurants Will Close in Late August

One of the biggest stories of this year was the influx of asylum seekers from Latin America, the Caribbean, and other regions. In August, two restaurants from Danny Meyer ended up in the crossfire. The Redbury Hotel, a Manhattan landmark home to Marta and Maialino (vicino), closed on August 25, after the building announced it would house asylum seekers.

Chickens pale and browned hang in a line from hooks.
Hainan Jones is one of the most popular stalls at the Urban Hawker food hall.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

8. What to Eat at Midtown’s New Singaporean Food Hall

In 2023, the food halls kept coming. We wrote about a new market in Chelsea with scallion pancake burritos, a food hall backed by the James Beard Foundation, and a longtime food court in Flushing, Queens. The one our readers cared about most? The opening of Urban Hawker, a Singaporean food hall with a connection to Anthony Bourdain. It opened last year, but readers continued to turn to our critic’s ranking of the top dozen dishes in the food hall, from Hainan chicken to stingray fried rice.

The dining room at Bad Roman.
A stone statue of a wild boar greets you upon entry.
Lanna Apisukh/Eater NY

7. Welcome to the Year’s Most Unhinged Italian Restaurant So Far

Whatever it was that restaurants bottled up during the pandemic, they let out all at once. Disco balls showed up on dining room ceilings. Bathrooms were turned into small karaoke rooms. And everywhere you looked, there was a party. No restaurant leaned into the vibe quite like Bad Roman, the drop-out cousin of Don Angie that influencers loved. The Italian restaurant served ’roni cups and lemon-shaped cheesecakes, with animal statues in its dining room and a small waterfall in the bathroom.

A hand grabs for a sandwich overflowing with greens and tofu skin.
The yuba verde sandwich at Superiority Burger.

6. Everything to Know About the New Superiority Burger

If you didn’t know Superiority Burger at the start of the year, you surely do now. Eater NY’s best new restaurant of 2023 opened to unparalleled buzz in April. Customers waited in hours-long lines for for burgers, burnt broccoli salads, and more likely, an answer to the question on everyone’s mind: Was the new joint as good as the original? Eater’s critic was there on opening day with a dozen takeaways. He called its vegetarian burger “near perfect” and spent the most words discussing the restaurant’s retro soundtrack.

Annual Charity Day Hosted by BGC Group and The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund
Dave Portnoy threw a rainy pizza festival.
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

5. Pizzerias Get Called Out Over Dave Portnoy Food Festival

If you were lucky, you missed that Dave Portnoy threw a food festival this year. The controversial founder of Barstools Sports rounded up the city’s top pizzerias, including Di Fara, Lucali, and John’s of Bleecker Street, and had them serve slices in the pouring rain. Ahead of the festival, a writer called on pizzerias to drop out of the festival over Portnoy’s past, which includes accusations of sexual harassment and misogynistic comments.

A bunch of browned croissants in a heap.
Croissants from Paris Baguette in Forest Hills.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

4. What’s the Best Croissant in New York? We Tried 25 to Find Out

Croissants made headlines this year with strange shapes and preparations, more than ever before. On the request of a reader, Eater’s critic tried more than two dozen of them to find the city’s best. What he learned: Paris Baguette makes a better croissant than you’d think, and the lines at L’Appartement 4F are way too long. The pastry that took home the top spot: a crisp, caramelized croissant at Alf Bakery in the basement of the Chelsea Market food hall.

Halibut with fermented squash soup and foie gras
Atomix took home two Michelin stars in November.
Louise Palmberg/Eater NY

3. Michelin Announces 2023 Stars for New York

It was another uneventful year for the Michelin Guide, with few upsets or notable movements in New York. The biggest news out of the November ceremony was the upgrade of two Japanese spots from one to two Michelin stars: Sushi Noz, on the Upper East Side, and Odo, in Flatiron. The top restaurants did not change, with four three-Michelin-star winners, including Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, Masa, and Per Se.

The exterior of Peck’s on Myrtle Avenue.
Peck’s made headlines after a manager sent a sarcastic response to a job applicant.
Google Maps

2. Brooklyn Cafe Goes Viral for Rude Response to Job Applicant

Our list of most-read stories has at least one moment of niche local drama. This year’s took place at Peck’s, a coffee shop in Clinton Hill. The cafe’s manager, Kyle Dollinger, made headlines for his response to a job applicant inquiring about a salary. “Great intro,” Dollinger said. “That’s sarcasm.” A screenshot of the exchange has more than 500,000 views online.

Salt Bae, standing over a grill, wielding a tomahawk steak.
Salt Bae before his burger shop closed.
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater NY

1. The ‘Worst Restaurant in New York City’ Has Closed

Finally, some good news. Nusret Gökçe, the salt-sprinkling steak slicer known online as Salt Bae, closed his Manhattan burger shop in June. When it opened in 2020, the restaurant made headlines with its unusual menu that had $99 milkshakes made with gold leaf and a meatless “ladies burger” that was free for female customers. It was the first restaurant closing in years that New Yorkers celebrated with gusto.