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2023 Is the Year of the Food Court Tasting Menu

Plus, the original Mighty Quinn’s closes after 10 years — and more intel

A pink bar seen from the end with nearly every seat occupied.
Vendors in Olly Olly Market and other Manhattan food halls are serving tasting menus from their stalls.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Food halls might not scream fine dining, with their fluorescent overhead lights and vacant open-air layouts. But a handful of vendors across the city have started to serve elaborate, multi-course tasting menus from food court countertops, sometimes with wine pairings and luxe add-ons. The first in the wave was Dirty Taco, a taqueria with an impressive lineup of meats based in the cellars of Grand Central. Last fall, the stall hosted a taco omakase from the station’s underground food court in the style of famed Mexico City restaurant Pujol. Ddobar, a Korean counter in Chelsea’s new Olly Olly Market, followed up in March with a 13-course menu that includes scallop with brown butter and duck pastrami. (The spread, from the chef behind Michelin-starred Korean restaurant Joomak Banjum, costs $75, with the option to add a spicy chicken galbi course for another $20.) The latest in the trend is Ploo, a Mexican restaurant from two Per Se alums that’s based in the same market. It’s serving a five-course menu with wine and michelada pairings every Friday night.

The original Mighty Quinn’s closes after 10 years

It’s the end of an era for Mighty Quinn’s. The franchised barbecue chain, which started as a stand at Smorgasburg more than a decade ago, has closed its original Manhattan storefront at 103 Second Avenue, near East Sixth Street. Founders Micha Magid, Hugh Mangum, and Christos Gourmos announced the closure in a post on Facebook: “While we wish to have been able to just keep our first restaurant in the system forever, many realities have made that path impractical,” they wrote. The last day was April 9.

A popular Chinatown bakery is closing for now

It’s the last week on Ludlow Street for Mel, the Chinatown bakery with unusual hours and a devotion to heirloom grains. Nora Allen announced on Instagram this weekend that the business will be closing at its current location after service on April 9 and moving to a new address in the city, although there’s no word on where or when. “As things go in the city, buildings sell, and the wave of change never slows,” the caption reads. The bakery opened in 2020, finding fans with its breads and pastries made from house-milled grains.

What’s happening at Manhattan mainstay Shun Lee?

The New York Times went deep on a situation unfolding at Shun Lee, a trio of Chinese restaurants in Manhattan with a decades-long following. Earlier this year, a Chinese restaurant from different owners opened on the Upper West Side, where Shun Lee also has a location — using the same name. The owners of Shun Lee 98th Street, which has been labeled an imposter online, have a licensing agreement that grants them the legal right to use the name, but it’s not enough to satisfy fans of the original, according to the Times.