Grand Central is fast becoming a delicious destination. Apart from the grandeur of the building, the terminal has generally been about transiting to and from other places. But now there are a lot more reasons to linger. Vanderbilt Hall on the 42nd street side will soon be transformed into a Nordic Food Court, magically installed so as not to touch the heritage protected walls or penetrate the floors. The court’s more formal connection to the gastronomic mecca that is NOMA in Denmark will open next door in the old smoking room, and chip in for the $1.8M yearly rent bill. But at the other end of the Terminal on the corner of Vanderbilt and 45th Street, another new foodery is already buzzing with pizza and pretzels and New York familiarity.
Urbanspace is more like a market than a food hall, with that raw appeal of goodies about to be discovered. Dough donuts were a welcome sight, and there seems to be no stopping Toby’s Coffee from Australia. Many of the stalls were retro inspired, serving lobster rolls from Maine, fried chicken or pulled pork with bacon and honey. But the best of the show by far was Sigmunds. Just over four years ago I discovered their small bakery in the East Village making pretzels with interesting combinations like feta and olive, and cinnamon and raisin. A lot has happened since then, and those innovative German bakers have been busy. I feel some pride in seeing their success, now with a bar downtown and outlets all over the city. But at this particular spot, with friendly and impeccable service, the thing to have is the Reuben, made with corn beef, cheese, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and a pretzel bun. And a German wheat beer – of course!