In the 105 years since Grand Central Terminal, or station, transported its first travelers, the iconic transit hub and the streets that surround it have remained among New York City’s busiest footpaths. Only in the wee hours did the Grand Central area fall silent long after the sundown rush. Beyond its nomadic purpose, Grand Central and the streets that surround it have become a thriving culinary endpoint.
Restaurateur Donatella Arapaia chose Grand Central terminal to open her first upscale quick service venture called Prova Pizzabar. “Grand Central Terminal is one of the city’s micro culinary destinations and the streets and avenues within a short walk are lined with great restaurants,” said Arpaia, known for her razor-sharp palate on Iron Chef. “Opening Prova Pizzabar at Grand Central was the perfect location, with an audience eager for a better slice.”
Launching a Grand Central eatery is like the Olympics of restaurant square footage. Arapaia, a first generation Italian, underwent a grueling process of elimination to earn the space. Narrowed down to ten and then three finalists, Arapaia’s pizza prevailed. And yes, Arapaia’s award-winning meatballs are on the menu.
Here are a few Grand Central gems in and around the terminal to try now.
Nothing ruins a commute like feeling too full after grabbing a bite. Maybe that’s why patrons of Prova Pizzabar feel so good. In this bustling pizza revival, the pies contain artisanal grains from Naples, Italy, and involve a long proofing process (prova means proof in Italian). In addition to whole pies at the front counter and the lower concourse 40-seat dining area and bar, guests can also order tiny “love pies” baked to order, which they can personalize. Arapaia also offers homemade pastas, lasagna, salads, and entrées for her menu. Make a reservation at Prova Pizzabar.
Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant
Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant has remained a draw for New Yorkers on the go for as long as the terminal has been carting passengers. This quintessential New York City bistro is still one of the largest spaces to eat anywhere in town. Guests dine in three seating options on the lower concourse beneath Guastavino-designed vaulted ceilings. There is usually a crowd congregated outside, where, adjacent to the archways, tourists gather to test the Whispering Gallery’s powers of sound. Pop in for a dozen oysters and crisp glass of wine from the bar’s oodles of options. [Ed. note: Don’t miss the pan roast oysters.] Make a reservation at Grand Central Oyster Bar.
For gourmands in search of a convenient lobster and barley porridge or roasted cauliflower with
sea-aged gouda as well as for curious newbies anxious to try something new, it’s tough to beat Agern, which is Danish for acorn. This historic restaurant is located between Vanderbilt Hall and the 42nd street southwestern passageway entrance. In the space that once upon a time was a hairdressing salon, Icelandic chef Gunnar Gíslason tempts diners to try things like slow-cooked pork cheeks with husk cherries and celeriac ravioli. Make a reservation at Agern.
New York Central
Suspended over 42nd Street, New York Central Bar in the Hyatt Hotel is like a second home for daily commuters racing to and from trains. It’s not just for martinis after work, although that’s the beverage of choice here. The restaurant is actually the recipient of numerous wine awards of excellence. The modern design of this spot is part lift-off, part classic New York crowd with a hearty mix of travelers staying in the floors above in the Hyatt and mingling between conferences. Light bites include a savory chicken consommé while the burrata melt with lip-smackingly crispy capers makes for a heartier meal. Make a reservation at NY Central.
Steps from Grand Central Terminal, dozens of restaurants have helped make the surrounding streets into a mini culinary hotspot within the city. Here are a few to try.Continue Reading