The concept of an in-store restaurant is nothing new, particularly for the "ladies who lunch" set. While you may not automatically think of your favorite retailer as a culinary destination, more and more retail stores are striving to be lifestyle brands and shattering the stuffy department store dining stereotypes. Here are seven New York City restaurants hidden inside stores — they're sure to fuel your shopping spree.
Known for sleek and clean designs, Armani/Ristorante embodies the line’s spirit in the glossy black and red interior. Situated on the top floor, the pasta-centric dishes from chef Sandro Romano include Ligurian Taggiasche olives, a towering eggplant lasagnetta, and spaghetti with shaved, dried tuna roe. Be forewarned: just as the clothing demands a high price tag, the food and drink in this restaurant certainly doesn’t come cheap.
Behind the magical, whimsical floral design paradise Ovando is Vandal, the newest venture from the Tao Group. Helmed by Chef Santos, Vandal’s menu is inspired by global street fare and serves multi-ethnic small plates that are ideal for tasting and sharing. The decor is best described as an urban garden. With nods to the Lower East Side location and Asian inspired street art, the sidewalk is brought into the massive indoor space. Signature dishes include a pressed New York hot pretzel, crunchy jicama shell tostadas, chicken katsu with Hong Kong egg waffles, and Greek donuts.
Beauty & Essex
Enter what began as a decor element/junk collection that has blossomed into a full-fledged pawn shop. Run by the EZ Pawn Corp, the shop is stocked with a wide variety of goods available for purchase, but it’s what behind the back door that is bringing people into the hybrid space. Another venture from Chef Santos, Beauty & Essex is a sultry, dark date night spot that does not disappoint.
This list would not be complete without including one of the pioneers of in-store dining, ABC Kitchen. A more rustic take from chef extraordinaire, Jean-Georges, the highly popular dining destination in the ABC Carpet & Home store serves a healthy menu of vegetable-focused items on dishware conveniently available for purchase inside the store. Warm, bright lighting and simple yet chic dining tables add levity to the space, making it a great option for lunch.
Tuck Room Inside iPic Theaters
While you won’t find any fish in the newly revamped Fulton Market building, inside lies the Inception of restaurants. Inside the iPic Theater, a full-service premium movie theater, is The Tuck Room. Billed as a modern speakeasy, it is the brainchild of three-time James Beard Award-winning chef Sherry Yard. Offering soulful American dishes, the private lounge has a clandestine ambiance. Prohibition-themed cocktails are the work of Master Mixologist Adam Seger, and for a truly intimate experience, head to the hidden bookcase and enter The Green Room with the push of a secret button.
Escape to the tropics in the gorgeous Tommy Bahama restaurant and bar in midtown. Large palms, dark wood, and a heavenly scent engulf the space, and unsurprisingly, they serve a seafood-heavy menu. Rum cocktails from The Marlin Bar are a bit more well-heeled than the average equatorial concoction, and as we are apt to indulge on vacation, don’t skip dessert, as the pineapple crème brûlée is a star of a dish.