food and drink

Inside Midtown's New Food Hall Boasting Vibrant Flavor and Design

New York City's new food hall in Midtown East welcomes over a dozen restaurants to dine while surrounded by a collection of art and greenery.

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

New York City welcomes a new food hall with nearly 20 restaurants showcasing unique cuisines that capture the heart and diversity of its residents.

The Hugh is located in Midtown East and offers a wide variety of flavors.

Whether it's an assortment of Thai at the eatery Thank You Come Again or an African superfood with Teranga, there's something for everyone.

This foodie destination originally opened last fall, but as one could imagine, the hall was no stranger to dealing with the impacts of the COVID pandemic.

"It's a huge, seismic shift in New York that I think everyone thought was going to be over about six months ago, but the last six months have been actually much harder than the last year and a half," said Anna Castellani to NBC New York.

Castellani, who created Brooklyn's DeKalb Market Hall, worked on The Hugh to make it design-forward while bringing in a mix of downtown vendors focusing on fresh ingredients.

Michigan native Robert Guimond is the chef and owner of Public Display of Affection, a wood-burning oven pizza and vegetable shop located in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The P.D.A. restaurant opened its second location at The Hugh and offers anything from classic cheese to Detriot-style slices.

"I'm optimistic. It's not so busy just yet, but as more people come to the office and people learn about us we'll get busier. It's a great spot. Everyone who comes in here marks on the beauty of the space," said Guimond.

Alex Muñoz is the director of operations at Alidoro, an Italian specialty sandwich shop founded in 1986 in SoHo. Alidoro has five locations in NYC, including one at The Hugh and a more recently opened location at the Moynihan Train Hall.

"We've been really lucky to keep the doors open at all of our stores. That was something we worked really hard to do not just for the survival of our business but also to keep our staff employed and to make sure we had a future on the other side of this pandemic," said Muñoz.

This eatery's most popular item is the Pinocchio with a mix of prosciutto, soppressata, fresh mozzarella, sweet roasted peppers, and olive paste.

Like Guimond, Muñoz is excited to welcome back-friendly faces returning to work in the neighborhood.

While the hall is currently operating only on weekdays, Castellani hopes to expand into the weekend starting next month, plus adding special events and daytime children's activities for New York City families.

"It's really meant to be a piazza for Midtown East -- the living room. Something I really love is people coming in for coffee, lunch, and happy hour. It's really meant to be heavily used, and it's a resource," said Castellani.

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