Why Should You Eat at UrbanSpace Vanderbilt?

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The new food hall has 21 different food and drink vendors. Photo courtesy of UrbanSpace Vanderbilt.

Midtown just got another upscale food court, a nice place for the power-suit crowd to while away their lunch hour. It’s called UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, and it’s helmed by the same people who run Broadway Bites, Mad. Sq. Eats and a slew of markets in London (one is called Spitalfields, which does not sound fancy to me).

Wednesday night was the UrbanSpace sneak peek at the corner of 45th and Vanderbilt, a chance for journalists and food world glitterati to sample food until they feel nauseous. Or at least that’s what I did. How can you pass by a slice of brick oven pizza, a brisket taco, a cider donut, spinach noodles in spicy peanut sauce, a gigantic fried chicken drumstick?

All this to say, you have options, many many options. Twenty-one, to be exact. Pizza from Roberta’s. Dough donuts. Fancy tinned fish via Maiden Lane. Rolls from Red Hook Lobster Pound. AsiaDog dogs. I encourage you to show more moderation than I did.

I attended with a friend, who was well-fed but puzzled. “All these options are great, but I can’t imagine ever making this place a destination,” she said. Fair point, this. If you want to eat dinner at Roberta’s, you’re probably going to eat dinner at Roberta’s. UrbanSpace, housed in a former transit terminal building, is a handsome space, and the exposed-beam, farm table aesthetic serves it well. Still, you can dress it up real pretty, but it’s a food court.

Here are some reasons you might want to eat there:

  • Train delay at Grand Central Station
  • You work in the area, and can’t afford to eat at Michael Jordan’s steakhouse every day
  • You are meeting friends who live on train lines that converge at Midtown
  • You are meeting finicky friends who can never agree on a place to eat
  • You want to try Delaney Chicken
  • The original locations for some of these vendors can have long waits — you hate to wait

There are probably other reasons that I am not considering. Truth is, I enjoy this kind of option-heavy dining. Even when choosing between Taco Bell and Sbarro’s at the Holyoke Mall, I still was very into it. It drives me a little batty to think I’m not ordering the very best option (FOMO) but that uncertainty is part of the thrill.

Side suggestion: I’ve also tried Gotham West Market and Berg’n semi-recently. They both employ the same top-shelf, multi-vendor approach — it’s a treat.

UrbanSpace Vanderbilt officially opened to the public at 6:30 this morning. Get it!

Jesse Hirsch

Formerly the print editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan, Jesse Hirsch now works as the New York editor for GOOD magazine.

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