Chef JJ Johnson’s fast-casual restaurant FieldTrip was one of the most anticipated openings last year and garnered rave reviews all around (read Time Out New York’s four-star review here). While 2020 has been full of challenges for New York City restaurants, today Johnson announced the opening of two more locations of his concept at Rockefeller Center and in Long Island City.
The third location—FieldTrip has a spot at the U.S. Open site in Flushing Meadows—is set to open on November 11th at the new Queens food fall JACX&CO. Later in the month, the Rock Center restaurant is slated to open later in the month on the concourse level. Both spots will offer the same menu as the OG Harlem location with a lineup of globally-inspired rice bowls (pro tip: the crab pockets, which we included as one of the best cheap eats in NYC, are also not to be missed).
“I told my wife coming into COVID that we weren’t going to come out the same,” says Johnson. “The goal was to come out in a better place. I’ll take the risk now with the team and hopefully it’ll work out for the best.”
Johnson always had plans of expanding the FieldTrip concept and says there have been requests to open other locations across the country since his successful uptown opening. The two newest restaurants are opening in properties managed by Tishman Speyer, one of the city’s largest commercial landlords.
“Rockefeller is anyone’s dream. It’s the heart of New York City,” Johnson says.
The openings come at a time when many independently-owned restaurants are struggling to stay in business while large chain restaurants are thriving. For Johnson, his goal with FieldTrip was to support the community. He says 90% of his employees live in Harlem or upper Manhattan, he’s worked with the local Boys & Girls Club and in recent months, he’s partnered with Rethink Food to donate food.
“I wouldn’t be able to expand without Harlem,” says Johnson. “I always said that if FieldTrip can make it in Harlem, it can make it anywhere in the world.”
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