Tucked inside an industrial corner of Bushwick, sits 99 Scott, a popular music and events space that’s housed everything from weddings and dumpling workshops by day to late-night techno parties by night. Today, as spaces across New York are rethinking how they do business to withstand the times, 99 Scott has transformed its sprawling courtyard into a restaurant with nightly entertainment.
Outerspace, the new seasonal restaurant by 99 Scott founders Molly McIver and Wells Stellberger, looks like a tropical plant-filled oasis, equipped for times of social distancing.
The 6,500-square-foot, outdoor-only destination seats 126 diners throughout its scattered picnic tables with individual rattan booths, surrounded by tall potted palms for safe division and privacy. This might be the most comfortable restaurant in the city to safely dine out right now without worrying about throngs of crowds or close-quarter sidewalk dining.
Chefs Conner Updegrave and Luis Herrera at Outerspace, who previously worked the kitchens at popular restaurants Blanca and Cosme, respectively, are turning out a menu guided by hyper-seasonal and locally-sourced produce, set to change week-to-week based on what produce is available at the Union Square Farmers Market and from tri-state farmers.
The American menu incorporates Latin American influences with dishes like a summer melon doused in chile and lime, a corn side—which closely resembles Mexican elote—made with scallions, cashews, basil, and chiles, and a rotisserie chicken (or “rotisserie mushroom” for vegetarian-leaning guests) topped with cilantro and mole verde. Diners will also find a variety of sourdough pizzas consistently on the menu, and a classic white cheddar burger with and basil mayo.
With one look at Outerspace’s menu, it's clear that dietary restrictions were also kept in-mind.
“People eat in different ways for their health. So we wanted to make it easy,” explains McIver. On the menu you’ll find marks next to most dishes for vegetarian, vegan or gluten free friendly. Similarly they have a slew of non-alcoholic drinks “that are actually fancy” for those who don’t feel like drinking alcohol, explains McIver.
For alcohol-laden beverages, Outerspace is serving up a huge selection of natural wine, local craft beers, ciders and summery drinks such as their a mezcal margarita made with watermelon and coconut rum slush mixed with orange Red Bull and an earl grey gimlet with earl grey gin, grapefruit and lemon. Each of the restaurant’s cocktails are available in $60 pitchers too, which serves five.
To keep connected to their passion for music and entertainment, the 99 Scott team has also set up programming at Outerspace, including curated playlists by record labels and artists in the area, and Mike Egan of local studio Ramiken Gallery will be hosting weekly film weekly film screenings.
Since opening in 2017, 99 Scott has hosted weekly culinary projects such as Savannah Turley’s sourdough workshops, a Chinese New Year dumpling workshop with LinYee Yuan of Mold Magazine, and other events such as the RAW wine fair and the art & design fair Object & Thing. These events put the space on the map as a hub for cultural activity in Bushwick, in addition to its thumping club nights.
“We had always envisioned 99 Scott as a multifunctional space, which would include events and eventually a culinary program and food offerings” said owners McIver and Stellberger. “With the onset of the pandemic and our events business on hold, the opportunity to focus on creating a seasonal restaurant on premise presented itself. We’re excited to design and create a fun and unique gathering space where people can eat and drink safely with their friends.”
But if business had continued apace, McIver says the 99 Scott team would probably never have transformed into a full-on pop-up restaurant concept.
"I’ve always loved food, but this project was definitely us evolving with the times. It’s not something that would have necessarily happened had we been continuing with our usual events business and shows in the same way.”
And with opening Outerspace, the 99 Scott team was able to rehire staff and welcome back their community to join them in a new capacity, even if its just for the season.
Its hours are Thursday through Saturday, 5pm to 11pm and on Sundays, 2pm to 9pm. Reservations, which you can make here, will hold down a table for two hours and are for parties of four to six guests.
Outerspace is located at 99 Scott Avenue, and Randolph Street.
Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture in New York. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.
Most popular on Time Out
- The Metropolitan Opera streams a different free production every night this week
- The best scenic drives in New York
- What's next after Phase 4? What you need to know about NYC's reopening
- The 50 best family movies to watch together
- Ellen's Stardust Diner may be in danger of closing