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The Aviary
Photograph: Courtesy George Apostolidis

75 notable NYC restaurants and bars that permanently closed since 2020

New Yorkers didn’t have a chance to give a final farewell to some of their favorite restaurants and bars.

Written by
Christina Izzo
,
Bao Ong
&
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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Since March of 2020, New York City's restaurants and bars have demonstrated their resilience by the previously everyday act of maintaining operations. Many opened or expanded outdoor dining and new takeout and delivery options, for example. And happily, the list of new and anticipated openings continues to grow. 

Still, the number of businesses that have had to close their doors for good is staggering. This fall's edition of notable NYC closures includes Hunky Dory in Crown Heights, Rahi in the West Village, and Tannat in Washington Heights, among others. Many New Yorkers didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to the following establishments, but we think of them fondly. 

The NYC restaurants and bars we miss

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This Lower East Side Vietnamese restaurant was one of the early leaders in showcasing the Southeast Asian country’s cuisine with a modern twist. The owners still have their popular restaurant Di An Di in Greenpoint.

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Keith McNally’s formula for a hit French brasserie didn’t survive the tough conditions, between a health crisis that left downtown Manhattan like a ghost town and a beautiful restaurant that never quite gained momentum like his other spots in town.

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The Alinea Group’s high-end cocktail dens—The Aviary NYC and The Office (a speakeasy concept)—inside the Mandarin Oriental were reportedly already slated to close in April but the pandemic pushed the date ahead. We marveled at the mad scientist-level concoctions here (even if the pricey cocktails meant it wasn’t an everyday spot).

  • Restaurants
  • West Village

Delores Tronco-DePierro, who opened Denver's popular Work & Class, and her husband, executive chef John DePierro, offered a taste of difficult-to-find Southwestern bites. The dinner menu presented dishes like pork spiked with hatch green chillies, New Mexican wedding cookies topped with toasted corn ice cream and other intriguing items. 

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Baohaus
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Gramercy
  • price 1 of 4

Eddie Huang’s hit pork buns, dubbed the Chairman Bao, lured countless fans to his tiny shops downtown—he started on the Lower East Side in 2009 and eventually opened in the East Village on 14th Street—for the glistening slabs of Niman Ranch pork belly topped with Taiwanese condiments like powdered peanuts mixed with red sugar and pickled mustard greens sandwiched between. Other hits, which were perennial favorites on the best cheap eats lists across the city, included the Birdhaus Bao (fried chicken), Uncle Jesse Bao (fried tofu) and Fried Fish Bao—they were all under $6 each.

We’ll always remember the burgers at Gabriel Stulman’s gastropub, an intimate 28-seat corner spot in the West Village. It was a place that felt like it catered to locals as much as diners there on a first date.

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  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Flatiron
  • price 2 of 4

Danny Meyer’s jazzy barbecue joint routinely topped the short list of Manhattan’s best ’cue contenders with both wet sauces and dry rubs. However, it wasn't enough for the Flatiron spot to withstand the pressures of the pandemic: Over nearly two decades, we’ve had an amazing ride and I can’t begin to express how beautiful it has been to make so many lasting friendships in both the barbecue and jazz communities,” Meyer said in a closing statement in December. “Those relationships live on.”

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Village
  • price 3 of 4

The health-focused plates like chutney-topped cauliflower steak and quinoa tagliatelli studded with beet greens and sunflower kernels in this 70-seat American dining room had a loyal following. But like restaurants before it, the ace location on Sixth Avenue and Bleecker remains tough for business.

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

The Old New York reboot of an erstwhile literati haunt first got cooking in 1922 before succumbing to a fire and finally reopening in 2016. It was well regarded and stayed popular throughout its five year return. 

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Midtown West
  • price 4 of 4

After nearly a century in operation at a few locations—including a storied stretch as Manhattan's most thirsted-after speakeasy— 21 Club and its famous jockey statues waved goodbye for the "foreseeable future" due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a spokesperson announced in a statement in December. 

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This neighborhood bar is an anomaly in an area where businesses are often structured to become the latest hip downtown restaurant. Sure, Daddy-O offered a fine cocktail menu and some great whiskeys, but the overall vibe was casual and welcoming.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant
  • price 2 of 4

After temporary closing due to the pandemic and then preparing to reopen this past spring, Diamond Reef bar lost its lease, according to its website. But there might be a glimmer of hope just yet, as its owners “fully intend to find another space for Diamond Reef,” an Instagram post reads. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

For those who crave not just great drinks, but also the culture of drinking well, there's a certain thrill that comes with encountering a bar that you want to get to know beyond the first date. The gorgeous Donna, a breezy, rum-soaked drinkery secreted away near the Williamsburg waterfront, was long-term relationship material. Alas, a tragic break-up was inevitable due to COVID-19: In a statement on the bar's website, co-owner Leif Young Huckman wrote, "Donna will offer its last service for the foreseeable future on Saturday, November 28th. We overcame the famine of our first months of operation, a fire in year two, but after 8 ½ years of service, we cannot overcome this plague."

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  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

This East Village barbecue joint meldded Texas-style meats with Southeast Asian flavors. But it was a watermelon "ham" that went viral a few years ago that put Ducks Eatery on the map. We'll miss the innovative fare, both the IG bait and staple menu items.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Soul and southern American
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

Long before Williamsburg became so trendy that it was no longer truly hip, Egg was the spot for breakfasts and long weekend brunches. You'd perch on mismatched chairs at a paper-covered table, wake up at a leisurely speed to the old-time folk music on the sound system, and tuck into a cheap meal that may include eggs Rothko (a slice of brioche with a hole in the middle that accommodates a sunny-side-up egg, all of which is covered with sharp cheddar) or a terrific country-ham biscuit sandwich.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 2 of 4

This respected bars served drinks that felt like they came from a mad scientist's lab witih lots of high-tech and wizardry. The seasoned owners Dave Arnold (Booker and Dax), Don Lee (PDT) and Greg Boehm (Cocktail Kingdom) ensured the cocktails were painstakingly perfect. 

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Feast
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • East Village
  • price 3 of 4

"It's with bittersweet news that we're officially announcing the closing of our doors here at Feast," the restaurant's team announced on Instagram back in November. But, thankfully here, with bad news comes some good: Texas-inspired newcomer Yellow Rose has permanently moved into the space after a weeks-long pop-up collaboration with the Feast crew. 

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

Even the city’s perpetually packed restaurants have been forced to close since the onset of the pandemic, and Fedora fits that category. When we were able to get a table we always enjoyed the easy atmosphere inside, steak sandwich and cocktails.

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Gem Spa
Photograph: Courtesy of Gem Spa

Gem Spa

An East Village fixture for nearly 100 years, Gem Spa was known as much for serving its egg creams as its punk roots. The shop was already struggling to survive, but the last few months were just too tough.

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This neighborhood favorite in Chelsea on Sixth Avenue was one of the rare restaurants open 24/7 and an example of yet another dying breed of business: a no-frills New York City diner with quick, comfortable and warm (if no-nonsense) service.

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For 36 years, Gotham Bar & Grill helped set the standard for fine dining in the city. It consistently garnered rave reviews, but it was a perhaps a confluence of factors—the trend toward more casual dining, a shift in ownership and the current crisis—that lead to the restaurant’s demise.

The Greene Grape Annex


A coffee shop—designed by the MP Shift team—popular for neighborhood regulars and visitors to Fort Greene alike, this corner spot was idyllic for striking up conversations with strangers (in other words, it felt like a community space).

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • price 4 of 4

The London flagship of this luxe Cantonese chain, which includes multiple locations worldwide, was the first Chinese restaurant to achieve Michelin-star status. At this 11,000-square-foot outpost, diners could order the original's signature plates, like roasted silver cod with champagne sauce and Chinese honey, and stir-fry black-pepper rib eye with merlot. It had a reputation for being expensive and for its club-restaurant feel, but when it came down to the food, especially the dim sum selection, many of the dishes hit the spot.

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  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Two Bridges
  • price 1 of 4

Known for concoctions that were as tasty as they were whimsical, this creative creamery announced on social media that it would be closing its doors permanently last November. "We want to thank our loyal fans, customers, partners, and community for the past 7 amazing years. We are blessed to have been given the opportunity to share our vision for ice cream with the world," reads a statement on the shop's site. 

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The East Village boasted a destination sushi restaurant long before expensive omakase tasting menus became the norm among the city’s top Japanese restaurants. Jewel Bako offered pristine seafood with a stellar sake selection.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Prospect Heights
  • price 1 of 4

Life got sweeter for Prospect Heights residents when this 25-seat, buttermilk-colored patisserie opened in 2006. Fourteen years later, the shop sadly closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the owners announced in a Facebook post in September. 

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

If anyone can claim to be an expert on Neapolitan pizza, it’s Keste’s Roberto Caporuscio. When he opened on Bleecker Street, it ushered in a wave of thin pies with puffy pockets of air and tiny black blisters across the city. We're still in love with Neapolitan pizza today, and while this location has closed, there's still a Kesté open in FiDi.

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  • Restaurants
  • Dominican
  • Upper West Side
  • price 2 of 4
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The mashup of Cuban-Chinese cuisine is not common these days. At this Upper West Side stalwart, no one stayed a stranger when the staff mixed with the patrons to peppy Cuban music. The portions were gigantic; the bread was steamy and buttery; and specialties like masitas de cerdo (crisp, chewy pork chunks) or bistec en escabeche (a platter-size steak pounded thin and marinated with peppers, onions, garlic, olives and vinegar) came with heaps of rice, beans and fried plantains. 

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Chinatown
  • price 1 of 4

This Lower East Side nook moved to the Bowery and fans followed them for the comforting dumplings and their specialty in hand-pulled noodles from China's northwestern province of Lanzhou. 88 Lan Zhou was budget friendly, filling and delicious—exactly the type of restaurant we crave today more than ever.

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Let's Makan

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One of the few Malaysian restaurants in New York, Let’s Makan served a delightful menu of dishes—many you’d find street vendors serving in chef Michelle Lam’s homeland—such as various noodle soups and colorful desserts.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

When popular neighborhood wine bar Lois vacated its space on Avenue C after five years and countless pours late last year, happier news followed before too long with the opening of Accidental Bar at the same address. The new owner kept some of Lois’ design elements, with a new focus on sake. 

Lucky Strike

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Before there was Balthazar or Pastis, Keith McNally’s Lucky Strike was a beloved Soho restaurant since its opening in 1989. While the neighborhood has been stripped of its artistic-bohemian vibe (and replaced with luxury stores through the years), this was one spot that made you feel like you found a one-of-a-kind treasure.

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Max Fish
  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Lower East Side
  • price 1 of 4

When the legendary dive bar closed its original Lower East Side location in 2013, regulars were devastated. They didn’t have to go without their Max Fish fix for too long—the bar reopened just a few blocks away in 2014—but alas, six years later, the reboot has ended yet again due to the pandemic. The team is currently scouting new locations for the storied bar, according to an Instagram announcement

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  • Restaurants
  • Diners
  • Crown Heights

A modern take on the retro diner, MeMe’s offered playful diner-style bites that felt so nostalgic, you'd have called granny afterwards just to tell her you love her. The queer-run restaurant created a space that was open and inviting to everyone, making the announcement that it was closing in November that much more painful to swallow. 

The original East Village location was a favorite for happy hour whether you wanted oysters, lobster rolls or even a Bloody Mary during the week. Luckily, there are three other locations in the city (Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Upper West Side).

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary Asian
  • Two Bridges
  • price 2 of 4

At his Mission Chinese redux, Danny Bowien traded in beer kegs, paper dragons and a cramped, dive-punk Orchard Street basement for smart cocktails, banquet-hall booths and an ample, gleaming dining room in the far reaches of Chinatown. While this location is closed, you can find similar vibes at the Bushwick location.

 

David Chang closed Nishi, a restaurant that was often overlooked in the chef’s Momofuku empire, but it was a sleeper hit of sorts—despite uneven reviews at first—for many with its innovative take on Italian cuisine. The celebrity chef is also moving his beloved Ssäm Bar from the East Village to take place of Bar Wayō, which opened last year, in the South Street Seaport. Elsewhere, a D.C. Momofuku location is also shuttered.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Lower East Side
  • price 1 of 4

The entrance was hard to find and the waits could be long, but the effort was well worth it. Off-duty barkeeps and the people who wanted to hang with them could often be sitting next to you in the cozy subterranean space.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Fort Greene
  • price 2 of 4

This easygoing spot with a comfortable bar and cozy booths closed after 14 years in Fort Greene on July 23, 2021, but it has plans to reopen in Prospect Heights in the coming months, according to its Instagram bio. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

Both downtown outposts of this inventive ice-cream parlor (East 4th Street and East Houston) closed as the onset of the lockdown back in March and will not be reopening. However, its Brooklyn siblings are thankfully still open. 

Otto Enoteca Pizzeria
  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 2 of 4
Just a few steps from NYU central and Washington Square Park, Otto was an Italian-focused respite located on 8th Street and a mainstay in Greenwich Village. It was the type of place that was nice yet casual enough to go on any night of the week with plenty of tables the white marble-covered enoteca (offering wine, cheese and saulumi) and the more formal dining area focusing on pastas and pizzas. We'll also miss the olive oil gelato.
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Pasha
  • Restaurants
  • Turkish
  • Upper West Side

Pasha Turkish Restaurant on 71st Street closed this September after a quarter of a century, according to I Love the Upper West Side. Its exterior was adorned in balloons and goodbye notes before it shuttered, according to the outlet. 

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Philip Marie
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

After 24 years, the romantic West Village bistro shut its doors in November. "Thank you. We love our customers. We love our staff," reads the restaurant site, an announcement ending with a final pandemic plea. "Governor Cuomo…. Fix Our City!"

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Nolita
  • price 2 of 4

"2020 has been quite the year and while we have tried to hold off as long as possible, it is with great sadness that we announce the closure of Ramen Lab. Our last day will be Friday, November 13th," the Ramen Lab restaurant team announced on Facebook back in October. "It has been our greatest honor and joy to share with New York City and visitors from around the world, the art and deliciousness of craft ramen."

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Rye House
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Flatiron
  • price 2 of 4

The American spirits are the emphasis at this dark, sultry bar that always seemed to lure a large after-work crowd. Along with a selection of bourbons and ryes, there were gins, vodkas and rums, all distilled in the States. You'd never stay just for one.

Dining at Taladwat was akin to attending a pot luck of dishes that span the southern, central and western regions of Thailand. Chef David Bank doled out rich, spicy curries and hearty pork dishes that you don’t find from your local Thai takeout joint.

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Takashi celebrated its 10th anniversary mark this spring, but diners will no longer be able to feast on its yakiniku fare (Japanese-style tabletop grilling) serving nose-to-tail cuts of beef. The restaurant offered a glimpse of the handful of quality yakitori restaurants open today.

Thomas Keller, one of America’s most decorated chefs, has permanently closed his fine dining restaurant in Hudson Yards. It was the chef’s first NYC restaurant opening in 15 years when he opened the throwback restaurant in March 2019.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Washington Heights

Uptown lost a wine and cheese destination when Tannat closed this August, according to Patch. “We are grateful for the love, support and friendships,” reps for the restaurant wrote on its Facebook page. 

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This sprawling tapas restaurant garnered lots of attention when it first opened—for its respected Boston chefs and hip downtown location on the border of the Meatpacking District serving a distinct, modern spin on Spanish cuisine.

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Chef John Fraser’s 701West inside the glitzy Edition Times Square Hotel is no more after the Marriott corporation announced its closing after barely a year in operation. It was one of the few destination restaurants in a neighborhood with limited choices (at least non-chain businesses) and despite its fine-dining atmosphere, the menu was very gently priced.

Queen
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • price 2 of 4

This was one of Downtown Brooklyn’s most popular red sauce restaurants for more than 60 years. Formally known as Queen Marie Italian Restaurant, the family-owned business served homey classics to nearby municipal staffers, locals from surrounding neighborhoods and its share of tourists looking for something good a little off the beaten path. 

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Astoria
  • price 1 of 4

An Astoria brunch favorite with a huge menu made of burgers, mac and cheese and novelties like Cap’n Crunch–coated chicken fingers, Queens comfort was as unique as restaurants get and just as beloved by the time it closed at the end of 2020 after nine years on the block.

  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • East Village


Chef-partner Aris Tuazon shared an official closing announcement of the Filipino restaurant, which opened in the East Village back in 2011, in an Instagram post: “It is with great sadness that we announce the closing of Ugly Kitchen. Due to the insurmountable challenges of the pandemic, we have come to the sad and difficult decision that we have no alternative but to close our doors…Perhaps one day, when the time is right, Ugly Kitchen will rise once again. Until then, we bid our farewell.”

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Ever since opening in 2013, diners packed into Ann Redding and Matt Danzer’s Nolita restaurant Uncle Boons. The chefs set a stage—one filled with vintage posters and some tiki bar touches—that showcased modern Thai dishes without watering them down. New Yorkers ate it up; they loved the complex (and often fiery) dishes served in the laid back, fun environment. Now Redding and Danzer have decided to close the restaurant permanently after not reaching an agreement with their landlord.

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The Mushreuben—a vegetarian spin on the diner classic had us dreaming of the roasted maitake mushrooms with sauerkraut, peppadew peppers, melted Swiss cheese and special sauce between toasted caraway-rye bread—was one of our favorite dishes in 2019. Other plates at Camilla Marcus’s Soho restaurant brought a cool West Coast vibe to New York we’ll miss.

The Best Restaurants in New York City

  • Restaurants

October 2020: As New York restaurants open their doors for indoor dining, we can’t help but reflect on how much has changed for the hospitality industry during the course of the current crisis. We have mixed feelings about jumping back into full-service restaurant experiences—whether it’s dining outdoors or indoors (even with limited capacity).

For those of us choosing to dine out, it also comes at a time when the restaurant industry is re-examining how to create a more equitable workplace, from fairly paying employees to ensuring the safety of its employees. But we realize that many of you, dear readers, will nevertheless be choosing to support your local spots and want guidance of who is doing what right now.

While restaurants are evolving to meet the needs of this new landscape and additional guidelines for the reopening process are changing daily, we hope you’ll find this list helpful as you navigate these new waters. Please bear in mind that we have not been able to hit up all these spots since their reopenings, but we have stood behind their food and service in the past. Check back as we will be updating this list more often than we did prior to lockdown to reflect the ebbs and flows of the dining out scene. And, remember, with so many service workers putting themselves on the frontlines to feed us, we hope you’ll be gracious and tip kindly. 

Back in 2019, we made some radical changes to Time Out New York’s EAT List, gutting it from the ground up to forgo mentions to those uber-expensive fine dining spots. Instead, we focused on curating a feature you can use more readily in your day-to-day life than just on special occasions. Frankly, no subjective best-of list is perfect, but we are committed to regularly updating this list to make sure it’s not only useful but a more diverse and equitable representation of our vibrant city. 

Note: A number of the best chefs, restaurants and concepts in the city have been welcomed into the Time Out Market. Because that is the highest honor we can award, and we now have a tighter relationship with them, establishments related to market vendors have all been included in the EAT List but not ranked alongside other great establishments in the city. You can find those places below. We look forward to welcoming you back into our markets when it is safe to do so again. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best dishes and drinks in NYC

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