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Peck's Specialty Foods
Photograph: Lauren SpinelliRotisserie chicken at Peck's

Restaurant and bar openings: January 9–January 15, 2014

Peck's, Empire Diner and more roll out in New York City

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The following venues are expected to open by January 15th. Always call ahead, as openings can be delayed.

BarBacon Peter Sherman (Danube, the Breslin) doles out beer-and-bacon flights at this swine-focused gastropub in Hell's Kitchen, decorated with exposed brick, studded leather stools and a dark-wood bar. To offset drafts (Magic Hat #9, Mother's Milk Stout) and bourbons (Hudson, Bulleit), dig into lobster rolls, banh mi sandwiches and mason-jar pies, all topped with cured and crisped pork. The diet-conscious can find vegetarian and turkey-based options in a Fakin' Bacon section. 836 Ninth Ave between 54th and 55th Sts (646-362-0622, barbacon.com)

Blue Olive Market Joining midtown marketplaces like Gotham West Market and Brooklyn Fare, this grocery-cum-café highlights traditional Greek food and wine in Murray Hill. Stations set throughout the stone-and-wood space include a yogurt bar—rigged with liquid nitrogen for à la minute frozen treats—a meze counter (tabouli, tzatziki) and prepared-food items, like beef moussaka, grilled lamb chops and lavraki (rosemary-flecked sea bass). Phyllo dough is made in-house for pastries such as baklava, tyropita (stuffed with feta and local eggs) and galaktoboureko (filled with vanilla-bean–semolina custard). Along with takeout and delivery, shoppers have the option to dine at a communal wood table or at the wine bar, offering Mediterranean vino, charcuterie and house-baked breads. Food demonstrations, including guest-chef events, wine tutorials and cooking classes, are held daily at the center of the market. 210 E 41st St between Second and Third Aves (212-922-0991, blueolivemarket.com)

Dirck the Norseman A blazing wood stove, church pews and repurposed-keg chandeliers decorate this rustic Brooklyn brewpub, from suds pro Ed Raven (Brouwerij Lane). Peer through glass windows into the adjacent brewery, where Raven and partner Chris Prout turn out ten house sips (Tupelo honey IPA, rhubarb saison). Rounding out the steel bar's 16 taps are six imports, including Gaffel Kölsch and Dentergems Brown Ale. On the food menu, find hearty dishes such as house-made chipolata sausage with onion gravy, and pulled-turkey confit with cranberry sprinkles. Beer makes its way onto the plate in items such as lager-steamed mussels with bacon and leeks. 7 North 15th St at Franklin St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-389-2940)

Empire Diner When the steel-edged greasy spoon on the corner of Tenth Avenue and 22nd Street closed in 2010, it wasn't merely the end of the Empire—it was the end of an era. A Chelsea fixture since the 1970s, the iconic dining car came into its own in the '90s, when then–A-listers like Minnie Driver and Ethan Hawke squeezed in at the metal counter for Jack's chili sundaes and Bayou burgers. Food Network star Amanda Freitag—a free agent since leaving the Harrison in 2010—taps into the space's history, opening a round-the-clock canteen of her own that pays dues to both the original and the hash houses of her native New Jersey. Retrofitted with tiled floors, a soda fountain and a healthy dose of chrome, Freitag maintains the diner look for her 75-seat restaurant, but gives the menu a modern overhaul. Her takes on retooled diner fare include matzo-ball-and-marrow soup, charred-octopus Greek salad and pork chops topped with pancetta and cranberry beans. 210 Tenth Ave at 22nd St (212-596-7523, empire-diner.com)

Hill Country Barbecue Market Downtown Brooklyn gets a pit-smoked boost with this 10,000-square-foot meat hall and music venue. Offerings include the chain's smokehouse staples, like dry-rubbed brisket, shoepeg-corn pudding and sausages shipped from legendary Lockhart, TX, institution Kreuz Market. Like at the Manhattan flagship, this outpost hosts foot-stompin' alt-country and Americana bands Tuesday through Saturday on a second-floor mezzanine. 345 Adams St at Willoughby Plaza, Downtown, Brooklyn (718-885-4608, hillcountrybk.com)

Hill Country Chicken At the same address as its barbecue shop, the Lone Star–themed minichain operates a Brooklyn outpost of its fried-chicken restaurant. The soul-food specialty is available in two varieties: the crispy Hill Country Classic and Mama El’s, which comes skinless with a cracker crust. The location also offers Brooklyn-only salads (romaine with bacon and scallions), sandwiches (a crispy chicken club) and pie (apple streusel). 345 Adams St at Willoughby Plaza, Downtown, Brooklyn (718-885-4609, hillcountrychicken.com)

Mountain Bird Kenichi Tajima, a grad of Tokyo's acclaimed Tsuji Cooking School, focuses on all things fowl for this French restaurant in Central Harlem. On the menu, find turkey-drumstick goulash and a cassoulet of duck leg and gizzard confit. The 19-seat spot—styled with marble two-tops, rooster lamps and doily-lace curtains—is BYOB with a dollar glass charge. 231 W 145th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-281-5752, mountainbirdnyc.com)

The Peacock Yves Jadot and Jason Hicks—the team behind Jones Wood Foundry—stick to old-school British influences at this refined Anglo restaurant in Murray Hill's William Hotel. Set in a townhouse upstairs from the duo's complementary tavern, the Shakespeare, the 96-seat dining room—outfitted with marble fireplaces, wingback chairs and crystal chandeliers—features traditional Brit fare from English-born toque Robert Aikens (Philadelphia's the Dandelion). Find brined and roasted chicken with bubble and squeak (shallow-fried vegetables), sea scallops with curry-roasted cauliflower, and braised short rib with kidney-suet pudding. 24 E 39th St between Madison and Park Aves (646-837-6776, thepeacocknyc.com) 

Peck's Theo Peck knows his way around a matzo ball—the Food Experiments cook-off king is also the great-grandson of Jacob Harmatz, founder of Delancey Street kosher dairy Ratner’s (which shuttered in 2004 after 99 years in operation). Peck pays homage to the family business with this 850-square-foot takeout shop and deli, bringing back Ashkenazi-style dishes (borscht, kasha varnishkes) inspired by Ratner’s menu, but also veering out of its kosher confines with pork sausage and pâtés. Jewish staples like house-made gravlax and hamantaschen cookies are offered, along with updated dishes like chicken-liver terrine and carrots in salsa verde—buttermilk dressing. 455A Myrtle Ave between Washington and Waverly Aves, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (347-689-4969, peckshomemade.com)

The Shakespeare Beneath their Murray Hill restaurant, the Peacock, Jason Hicks and Yves Jadot (Jones Wood Foundry) hoist a pint to dear old Blighty with this British gastropub, inspired by the 16th-century pubs found in Stratford upon Avon. The beverage program is appropriately Anglo-focused, highlighting draft beers from English breweries like Wells and Young's and Green King, as well as cask-conditioned ales like Old Speckled Hen. Balance the suds with pub grub from chef Robert Aiken (Philadelphia's The Dandelion), including a variety of toasts (Welsh rarebit, smoked-and-poached salmon pate), British charter pie with suet and bangers-and-mash with onion gravy. 24 E 39th St between Madison and Park Aves (646-837-6779, theshakespearenyc.com)

The Writing Room Gotham’s literati shed tears when Elaine Kaufman’s venerated hangout, Elaine's, shut its doors in 2011. But the husband-and-wife team behind Parlor Steakhouse, Michael and Susy Glick, reopened the space, with a name that nods to the bygone establishment’s wordsmith regulars. Under the watchful gaze of lit greats—whose pictures line the front room—dine on American classics: buttermilk-fried chicken, clam chowder with a cherrystone-clam velouté, and smoked baby back ribs. Drinks include more than 150 international vintages, bitters-focused cocktails and a long-running whiskey list that would please any hard-drinking writer. 1703 Second Ave between 88th and 89th Sts (212-335-0075, thewritingroomnyc.com)

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