Shakeups are coming for Grand Central Terminal's dining offerings in the next year, with over a dozen retail spaces going on the market. Junior's Cheesecake and a few other eateries inside the transit hub are out, the Post reports, to make way for "upscale shops" that include a restaurant by Oprah Winfrey's former chef and other fancy chainlets native to NYC.
Art Smith, most notably connected to Oprah and her lifestyle brands, will open Art Bird & Whiskey Bar in the Terminal sometime in the near future, paying a handsome $4.1 million in rent over the next decade. Tartinery, the open-faced sandwich company with three other NYC outposts, will replace the Irving Farm coffee kiosk downstairs in the Dining Concourse.
All told, the MTA says it will be issuing five requests for proposals in the remainder of 2017, with a dozen more expected to be released in 2018. "Heading into the next two years, we expect a hastening pace of RFPs for retail spaces at Grand Central," a spokesperson told the Post.
The Terminal's robust dining scene has seen some changes in the past few years, including the ousting of Two Boots pizzas wacky corner spot that was replaced by a celebrity chef Donatella Arpaia's Prova Pizzabar. Claus Meyer—godfather of the New Nordic Cuisine movement and co-owner of internationally acclaimed Noma in Copenhagen—has made a big investment in the Terminal, too, opening not only a gourmet Nordic tasting menu restaurant, but also a giant Nordic food hall in the complex's Vanderbilt Hall.
The Campbell Apartment, the historic office turned secret bar, was also recently revamped and reopened as The Campbell, run by The Gerber Group, which runs upscale lounge-type spots including Mr. Purple and The Roof.
Changes like these are expected to net the MTA a rental income increase of 7% for 2017, the MTA says, and while the agency could undoubtably use the cash, some argue the fancy upgrades don't serve the bulk of people who pour through the terminal on a daily basis.