These Are The 16 Vendors Chosen For NYC's James Beard-Approved Food Hall

Food halls have long been popular all across the U.S., to the point where a new one opening up (especially in New York, a city where you'd pretty much expect to see one on every block) generally isn't seen as all that big a deal. What makes Market 57 so buzzworthy, however, is the fact that all of the vendors have been from the James Beard Foundation.

Mr. Beard himself died in 1985 (via The New York Times). If Beard himself, a food expert who had far more to offer the world than just a pretty face, really had been able to grant his seal of approval to the sellers offering their wares in a 21st-century food hall, that would be the kind of news that the "Ghost Hunters" and their ilk would be all over. 

As it is, there's nothing supernatural going on here, but nonetheless, it's still a pretty big deal that one of the nation's premier culinary institutions has hand-picked this diverse selection of food hall entrepreneurs.

1. Ammi

Ammi is the latest offering from Indian restaurateur Jimmy Rizvi, whose other eateries include Chote Miya and GupShup. Ammi, as per James Beard Foundation, means "mother" in both Urdu and Hindi, but the restaurant isn't just named in tribute to Rizvi's parents. The food hall offerings will be made from family recipes, and Rizvi's mom herself will take a hands-on role in training the staff on how to prepare them.

We don't know just what will be on Ammi's menu at this point, as Market 57 is still at the "coming soon" stage. We do know, though, that Chote Miya specializes in Indian street foods such as samosas and chicken curry, while GupShup offers everything from mutton kebabs to jackfruit curry to fig ice cream. If Ammi is anything like its sister restaurants, it is bound to be top-notch in terms of decor, service, flavor, and food quality. 

2. Bessou

Bessou, a Japanese restaurant that had been delighting its Bleecker Street patrons since 2016, was recently forced to close down, much to the sorrow of proprietor Maiko Kayogoku. Luckily, Bessou was soon granted a second lease on life and will be undergoing a second incarnation at the Market 57 food hall. 

The Bessou 2.0 menu will feature a kaarage fried chicken on its menu, as this was a popular offering at the restaurant. There will also be a selection of other Japanese dishes yet to be named. 

Even though the menu is probably still to be determined, the James Beard Foundation says that crispy sushi rice will likely be a regular feature. This was one of Kayagoku's specialties at the sit-down Bessou and came in a choice of salmon, spicy tuna, uni (sea urchin), and enoki mushroom. Hopefully, patrons will enjoy dining on the delicious foods offered at Bessou.  

3. Bird & Branch

Market 57 will be the second location for Bird & Branch, a coffee shop currently operating out of Harlem's Hell's Kitchen. Bird & Branch, run by a married couple called Faith and Brandon Lee, has a policy we wish more employers would adopt: Its baritas-in-training are all people who might not have an easy time getting hired on by a less community-minded establishment.

In addition to offering job opportunities to the otherwise unemployable, the Lees also choose to offer ethically-sourced coffees, including single-bean blends from Latin America and Africa. Plus, what's a cup of coffee without a little treat to go with it? 

Market 57's Bird & Branch will be selling baked goods, too, with the James Beard Foundation noting that the Lees are finding inspiration for their baked goods by harking back to younger days. We're not quite sure whether this means that the menu will lean more toward homemade pop tarts and sugar-cereal-topped cupcakes or toward old family recipes, but we must say we're looking forward to finding out.

4. Due Madri

"Due Madri," as Google Translate tells us, is Italian for "two mothers," making it the second Market 57 vendor to be named after someone's mom. In this case, though, the name most likely refers to the proprietors themselves, two women named Jocelyn Guest and Erika Nakamura, who are parents to a daughter named Nina (as per Instagram). The pair have also partnered up to run an online meat market called Butcher Girls.

Due Madri, which is an LGBTQ-owned company, lives up to the James Beard Foundation mission of ensuring diversity among its food hall vendors, but it brings much more than that to the table. As the Italian name implies, the food will be Italian, inspired by Guest's and Nakamura's visits to this country. More specifically, the focus will be on be sandwiches, and as you might expect from the Butcher Girls, these are likely to be a carnivore's delight.

5. Harlem Hops

Harlem Hops specializes in, guess what? Craft beer, of course. (It was the "hops" part that was the tip-off, wasn't it?) It's not just any microbrewery, though, but is actually the first one in Harlem to be entirely Black-owned. The business is pretty special to the James Beard Foundation, too, as it was a semifinalist for the 2023 Restaurant and Chef James Beard Award. Additionally, it also received a grant from the foundation's fund for Black and indigenous-owned businesses.

We can't say what the beer selection will be at Harlem Hops' new Market 57 outpost, but its current lineup at time of writing includes everything from IPAs to a beer brewed with baobab fruit to a cyser combining mead with hard apple cider to a stout brewed with vanilla, maple, and pecans. In addition to beers, the Harlem Hops food stall will also offer various types of bar snacks to accompany its brews.

6. Local Roots

Local Roots, which has been in business since 2011, is both a minority-owned and woman-run business. This incredible establishment is also dedicated to sustainable agriculture. Local Roots operates a cafe and a market. It also sells produce boxes via subscription services. Local Roots' proprietor Wen-Jay Ying will now be adding food hall vendor to her portfolio as her Market 57 stall is set to feature Chinese food made from locally-sourced ingredients. 

The James Beard Foundation must have had access to a sneak peek at the menu as its website mentions that the Local Roots food hall location will feature mapo tofu bowls, meat-free egg drop soup, scallion pancakes, and bubble tea. It will also offer to-go dishes for anyone eating on the run, which, in Manhattan, is likely to include about 90 percent of the food hall's patrons. This emphasis on quick service is bound to make this Local Roots pop-up a hit. 

7. Lolo's on the Water

Chef Raymond Mohan is a native of Guyana, while his wife, Leticia Skai Young, was born and raised in Harlem. Together the two of them run a Harlem eatery called Lolo's Seafood Shack, with "Lolo" being an acronym for "Locally Owned, Locally Operated." 

The original Lolo's (which is still very much in business) was awarded a grant from the James Beard Foundation's fund for Black and indigenous-owned businesses, and now the restaurant has also been invited to open a Market 57 food hall location.

To date, the JBF has no specifics as to what the food hall Lolo's (which will be called Lolo's on the Water in homage to its Pier 57 location) will have on its menu. Chances are it will be more of the Caribbean-inspired seafood dishes that Lolo's specializes in, though, so we're hoping to see both conch fritters and coconut shrimp on the menu. 

8. Malai

You can't have a truly great food hall without an ice cream vendor, and Malai fills that role quite nicely. Malai, which was founded in 2015 by an Indian-American woman named Pooja Bavishi, provides its ice cream to markets and groceries throughout New York and even as far away as Chicago. Its new market stall, though, might be selling ice cream by the scoop like the Brooklyn flagship store. In keeping with the Marketplace 57 theme, the ice cream Malai will be scooping has an international flair.

Malai's signature flavors include many South Asian-inspired ones that Ben and Jerry's have likely never dreamed of: Lemon cardamon, masala chai, golden turmeric, and carrot halwa, to name but a few. The dairy used to make the ice cream is locally sourced (with no eggs being used), and Malai also makes a small line of dairy-free flavors, including pineapple pink peppercorn and hibiscus chaat masala sorbet.

9. Mijo

Fany Gerson, a Mexican-born entrepreneur, has several projects already under her belt as she's the founder of both the La Newyorkina paleteria and Fan-Fan Doughnuts, both of which offer incredibly delicious sweet treats. You can try the Mango Lassi Doughnuts or even the White Coffee Doughnuts. She also has quite a history with the James Beard Foundation, having been named a past women's entrepreneurial leader and also been a James Beard Award nominee.

While Gerson, to date, has primarily been focused on sweets, Mijo, which will also involve her husband, Daniel Ortiz de Montellano, finds her branching out into savory territory. We do not yet know exactly what this means for the menu, but it does sound pretty exciting. Even better, as the JBF reports, is the fact that Mijo may just be a little foretaste of something even bigger and better yet to come from the Gerson/Ortiz duo.

10. Mothershuckers

New York City may be the world capital of street food, but were you aware there's an actual oyster cart still selling freshly-shucked seafood on the streets of Brooklyn? Mothershuckers is owned and operated by Ben "Moody" Harney, the one and only "Oyster King of New York," and he'll now be bringing his shellfish expertise to Market 57, as well.

Harney is an oyster evangelist of sorts: Not only does he wish to serve the freshest, tastiest oysters in town, but he also means to spread the word about how healthy they are and how sustainable oyster-harvesting can benefit the ecosystem. These oysters are often served with tasty toppings such as parsley, shallots, cocktail sauce, and mignonettes. 

In fact, as per the James Beard Foundation, the oyster shells from Mothershuckers food stall won't be tossed in the trash but instead will be used to rebuild oyster reefs in New York Harbor via the Billion Oyster Project.

11. Nom Wah

When Nom Wah opens its new Market 57 location, it may well be the business with the deepest roots in the entire food hall. Nom Wah Tea Parlor has been serving its Chinatown patrons for over 100 years, and during that time, the business has been owned by just two families. Wilson Tang, who'll be running the food stall, is a son of the family who has owned the place since the early '70s,

The food stall outpost of Nom Wah will serve many of the classic Cantonese dishes that the original has specialized in for so long, plus it also plans to make certain dim sum items available all day long. Tang, however, has indicated to the James Beard Foundation that he intends to try adding few tweaks of his own to his family's recipes, and the food stall seems like an ideal place for such experimentation.

12. Ras Plant Based

If you follow a plant-based diet, don't worry, the market has some options for you too. In addition to craft brews, coffee drinks, and possibly a few sorbets, Market 57 should have some food that suits your preferences. The James Beard Foundation, in its quest for inclusivity, is hardly going to forget about its vegan and vegetarian patrons.

Ras Plant Based, as the name indicates, does not make use of any animal products in its cooking. It also opts for organic, sustainable ingredients that are sourced as close as possible to its Brooklyn base. What really makes the food such a draw, though, enough so as to tempt even non-vegans to partake, are the recipes: Owners Romeo and Milka Regalli have taken the traditional Ethiopian dishes they learned from their grandparents and given them a modern-day foodie makeover. 

While the entire menu from the Brooklyn restaurant may not be available at the new Ras Plant Based food stall, the delicious veggie bowls that are a lunchtime staple will definitely make the cut.

13. The Galley by Lobster Place

Lobster Place, a seafood market and restaurant located not too far from Pier 57, specializes in the shellfish from which it takes its name: Steamed whole lobsters, lobster bakes, and lobster bisque are all featured on the menu. It also has a raw bar with oysters, clams, crab, and shrimp, as well as a sushi bar. 

The Galley, however, will be a much smaller, more streamlined operation: It'll be a stripped-down kitchen on board a ship where space is usually at a premium (which is probably the case with a food stall, as well).

The menu at The Galley, which, by the way, will be taking part in the James Beard Foundation's Smart Catch sustainable seafood initiative, features a small selection of some of Lobster Place's more popular items. Lobster and shrimp rolls will be featured, along with broiled oysters and possibly even some new dishes created just for the new food stall (via Pier 57).

14. The Good Batch

The Good Batch is a Brooklyn bakery that loves to make use of in-season, locally-grown produce whenever possible, even partnering with a local orchard to supply the fruits it uses. Proprietor Anna Gordon, a one-time James Beard Foundation Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership program participant, describes her bakery's offerings as "traditional," but she's not afraid of putting a contemporary spin on things. 

Offerings include chai pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies and watercolor cakes that appear to be straight out of an Instagram feed (and may well have been created with exactly that in mind). At the Market 57 food hall location, the new Good Batch branch will be selling cookies as well as small versions of some of the bakery's cakes. 

It will also offer ice cream sandwiches, products that are currently featured in some NYC-area groceries and outdoor markets in-season. They come in a choice of three flavors: Brownie caramel, confetti cake, and oat vanilla fudge.

15. Zaab Zaab

You may think you know Thai food, but the Thai food offered by Zaab Zaab isn't the standard stuff served up by most U.S. Thai restaurants. Instead, Zaab Zaab specializes in the Isaan style of Thai food that comes from that country's northeastern region and shares quite a few similarities with Laotian and Hmong cooking. 

Zaab Zaab's flagship restaurant is, of course, located in Queens. While Brooklyn may retain the title of hipster/foodie mecca and Manhattan is home to some truly high-end eateries, Queens is by far the most diverse of the five boroughs, and its restaurant scene reflects this.

As is the case with most of the vendors, the Zaab Zaab food hall location will likely not feature a menu quite as extensive as the one found at the Queens restaurant. The James Beard Foundation does say that chef Aniwat Khotsopha's delicious duck larb will definitely be on offer, though. The foundation also hints that there may also be new dishes created for Zaab Zaab's new space, as well.

16. Good to Go

Good to Go is a little bit different from all of the other vendors at Market 57. It will actually be operated by the James Beard Foundation, and as the foundation describes, it will also serve as an "incubator" in which potential new food hall tenants will get to show off their stuff.

While it sounds as if Good to Go may be offering different types of food each time you visit the food hall, the Foundation promises that all of the food will be sustainable, plus it will likely maintain its commitment to supporting BIPOC and LGBTQ+ owned businesses here, as well. 

Not to mention, the JBF is certainly going to carry out its mission of seeking out the finest up-and-coming chefs the NYC food scene has to offer for inclusion in its very exclusive food hall. Whatever Good to Go's cuisine du jour may be, you can bet that with the Foundation's backing, it's going to be something well worth trying.