What Yesterday’s Restaurant Opening Means for 34th Street Corridor
State Grill and Bar opened yesterday in the Empire State Building, heralding a new era for retail in the 34th Street corridor. We snapped State Grill owner Nick Valenti (CEO of Patina Restaurant Group) and Tony Malkin, CEO of ESB owner Empire State Realty Trust at the preview party for the 33rd Street restaurant on Tuesday night. Nick’s got 50 restaurants, mostly in New York and LA, plus the new-this-year Patina Tokyo. He’s also cornered the market on restaurants in NYC's iconic buildings: Stella 34 Trattoria and Macy’s Cellar Bar & Grill in Macy’s; Cafe Centro, La Fonda Del Sol, Naples 45, and The Beer Bar in the MetLife Building/Grand Central; Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse in MSG; Rock Center Cafe, Summer Garden & Bar, The Rink, and The Sea Grill at Rockefeller Center; and The Grand Tier at Lincoln Center.
ESRT’s Tom Durels (right, with Patina’s Matt King and Richard Bloch, the restaurant's architect) tells us the ESB and vicinity lacked a fine dining establishment, especially considering the raft of new tenants there like LinkedIn and Shutterstock. The world's most famous office building was 86% leased as of June 30, and Bulova and BrightRoll have signed on since.
34th Street’s Future
Tony has completely changed the tenant base in the ESB, Cushman & Wakefield’s Joanne Podell told us yesterday, bringing in new, more affluent tenants. And those companies need restaurants. In fact, the area needs more food options in general, she says. There are few places to grab a bite before a game or show at MSG. Food purveyors are priced out of 34th Street, she says, but they want to be in the area, and side streets will benefit. Meanwhile, Macy’s renovation, Vornado’s expected upgrade of Penn Station retail, Urban Outfitters massive store in ESRT’s 1333 Broadway and Shake Shack joining it soon, and the development of Hudson Yards due west only mean 34th Street and the surrounding area will blossom.
Who Else We Spotted at the Opening
Here’s Barclays’ Mary Sliwa, Slatin Group’s Peter Slatin, NY Democratic Party chairman and former NY Gov. David Patterson, and Empire State Development executive director of tourism Gavin Landry, AKA the man in charge of the state’s “I Love New York” program.
We also snapped Grand Central Partnership’s Duane Roggendorff, Nicholas & Lence Communications CEO Cristyne Nicholas, and Grand Central Partnership CEO and city government vet Fred Cerullo.