Orchard Street Gets Even More Appetizing With These 18 New Restaurants

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Photo: Map by Jason Lee

When Joel Russ immigrated to New York from Polish Galicia in the early twentieth century, he started selling his herring from a barrel on Orchard Street—humble beginnings for what would evolve into beloved appetizing institution Russ & Daughters. A century later, the fourth-generation owners have signed a lease for a new café on the same street, a thoroughfare that Russ would barely recognize today. Orchard and its environs have gone from cramped tenements to high-rise hotels, from bustling immigrant enclave to drug zone to raucous nightlife hub. And now the arrival of serious chefs (among them Mission Chinese Food’s Danny Bowien, who’s opening a second spot up the street) heralds a new, more grown-up culinary era, with some twenty food-and-drink establishments that have either opened since last year or plan to soon. Here, the latest developments, from locavore sandwiches to nouvelle tasting menus.

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Photo: Map by Jason Lee

1. Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya
187 Orchard St., nr. E. Houston St.; 212-466-0404
The Bromberg brothers’ 150-seat Japanese eatery offers an expansive menu (a large sushi selection, beef marrow with teriyaki, a burger) in the Thompson LES hotel.

2. Whynot Coffee
175 Orchard St., nr. Stanton St.; 646-682-9065; opens Oct. 31
The second location of a West Village coffee shop will exhibit rising artists, but you can still get Blue Bottle coffee and Mille-feuille pastries.

3. New Danny Bowien Project, a.k.a. Mission Cantina
172 Orchard St., at Stanton St.; no phone yet
The tight-lipped chef hasn’t confirmed, but a liquor-license application suggests the corner will soon be home to throngs waiting for Bowien’s take on tacos.

4. Tiny Fork
167 Orchard St., at Stanton St.; 212-777-8469
Windowed doors open to the street in this bright space from the owner of Fat Baby and Spitzer’s Corner. Oysters and the requisite kale Caesar are on the menu; décor is haute lobster shack.

5. Todd’s Mill
162 Orchard St., nr. Stanton St.; 212-995-0300
This late-night alternative for the grown-up but still whiskey-craving set often serves as a holding pen for nearby Mission Chinese Food. The post-midnight burrito special changes nightly ($8).

6. Alegre
146 Orchard St., nr. Rivington St.; no phone yet; opens Jan. 2014
This Mexican venture from Food Network’s Aarón Sánchez (who designed Tacombi’s menu) marks his return to the LES—he was the chef-owner of Ludlow Street’s now-closed Paladar.

7. Sweet Buttons Desserts
84 Rivington St., at Orchard St.; 212-253-8484
A pastry shop from a former wedding-cake baker and FCI grad who specializes in under-$3 miniature treats like a Nutella cupcake.

8. Mi Casa Es Su Casa
140 Orchard St., nr. Rivington St.; 646-861-2377
A Spanish and Pan-Latin menu from an Ecuadoran chef who serves seafood paella, tostones rellenos, and the like.

9. Contra
138 Orchard St., nr. Rivington St.; 212-466-4633
Set menus ($55) from two ambitious chefs who between them have worked at Noma, Fäviken, and Isa. Their style: modern New York.

10. Black Tree
131 Orchard St., nr. Delancey St.; 212-533-4684
Local spirits and hefty sandwiches with similarly sourced ingredients. Try the Fall Pig: pork belly braised in Sixpoint beer with quince preserves, Cheddar, and chocolate mint ($13).

11. Russ & Daughters Café
127 Orchard St., nr. Delancey St.; no phone yet; Feb. 2014
Niki Russ Federman and her cousin and partner, Joshua Russ Tupper, will pair vodka with caviar and aquavit with herring at the 65-seat outpost; at night, the space will host private events.

12. Cafe Dancer
96 Orchard St., nr. Delancey St.; cafedancer.com
A narrow and dark bar popular with the art-gallery crowd, serving affordable food (a $6 grilled cheese; a $10 hummus plate) and drink (cocktails start at $10).

13. Dudley’s
85 Orchard St., at Broome St.; 212-925-7355
The Aussies behind Ruby’s and Kingswood have expanded their empire, because what neighborhood doesn’t need flat whites and Bronte burgers?

14. Irving Farm
88 Orchard St., at Broome St.; 212-228-8880
Long-running coffeehouse 88 Orchard closed in August, then was renovated and reopened by the Hudson Valley roastery.

15. Cafe Katja
79 Orchard St., nr. Broome St.; 212-219-9545
The Austrian spot’s long been loved by neighborhood types for schnitzel and sausages, but especially so after a recent expansion doubled the dining-room size and added lunch.

16. Norman’s Cay
74 Orchard St., nr. Grand St.; 646-481-1229
The owners of the Nantucket-themed Grey Lady look this time to the Bahamas for island-style inspiration, which comes in the form of rum drinks, red-snapper ceviche, and, oddly, the fuselage of a small plane as décor.

17. Fung Tu
22 Orchard St., nr. Canal St.; no phone yet; mid-Nov.
A modern-Chinese restaurant from chef Jonathan Wu, a Per Se veteran, and Nom Wah Tea Parlor owner Wilson Tang; expect plates like wheat noodles in pumpkin-seed sauce.

18. The Leadbelly
14 Orchard St., nr. Canal St.; 646-596-9142
A sibling to the Fat Radish across the street, the bar sets oysters to live music most nights. A $6-cocktail happy hour attracts early crowds that keep going late into the night.

*This article originally appeared in the November 4, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.