Starting to navigate the waters of being social again, we look forward to parties with excitement and gratitude. And for a bride-to-be, finally being able to celebrate her upcoming marriage with her closest friends is not only fun, but also relieves the stress of wedding planning (which most likely involved the added headache of rescheduled dates and modified visions). Thus, the tradition of throwing a bridal shower is more important now than ever.
Just about every sector of the New York City business community has been impacted by Covid-19. Perhaps no industry suffered more than hospitality. We have watched with broken hearts as doors closed to both iconic NYC establishments as well as our favorite neighborhood spots to grab a bite. Yet, in the face of all this loss, a handful of restaurants somehow managed to launch and operate during the pandemic.
We all know the combination of setting, ambiance, and food makes for an unforgettable social gathering. These just-opened restaurants hit all the marks for hosting your pre-wedding festivities. From charming to sophisticated to worldly, here are 5 new restaurants in New York City perfect for a bridal shower.
Veranda (23 Grand St.)
Located on a second floor deck at the intersection of Soho and Tribeca, Veranda is headed by a premier team that includes Michelin-star chef George Mendes, catering specialist Abigail Kirsch, and mixologist Johnny Swet. Boasting a chic atmosphere accented with natural touches, the restaurant offers indoor and outdoor patios along with a space for private events. Veranda is the ideal choice for a bridal party made up of foodies. Drawing from his Portuguese heritage as well as flavors unique to Mexico, Southeast Asia, and Japan, Mendes has cultivated a menu, which he describes as “anchored in modern American cuisine. America is a bounty of immigrants.”
Gage & Tollner (372 Fulton St.)
For 125 years, Gage & Tollner served as a beloved restaurant where New Yorkers not only came to enjoy fine cuisine and service, but also to celebrate life events such as birthdays, graduations, and even weddings. Despite being designated as a landmark, it closed in 2004. But thanks to the efforts of a successful crowdfunding campaign, Gage & Tollner reopened its doors in March 2020 to great fanfare. Gleaming with historic flourish, the interior is laid out in mahogany tables, burgundy leather and velvet booths, grand mirrors, and ornate lighting. Chef Sohui Kim and partners St. John Frizell and Ben Schneider intend Gage & Tollner to once again be the place where people come for an incredible dining experience while sharing special moments with family and friends that will last a lifetime. Kim researched the Brooklyn chophouse’s original dishes to create a menu that approaches legacy with a modern sensibility – many ingredients are sourced from local farmers.
Blume (1652 2nd Ave.)
Blume is that hidden gem of a restaurant that you only want to let your dearest friends, or bridesmaids, know about. Tucked underneath Schaller’s Stube Sausage Bar on the Upper East Side, Blume takes shape as a secret garden paradise decorated with colorful chairs, vintage tables, and a magical wisteria and cherry blossom installation by ES Blooms. In addition to the intimate, cozy ambiance, it offers a specially curated list of Austrian wines alongside a menu that includes cheese & charcuterie boards, gravlax with toast, and a butcher burger with gruyére and house aioli.
Sona (36 E 20th St.)
And for the celebrity-backed establishment on our list, we shine the spotlight on Sona. Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas is a partner at the fine-dining restaurant, which serves traditional Indian cuisine with a modern twist. Located in the Flat Iron District, Sona (which means “gold”) offers a delectable menu mixing signature dishes with traditional Indian recipes – standouts include the stuffed chicken wings, pink snapper ceviche, goan fish curry, and butter chicken. Leave room for dessert – the chocolate gateaux and plum jalebi (cardamom ice cream, almond mawa cake, plum caramel) are life-changing. The stylish, warm interior doubles as an art gallery highlighting Indian painters. With all the delicious, meatless options, Sona is a great choice if you have vegetarians in the group.
Olmstead (659 Vanderbilt Ave.)
Chef and owner Greg Baxtrom established Olmstead in Prospect Heights with the goal of it becoming a neighborhood restaurant that doubles as a blueprint for urban farm-to-table programming. The most-seasoned restaurant on our list, Olmstead opened in 2017 and was a James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant Finalist that year. The seasonal menu is packed with fresh ingredients picked straight from the back garden, which is lined with cushioned benches and tables for guests to eat and drink outside. In additional to the innovative menu that currently includes Summer Squash Som Tum, Carrot Crepes, and S’mores (made with house marshmallows, ginger snaps, and Hershey’s chocolate), there’s an incredible natural, producer-driven wine list curated by wine director Zwann Grays. Here, you and your friends can eat, drink and be merry all while being sustainably conscious.
Food, drinks, and atmosphere often form the foundational pyramid for life’s greatest moments such as celebrating a best friend’s upcoming wedding. From modern, innovative, and multicultural to historic and rich with tradition, these restaurants are a true reflection of everything that makes New York City one of the greatest cities in the world. To see how they have been able to survive and thrive during one of the most challenging times in recent history underscores the strength and resilience of NYC, giving hope for the future.
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