Square Meals: How to Eat Your Way Through NYC This Spring

The Hylands are bringing their expert pizza to Williamsburg.EXPAND
The Hylands are bringing their expert pizza to Williamsburg.
Bradley Hawks

A Square Meal

"It took over our lives," Emily Hyland tells the Voice, reminiscing about launching Emily, the quirky pizzeria that she and husband Matt opened in Clinton Hill as first-time restaurateurs two years ago. Now the Hylands are gearing up to open Emmy Squared (364 Grand Street, Brooklyn, pizzalovesemily.com), a sibling pie parlor in Williamsburg. The couple has teamed up with pizzaiolo Lou Tomczak, formerly of Greenpoint Neapolitan haven Paulie Gee's, to develop a menu of fluffy and crunchy Detroit-style square pizzas, as well as Italian-American sandwiches including chicken, meatball, and eggplant parmigiana. This rarely encountered (in New York City, at least) regional pizza style flips the craft on its head, layering cheese and other toppings directly onto the dough before finishing things off with a generous ladling of sauce. Cooked in a traditional gas deck oven, the Detroit pie assumes a serious char on the edges while the inside remains yeasty and soft. And though their Williamsburg space has room for fifty, a stark contrast to the original's intimacy, Emily maintains that the new digs will be steeped in just as much kitschy comfort: Decorations, she says, will likely come from "raiding our parents' houses for cool antiques and wall art." The second location also features an expanded bar area and 23 beers on tap, so expect bar bites like gochujang-spiced wings and the likely appearance of the famous Emmy burger. "We know people would really like burgers," Matt says, referring to one of our favorite patties around town, which boasts dry-aged beef and a pretzel bun. — Zachary Feldman

Bacon and Beer Classic
April 22–23
Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens, baconandbeerclassic.com 

Anticipate porcine-centric bites from more than forty local restaurants and suds from fifty regional breweries including Gun Hill Brewing Co., Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, and Bad Seed Cider. Look, too, for Jenga, a bungee run, a bacon-eating contest, and a photo booth. (Three sessions spread across two days are intended to mitigate long lines.) A panel of judges is awarding winners for Best Overall Bacon Dish; the chosen few will compete against one another in this year's World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Florida. — Sara Ventiera

Vegetarian Food Festival
May 7–8
Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, nycvegfoodfest.com

At this plant-based gathering, join celebrity chefs and vegan advocates, including Chopped contestant Charles Chen, Vedge chefs-owners Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, and Vegan Roadie Dustin Harder. In addition to restaurants and cruelty-free vendors, the event features a series of TED-style talks with authors, physicians, and nonprofit representatives. — Sara Ventiera

Harlem EatUp!
May 19–22
Various locations, harlemeatup.com

Honoring the cuisine and arts scene of its namesake neighborhood, this four-day fair — spearheaded by co-founders Marcus Samuelsson and Herb Karlitz and honorary chair Bill Clinton — hosts collaborative dinners as well as a two-day outdoor tasting at Morningside Park. Alex Guarnaschelli, Jacques Torres, and Nyesha Arrington are among the guest chefs. — Sara Ventiera

Claus Meyer
Claus Meyer
Illustration by Stanley Chow

Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen
115 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, carlahallsouthernkitchen.com 

Nashville native and host of The Chew Carla Hall is bringing her hometown's infamous poultry dish to Cobble Hill. Inspired by hearty Sunday dinners at her grandmother's house, Hall is highlighting cayenne-coated bird along with meat-free renditions of southern sides (think smoked onion and paprika-infused collards and potato salad). After numerous construction setbacks, the place is now slated to debut in April. — Sara Ventiera

Sen Sakana
28 West 44th Street

Peru's large population of Japanese immigrants has made an indelible mark on the country's cuisine. Sen Sakana — opening in April — celebrates this union. Led by executive chef (and Peruvian descendant) Mina Newman and Japanese-born Taku Nagai, the concept features sushi, ceviche, anticuchos, and items from a robata grill. — Sara Ventiera

Agern + Great Northern Food Hall
89 East 42nd Street

Noma co-founder Claus Meyer is launching his first U.S. ventures with a bang. In April, his Nordic-influenced American endeavors commence with Agern, a seasonally driven restaurant and bar helmed by executive chef Gunnar Gíslason, previously of the Reykjavik fine-dining mecca Dill. Agern is adjacent to Meyer's Great Northern Food Hall (set to open in May), a 5,000-square-foot space with five food pavilions and a bar, in Grand Central's Vanderbilt Hall. — Sara Ventiera

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