We know–you have a love/hate relationship with chains. You’re a food-focused person, and you want to sample the best any given town has to offer. But budget and timing often dictate when and where you’ll be dining out–and if you’re a weary traveler, sometimes the comfort of knowing you can eat off of a menu you’re familiar with is more than enough to pull up a chair and ease hunger pains.
Unless you’re staying at the Hilton, which is introducing its very own market concept, Herb N’ Kitchen (New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, 212-586-7000), to give travelers that sense of familiarity they crave while bringing in elements of the local dining scene to help guests taste something new–without even leaving the hotel.
Want to try one of those Pat LaFrieda blends you’ve heard so much about? The market has one ready for you. Too busy prepping for a conference call to trek down to Murray’s Cheese for a leisurely stroll through the cheddar? Order a cheese plate and sample the offerings without the hassle. The market also brought on “Baked in Brooklyn” pita chips, Salty Road salt water taffy, Kings County Jerky, and Tumbador Chocolates–all local foods that give travelers a taste of NYC but can be consumed on-the-go.
Herb N’ Kitchen is also focused on offering the health-conscious a wide selection of options, since those are hard to track down when you’re on the road. See the flax-seed corn tortilla with tomato-mango salsa or the edamame hummus for proof. And while the concept was rolled out to deal with what Hilton saw as a declining demand for room service, you can still have your meal delivered to your door because, well, it is a hotel after all.
Beth Scott, Hilton’s vice president of global product development and food & beverage strategy, sums it up like this: “With casual dining on the rise, Herb N’ Kitchen fulfills the needs of our guests with exactly what they are looking for–healthy, fresh fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; as well as the choice of restaurant dining at their leisure, meals packaged to take away, or in-room delivery for hotel guests.” The group is piloting the concept in Manhattan, she adds, because of the high volume of travelers and the on-the-go nature of the city.
Score another one for New York being the center of the universe–at least for your out-of-town guests. Hit the next page for photos of the new operation.