In his most ambitious project to date, chef and restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten will fill the Seaport District’s Tin Building with markets, food counters and restaurants, which will open in the spring.
Mr. Vongerichten’s company will manage everything in the 53,000 square foot space.
Built on Manhattan’s waterfront in 1907, the corrugated iron clad building originally housed the Fulton Fish Market, which moved to Hunts Point in the Bronx in 2005. After the fish market left, the building was eventually moved, dismantled and replicated 32 feet from its original South Street location, set back from the freeway and closer to the East River. It was raised over six feet and supported by a new foundation to replace the crumbling wooden pillars.
Mr. Vongerichten has been working on the project with Howard Hughes Corporation, the developer of the seaport, since 2014.
“I remember the original building,” Mr. Vongerichten said, recalling his early days as a chef in New York City from 1986. “It was a very funky, smelly market, but you could see the sun come out. “
A retail fish market, which Vongerichten says will sell “restaurant-grade seafood,” will welcome visitors near the entrance, one of many fresh produce stations for the central market, the heart of the complex. A footbridge will connect the building to Pier 17, a dining and entertainment center.
The building’s stands and stores, designed by Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors, will be outfitted with elegant brass ribbons, turned wood detailing and marble surfaces to contrast with the building’s industrial envelope. The stalls will have counters for a quick bite, like a plate of oysters and a glass of wine.
Mr Vongerichten and the developers expect a mix of locals, tourists and other New Yorkers, including Brooklynians arriving by ferry, to be drawn to the market.
The Tin Building will offer six full-service restaurants. The very French T.Brasserie, selling roast chickens, will open on the market area and will have terraces. An intimate 19-seat sushi and sake restaurant, Shikku, will transform into a late-night izakaya. Another part of the market will sell the chef’s condiments and other private label products, a new adventure for him. On the second floor, accessible by the escalator, is Frenchman’s Dough, which serves pizza and pasta. In addition, Seeds & Weeds, a restaurant offering plant-based dishes, and the ultra-luxurious House of the Red Pearl, with sumptuous aquamarine banquettes and an open kitchen for Chinese cuisine designed by Mr. Vongerichten. The chefs have not yet been appointed.
More relaxed will be six counters and cafes. Double Yolk for breakfast, T Café and Bakery for baked goods and sandwiches, pancake and dosa stalls, plus a sparkling candy and ice cream shop with a Dutch door for street side service, all on the ground floor. Upstairs, there will be Taquito for Mexican tacos, a craft beer bar, and cooking studio that will host classes and demonstrations, and also serve as a professional recording studio. The kitchens will be on the third floor. A small museum on the ground floor will have exhibits explaining the history of the market.
The Tin Building, 96 South Street (across from Beekman Street), tinbuilding.com.