Christopher Jaskiewicz, COO of Gotham Organization, tells us about his vision for Gotham West Market, the dining experience with a difference putting 11th Avenue on the culinary map.
Imost a year ago, Gothamv West Market, a first-of- its-kind retail and dining destination opened at the base of a luxury high-rise in Hell’s Kitchen. The 10,000 square foot retail and dining court is divided into eight culinary stalls, each providing a unique amenity for residents and the surrounding community. We caught up with Gotham Organization’s COO Christopher Jaskiewicz, to find out if his plans for an original, upscale food court have taken off.
“We knew we wanted to do something special” says Jaskiewicz. “We have a very unique, high-luxury, residential rental building that might be the nicest in New York City, so we wanted to match the uniqueness of the building with the retail space.”
GWM has become an important part of the fabric for tenants of the high-end high-rise that sits atop the retail space, but as Jaskiewicz explains, to sustain a big business like this you need more than just tenants dining in. “We’ve designed this so people come in and have an experience – at the very beginning, we were really focused on that. We were aware of the sightlines and that’s why we’ve put all of the back of house, all the storage, in the basement.”
Inside the market visitors can sample the cured meats and international beers at The Cannibal, slurp on some classic and very tasty Ramen noodles from Ivan Ramen, and wash it all down with a Blue Bottle Coffee. Five other vendors complete the food hall, and each stall has communal tables, with garage door-style windows opening to seating outside. The system also allows you to roam as you’d like… buy a drink from one vendor then wander to another to eat. Something that seems obvious but when considered with an eye on New York’s alcohol laws actually took a lot of finessing to pull off.
When choosing the experts to help create this mini foodie community, Jaskiewicz had his sights set on market-leading chefs, highly-respected in their field, with a track record of success in New York.
“They also had to provide offerings that complemented each other,” he explains. “We probably interviewed 50 different potential operators before we
settled on this group.”
Jaskiewicz is proud to admit that, a year on from opening, the project has replicated its blueprint… well almost: “We never used the term food court until a major publication referred to us as ‘the best new food court in America’ so ever since then we’ve been fine with it.”
So, 12 months on, what impact has this unique dining experience had on the neighborhood? “I don’t want to be too self complimentary, but it seems like we’ve created almost an instant icon in Hell’s Kitchen, for quality food,beverages, entertainment and events.” adds Jaskiewicz. “We were very fortunate to find operators who had a vision and could recognize the future growth points and important things happening on this side of town.”
Jaskiewicz is a strong advocate for the growth of the surrounding area and is keen to highlight some of the location’s strong points. “I think Hell’s Kitchen is a fascinating area with a lot of history. My favorite spot is the Intrepid Museum, that’s an important museum to the US. That ship has served us through four wars, and survived five kamikaze attacks.”
He is also a fan of the nearby Hudson River Park and the 30-mile bike path that stretches around Manhattan, sitting just a block away. He adds: “We are not in the middle of Midtown but many, if not most people, don’t want to live right in the middle of Midtown. They want to have a little bit of an adventure to get to their apartment, but still be very convenient to other amenities”
During the past year, Gotham West Market has delivered a successful world-class food hall which is today renowned for its cutting-edge cuisine. We sense many more years ahead for America’s foremost food court.