Manhattan-bound: Philly Restaurants Heading to NYC

Fine Food

What happens when the home of the cheesesteak has served its purpose for young, ambitious chefs? Philadelphia’s star chefs pick up and move to Manhattan.

"It's amazing to look up and all of a sudden realize that Philadelphia is such a bright spot on New York's landscape," Kate Krader, restaurant editor for Food & Wine magazine, said in a New York Times interview. "And these Philadelphia restaurants are bringing a really distinctive point of view."

In a reversal of fortune of sorts, ambitious chefs, who sought and built success in what they found to be a city rich with restaurant opportunity, are sharing their culinary riches with New Yorkers. And they have something to prove (because the sense is that if you haven’t conquered New York, you really haven’t arrived).

Everything in New York is more difficult, and that is especially true in the restaurant business.

"People warned me not to go to New York because everything is harder — the contractors, the customers, the health department, and the rent, which is quadruple what I pay in Old City," Han Dynasty's Han Chiang told the New York Times. "But I love to do things when people tell me I can't."

Chiang brings with him a customer service edge lacking among his NYC competitors, who believe they will always have customers no matter how they treat them. Chiang believes in really knowing his customers to provide a level of intimacy uncommon in New York.

For Philly chefs like Steven Cook, New York is actually a return to his roots. Cook, who is opening a branch of his Dizengoff hummus cafe in Chelsea Market, says New York is where he “fell in love” with restaurants — and where he learned to cook. Read more