Hugh Stubbins, the architect of an iconic skyscraper with an angled roof on Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street, now bears his name on the entrance to a spacious and booming new dining hall called Hugh, which occupies the heart of the building’s ground floor. Originally the Citicorp Center and now owned by Boston Properties, the building opened in 1977 and featured an atrium filled with shops and stalls, an unusual feature that has been described as “a food un.” in the Times. This space has been renewed and refreshed. Around the perimeter of a generous tree-lined central seating area are 17 restaurants, bars and food retailers, an eclectic collection, all with counter service and many with bar stools. They gradually open from this week and offer a glimpse of the appetite of the day. “We see a younger clientele in this neighborhood, people who go downtown or come back to Brooklyn after work, so we’re trying to capture a sense of downtown,” said Anna Castellani, who created DeKalb Market. Hall in Brooklyn, and this dining room with David Swinghamer in partnership with Boston Properties. She stressed that they wanted to provide a more elegant setting than the typical food halls. “We have tried to be true to the building,” she said. There are also a few places outside.
The first to open are Avocaderia, which debuted in Brooklyn; and Thank You Come Again, a place for Thai food by Roongkant Preechathammarach, which passes through Toon Lau and has a number of other restaurants in town. Next will be Pesce Lulu, for Mediterranean seafood; Alidoro’s Italian sandwiches; burgers from BK Jani; Mah-Ze-Dahr bakery; Miznon, for the Israeli tariff; Jumieka, interpreter of Jamaican jerk specialties; and Teranga, a graphically striking branch of chef Pierre Thiam’s West African restaurant in Harlem. Doner kebabs, pizzas and Japanese dishes are coming next month. There will also be a large Joseph Brothers craft beer bar. The founders anticipate a busy crowd starting at happy hour; the space takes on a beautiful shine after dark.
The Hugh, 601 Lexington Avenue (53rd Street).