My Pick for America’s Next Great Restaurant
March 7th, 2011 by plumpdumpling

Thanks to a tip from Grub Street, my boyfriend and I hurried to Grand Central on Friday afternoon to pig out on foods inspired by the new NBC show “America’s Next Great Restaurant” and have our picture taken with Bobby Flay so I could later deface it with inappropriate Sharpie drawings.

The pop-up automat was serving mac & cheese, marinated chickpeas, grilled cheese, fried chicken sliders, and Spanish meatballs to preview some of the ideas presented by the would-be restauranteurs on last night’s premiere episode:

America's Next Great Restaurant Grand Central Pop-Up

Bobby wasn’t anywhere to be seen, but the meatball made up for it:

America's Next Great Restaurant Grand Central Pop-Up

Did any of you catch the show? It was especially interesting to watch from NYC (and other major cities, I imagine), because so many of the “novel” ideas for a new “fast casual” restaurant were foods we’ve been feasting on for years here. Anyone writing about food in New York has been to Meatball Shop, and anyone breathing has eaten a healthy wrap.

But some of the ideas were truly new, and I’m especially excited that so many of them were geared toward healthier eating. Based purely on the first episode alone, my vote is for Sandra Digiovanni, who pitched a restaurant concept called Limbo, where diners can choose from two versions of the offered dishes: the total-indulgence version or the lighter one.

2 Responses  
  • Dishy writes:
    March 7th, 20113:26 pmat

    NEATO! Haven’t seen the show but sounds like something I’d enjoy. As far as an automat goes, I really wish they’d bring those back. Pop your quarter into a slot, open the door and dig in. And YES, I’d like to only pay a quarter. :)

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      March 9th, 201110:40 amat

      Kamran really likes actual cooking shows, but I secretly like the game show aspect of the ones like this. It looks like the contestants are going to have to flesh out their menus, marketing, design, and staff over the course of the season, so it should be an interesting show.

      There used to be a really cool-looking automat on St. Mark’s that I’d pass all the time. It was all neon pink and green and looked Japanese-y. But I never went in, and it closed down eventually. So no automat for me.

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