Celebrity Spanish chef José Andrés has announced the opening of Mercado Little Spain at 10 Hudson Yards in New York City next spring. The 35,000-square-foot food hall has been conceived by the chef’s company, ThinkFoodGroup.
Mercado Little Spain will include three restaurants focused on Spanish cuisine, and more than a dozen food stalls and kiosks, which will serve tapas, pintxos, pastries, and cocktails. The concept is similar to that of Eataly.
“The food will be everything you can imagine about Spain,” Andrés told Bloomberg. “Mercado will be a place where you can go to one window for garlic shrimp, and then to another one for bocadillos [sandwiches]. It will be a place for your coffee, for your sangria, your sherry to eat with your tapas, as if you were at [Barcelona’s famed market] La Boqueria.”
The seafood at Mercado will be shipped-in daily, and there will also be a selection of cured meats and Ibérico ham. The market will also feature salads, sausages, and sweets, such as churros, as well as wine, cider, vermouth, and cocktails. There will also be shops selling Spanish olive oil, vinegar, spices, cookware, and gift baskets.
Mercado Little Spain, which is Andrés’ first New York project, will have the support of Ferran and Albert Adrià, two renowned Spanish chefs. The Adrià brothers owned elBulli, considered the best restaurant in the world. “Jose’s experience in America all these years makes us trust him,” says Ferran Adrià. “If it hadn’t been him, neither Albert nor I would have participated. We have full confidence in him.”
The chefs are keeping much of the information regarding Mercado a secret, though some announcements have been made. Andrés will debut a new product at the market, a blue cheese called Rey Silo. “This was a dream of mine, of making a blue cheese—something to offer people besides Cabrales. This is an astonishing cheese, buttery and soft, with beautiful intensity,” he says.
The project is being promoted in partnership with Hudson Yard developers Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group. “I have a great partnership with Stephen Ross [Related’s founder] and Related. They gave me the opportunity to do a much bigger space. I’ve had chances to do a 12-seat restaurant here, other projects. But go big or go home,” Andrés said.
Despite his fame, Andrés believes the project is still a risk, especially since it’s in New York. “I’m 48, I’m risking a lot; I’m risking the last 25 years of my life. This is a big project for me and my company. But I think it’s a good gamble.”
With Mercado, Andrés hopes to honor the European immigrants that helped build the city and its identity and to create his own corner of Spain in Manhattan. The chef, who has opened nine restaurants in 2018, now has 30 eateries across the country, including Michelin-starred Barmini in Washington, DC, and Bazaar by Jose Andrés in Los Angeles. In 2017, he made significant humanitarian contributions to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017, and he has recently traveled to Guatemala to offer aid following a volcanic eruption.
Of his first trip to Manhattan, Andrés says, “I still remember the first time I came to New York. I was in the Spanish Navy on a beautiful four-mast sailing ship. I remember coming under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, seeing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on my left. I knew I would be back.”