Inside Essex Market’s Sprawling, Stunning New Lower East Side Home

by Stefanie Tuder | @stefanietuder

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 Street Market just got a serious glow-up. The city-owned food hall and market went from a dingy, low-ceilinged building to a state-of-the-art, award-winning-architect-designed space that has floor-to-ceiling windows, an impossibly high sloped ceiling, and all-new kitchens and stalls. It’s three times the size and even has a shortened new name: Essex Market.

Of the 21 legacy vendors, longtime restaurants, including Ni Japanese Deli (Japanese snacks), Dominican Cravings (empanadas and lunch plates), and Puebla Mexican Food (tacos and burritos) are revived here. Bodega-inspired sandwiches from Smorgasburg-started Heros & Villains, Thai-style chicken from Eat Gai, and Peruvian marinated fish from Don Ceviche are three of the 16 new options, and two full-service restaurants will open down the line.

The full list of vendors at this 79-year-old market, which also houses butchers, spice shops, fishmongers, and groceries, is here. It’s part of a much bigger project. This new location — at 88 Essex St., at Delancey Street — is a part of the Essex Crossing development, a 1.9 million-square-foot complex with retail, office space, apartments, and parks.

Perhaps most highly anticipated in this move is the latest iteration of Shopsin’s, that cult-beloved, quirky, and sometimes exclusive diner. After the recent death of its larger-than-life leader Kenny Shopsin, daughter Melinda was apprehensive about the change. She’s now running the show with her twin sister Tamara and brother Zack. “I was afraid that something was going to be lost. This is our fourth move now,” she says.

But because the process began about five years ago, Melinda started planning it with her late father, who she’s sure “would have fucking loved it here.” “I’ve come to a zen place and realized wherever we are is where we are and that’s okay,” she says.