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C3 opens Citizens New York food hall at Manhattan West

Brands like Umami Burger, Sam’s Crispy Chicken, Krispy Rice part of concepts unveiled in food stalls

C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) by sbe opened its Citizens New York food hall at Manhattan West. The New York City culinary center will combine brick-and-mortar operations with virtual restaurants from C3’s collections of digital brands, including Umami Burger, Sam’s Crispy Chicken, Krispy Rice, Cindy Lou’s Cookies, EllaMia, Plant Nation, and Kumi, as well as new concepts such Sa’Moto, a collection of Chef Morimoto’s favorite Pan-Asian fare, El Pollo Verde, serving rotisserie from Chef Dani Garcia, Cicci Di Carne, a local deli and butcher’s shop helmed by world-renowned Chef Dario Cecchini, and Mediterranean-style Soom Soom Fresh.

In many cases, customers will be ordering directly from brick-and-mortar versions of the mostly-virtual restaurants for the first time ever at 13 different food stalls. As a digital restaurant ecosystem, C3 is powered by the Go by Citizens App, launched in partnership with restaurant tech company Lunchbox. It allows for mix-and-match orders from multiple brands on one single customer ticket.

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The expansive. 40,000 square-foot food hall will also house two fine-dining destinations: Casa Dani and Katsuya. Dani Garcia, a top Spanish chef focuses his Casa Dani concept on “avant-garde cuisine and a menu featuring items inspired by Spain’s Mediterranean south,” according to an announcement. Uechi Katsuya, a master chef bringing superior execution of traditional Japanese to California style cuisine presents Katsuya, which originally debuted in Brentwood, Calif. in 2006, and gained a cult following. Citizens New York is the first Northeast location, preceded by openings in Hollywood, Glendale, and downtown Los Angeles.

“We are thrilled to showcase C3’s portfolio of culinary brands all under one roof,” said Sam Nazarian, C3 founder and chief executive. “Working with world renowned international talent, Citizens New York will provide a unique dining experience for all, serving as a high-energy destination for food and culture.” Nazarian added, “Citizens New York will reinvigorate the culinary scene with C3’s newest offerings and also work to bring together (a) shared community based on a love of food!”

Citizens New York at Manhattan West was designed by award-winning architect David Rockwell. C3 noted, “Citizens’ bold architectural elements include geometric food counters, vibrant imagery, and alluring low lighting to create the ambiance of an upscale restaurant. The marketplace is designed with plenty of open pathways for easy browsing, grab and go, and meal pick up service.”

Nazarian is doubling down on his vision of an immense, flexible, digital-first collection of chef-inspired restaurant brands and growing it to multiple food halls, dark kitchens and 1,000 ghost kitchens. Thus far, C3 is operating 250 ghost kitchens. It also is installing its brands as dark kitchens in TGI Fridays locations, allowing the casual-dining chain to use underutilized kitchen and labor capacity.

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“With Citizens New York, we are turning the typical culinary market on its head, bringing our hospitality point of view to a communal, neighborhood marketplace that enhances and elevates an everyday ritual for workers, tourists, and locals alike,” said David Rockwell, Rockwell Group founder and president.

Added Greg Keffer, Rockwell Group partner and studio leader, “Each full-service restaurant and food stall has a distinctive look and feel, but they are unified through the layering of natural materials and sculptural features. In the market hall, we floated the eateries away from columns to create ample room for people to gather, eat, and people-watch. Varied seating zones energize the space and transform the atmosphere from day to night.”

The new food hall will join Ci Siamo restaurant, by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality, and its Daily Provisions concept, both having opened in late September.

C3 has a new 24,000 square foot Citizens Culinary Market in the development pipeline, opening in Atlanta in 2022, followed by additional culinary centers opening in Seattle, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, and California. In addition, it is operating kitchens within Graduate Hotels national network of properties in top-tier college markets in the United States.

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Internationally, C3 partnered with Kitopi, a GCC managed cloud kitchen platform, for the creation of a Citizens Culinary Market in the United Arab Emirates. Another culinary center, C3 Arabia, will debut in Saudi Arabia as a result of partnering with investment group WK Holding.

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