The Downtown Alliance Presents: 30 Under 30

12/13/2022 in
The Downtown Alliance Presents: 30 Under 30

As 2022 wraps up, the lists roll in. Critics celebrate the year’s best movies and albums. Websites recall the funniest memes. Even Forbes launches an annual 30 Under 30 feature, highlighting all the bright young things in the entrepreneurial world. 

Not to be left out of the list-making business, the Downtown Alliance has compiled its own 30 Under 30. That’s right: 30 of the many outstanding businesses that operate below 30th. Granted, all of our selections reside comfortably within our district boundaries south of Chambers Street, so we’re taking artistic license with the whole “under 30” thing. No matter! Here, you’ll discover a lovely array of shops, restaurants, salons, pubs and neighborhood standbys — all ready to serve, and you should absolutely frequent them all. 

1. Art To Ware

Upcycling is often much better for the environment than recycling, because, for one, it actually works. Celebrate the spirit of creative reuse with the women- and minority-owned fashion brand Art To Ware, which has launched a pop-up shop at the Oculus. The boutique features a curated selection of one-of-a-kind garments and accessories, all made from upcycled materials — and from a new generation of up-and-coming, socially conscious style purveyors.

2. Zaza Diner

Zaza Diner (104 Greenwich Street) has 11 pages of menu for you to flip through before deciding which of the dozens of melts, panini and hot sandwiches to devour. There’s also a requisite selection of never-ending breakfast plates from which to choose (e.g. chocolate-chip pancakes for the table). And, if there’s still room, go for one of their milk shakes for $7 — and customize the flavor (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry) and its additions (Oreo crumbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Nutella) all by yourself.  

3. Fountain Pen Hospital

Slow, quiet writing that doesn’t involve your thumbs on a tiny screen is something we could all use right now. According to the Fountain Pen Hospital (10 Warren Street), writing with a fountain pen isn’t just good for your brain. It’s a style statement. That’s why the tastefully unassuming storefront has remained a Lower Manhattan staple since its 1946 opening. The handsome shop is more museum than hospital, with thousands of fountain, rollerball and ballpoint pens behind glass cases, along with ink, notebooks and the know-how to repair anything.

4. West Bank Gourmet

Sandwiches named after celebrities are a New York tradition, but few do it as well as West Bank Gourmet (21 West Street). Sometimes they also cost nearly $20, but not here. The low-key shop and deli counter really delivers when it comes to sandwiches options, offering hot and cold delights for a workday lunch or a to-go treat for taking to one of the nearby parks, all at a great value. Here are four sandwiches you’ve got to try.

5. Voyager Espresso

When it comes to Voyager Espresso, both the coffee and interiors battle for center stage. Located in the underground passageway leading to the 2 / 3 trains (110 William Street), commuters can enjoy the cafe’s sleek ambience to or from their subway stop. Better yet, opt for a refreshing Sparkling Lavender Lemonade. A mixture of fresh-squeezed lemonade, sparkling water, lavender syrup and butterfly pea flower tea is, for coffee fiends and sweet tooths alike, a pretty unbeatable thirst quencher for when you’re making your way to the office.

6. Industry Kitchen

For outdoor dining, you can hardly do any better than sitting only directly on the edge of the East River, with views of the Brooklyn Bridge and tall ships at the Seaport. Industry Kitchen’s location right on the East River Greenway makes it a picturesque place to hang out on a beautiful day, but its menu of simply prepared American cuisine is what makes it really stand out. Here are seven dishes perfect for outdoor dining during any season.

7. Carmen’s Kitchen

If you’ve noticed long lunchtime lines forming outside on an unassuming storefront on Nassau Street, you’ve probably stumbled upon Carmen’s Kitchen, a local chainlet that opened a Lower Manhattan outpost a few months ago. Since its downtown debut, Carmen’s has netted a cult following among Lower Manhattan lunchers, and for good reason — it serves up tasty chicken, fish, beef and pork dishes along with a slew of sides, all for under $15.

8. Shinjuku Deli

A huge selection of ramen, mochi, flavored Kit Kats, bento boxes and tons of snacks imported from Asia can now be found in Lower Manhattan, thanks to a new Japanese deli. Shinjuku Japanese Deli (127 John Street) opened in the spring and has already earned lots of fans with its grab-and-go lunches, huge selection and rare offerings. The store is compact but tightly packed with all sorts of hard-to-find Japanese chips, desserts, drinks, Pocky and other snacks, and the in-house kitchen makes it a great option for a quick lunch spot.

9. Seeds & Weeds

Jean-Georges’s the Tin Building opened in September to great fanfare, bringing a whole new slate of upscale dining options to the neighborhood. Among the famed chef’s offerings in the historic, renovated space at 96 South Street is a new vegan and vegetarian restaurant called Seeds & Weeds. Don’t let the name fool you, though; there are lots of hearty and filling options on the menu at the cozy, rustic new second floor spot. Here are five must-try dishes.

10. Di Fara Pizza

The famed pizzeria that for ages maintained global-destination status at its sole location in deep Brooklyn (RIP, Dom DeMarco), has been firing up the oven at the Seaport. Stationed under the FDR at 108 South Street, the newest location is serving the same classic slices in the neighborhood that kept the lines long and the Food Network cameras rolling at its original Avenue J shop. The owners and operators of the new spot celebrated its opening weekend by — how else? — taking to Instagram.

11. Sushi & Co.

An underappreciated form of lunch is the lunch date. An even more underappreciated form is the lunch date where you can dine on forbidden food like an ancient emperor. Enter: Sushi & Co. (67 Nassau Street), an ideal haunt to scarf down some big boxes of sushi at an inconspicuous summer lunch for two. What’s more, Sushi & Co. is also home to black sushi, a premium sushi made from natural black rice — a rice once considered forbidden because it was only served to the emperor for its nutritional content. The menu features make-your-own-sushi boxes, udon noodles, bento boxes and much more.  

12. Mike’s Barber Shop

Mike’s Barber Shop (29 John Street) is the kind of welcoming, nondescript spot that Lower Manhattan commuters depend upon to keep those sideburns even and napes of the neck neat — a reliably reliable place to keep clean for a decent price, and without the need for frills. Cuts range from $20 to $30. Beard trims are $20 and a cleanup on that neck scruff is $15. Regulars who have posted online attest to good conversation and solid service upon every visit, and that, if barber chatter isn’t your thing, Mike’s got Netflix streaming on the big screen.

13. Pasanella & Son

No time like the present to drink a glass or seventeen of a vintage red or crisp white, and one fabulous wine shop at 115 South Street — Pasanella & Son — has a wide inventory of both unique and affordable varieties on hand for you to imbibe. The local shop has really sleek gift-packaging looks, too, with include their own signature paper and saddle-stitched grosgrain ribbon with hand-letterpress note cards. Treat your drinking pals to a few bottles.

14. Kidville

Adults have salons and spas to serve their self-care needs. Kids have Kidville. The national chain, which has a Lower Manhattan location at 40 Gold Street, bills itself as a neighborhood piazza for the playground set, offering pre-school classes as well as studios for music, art and dance; there are also play areas, party space, a hair salon and a boutique selling kids toys and books. It’s the perfect place for tots to hang out as the city weather turns cooler, and kids and parents alike look for some safe indoor entertainment and education.

15. Brooklyn Beef ’N Cheese

Close readers of our blog are likely familiar with Brooklyn Beef ‘N Cheese, burrowed in the confines of 70 Pine Street’s City Acres Market and in great supply of all sorts of cholesterol-wrecking fare. With that in mind, might we call your attention to proprietor Jesse Brownfeld’s most popular item of greasy artistry: the Brooklyn-style cheese steak.

16. Leo’s Bagels

When Adam Pomerantz first left the world of high finance for the world of bagels, he approached it with the passion of a perfectionist. Apprenticing for an Egyptian bagel baker in New Jersey, Pomerantz learned everything he could about how to create hand-rolled, torus-shaped doughy deliciousness of his own. In 2007 he brought his expertise to Lower Manhattan, opening Leo’s Bagels (3 Hanover Square): named after his great uncle, who hailed from Eastern Europe, the birthplace of the bagel. If there’s anyone to ask how to best consume a bagel, it’s him. Here’s what Pomerantz recommends for the best possible bagel experience.

17. Xi’an Famous Foods

The Xi’an Famous Foods outpost at 8 Liberty Place is one of a dozen locations in the city that has been serving delectable hand-pulled noodles doused in signature chili oil since founder Jason Wang first opened in the basement of Flushing’s Golden Mall in 2005. Lower Manhattanites lucky enough to be in the area for lunch or dinner can opt for one or 15 of Xi’an’s incredible Shaanxi-style dishes, which range from spicy lamb burgers, to pork dumplings in soup, to thick, hearty noodles with pork and vegetables. Here are three of our favorite dishes

18. Nassau Bar

Through it all, this classic dive at 118 Nassau Street has survived, and remains one of Manhattan’s last “bikini bars”; it still opens with Monday-to-Friday happy hours starting at 11 a.m., too. (118 Nassau Street)

19. Monk McGinn’s

From the weather to …. everything else, everyone could use a big hearty brunch right now. One of the best places to do it is Monk McGinn’s (57 Murray Street), a cozy Irish pub with wood floors, exposed brick walls, plenty of room and an inviting menu of hearty options to start your weekend with. The brunch is ideal for early birds or late risers: It starts at 10 a.m. and goes ‘til 4 p.m. on the weekends, and features belly-filling dishes like a traditional Irish breakfast with Irish sausage, Irish bacon, black and white pudding, two eggs, baked beans, french fries and toast.

20. Taim

Taim means “tasty” in Hebrew, but in Lower Manhattan it’s also shorthand for “affordable, satisfying lunch.” The beloved local chain that serves up falafel, shawarma and sabich has added exciting new menu items (which you can get at its 75 Maiden Lane location). Everything is available in a bowl or a pita, making it the perfect meal to grab and enjoy outside in the summer sunshine. Here are five things to try.

21. Bridge Nail and Spa

Reviewers call this salon at 31 Bridge Street an affordable, clean, quick and efficient spot, conveniently located on a busy stretch of turf.

22. Kollective Klub

No need to just sneak a peek at this fashion boutique: Kollective Klub at 47 Ann Street opened in October and is destined to become the neighborhood’s go-to spot for sneakerheads. It’s got dozens of the hottest footwear lining its walls with several retro throwback styles for sale, from Louis Vuitton red Nikes to Jordan 4 retros. The storefront is the place to buy the latest kicks, sell some of your stash or trade for new ones. It offers clothes and other goodies for sale in the shop, too.

23. Gunbae

Eating barbecued meat before belting out your favorite songs in a karaoke room is a vaunted tradition in Korean restaurants. Gunbae (67 Murray Street) is your chance to try it with one of the best of both worlds in Lower Manhattan. It has a menu full of exclusive cuts of meat, from Wagyu Kalbi to T-bone steaks, plus vegetarian and gluten-free options. Once you finish the cocktails and soju sampling in its sleek upstairs dining room, it’s time to head downstairs to the private karaoke rooms.

24. McNally Jackson Books

It’s a great time to be a lover of both great bookstores and great bookstore events. At McNally Jackson’s gorgeous Seaport location (4 Fulton Street), a number of live book talks are always on deck. Such events usually require RSVP and either a ticket or book purchase, and McNally Jackson also maintains a number of virtual events, too. See the full calendar for details.

25. Jacob’s Shoe Repair

Get your shoes shined while swapping out your watch band or battery at Jacob’s (25 Maiden Lane), where reviewers praise the fast service.

26. The Paris Cafe

The Seaport’s bar and restaurant at 119 South Street was established in 1873 — and still maintains a beautifully restored German Victorian bar and handsome brick walls. The menu features dishes inspired by Napoleon himself, and the bar counts Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, Lauren Bacall and Butch Cassidy among its patrons over the years. Today’s patrons can catch glimpses of the Brooklyn Bridge in the East River while dining outdoors, or cozy up to the bar and watch a game on the bar’s many TVs indoors.

27. Fraunces Tavern

The historic Revolutionary-era pub and restaurant (54 Pearl Street) where George Washington would dine also, FYI, has an upstairs piano bar. The bar operates Thursday to Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight, and there’s no cover charge. Music comes from a pianist and vocalist singing off-Broadway showtunes, and the bar staff joins in sometimes, too.

28. Tansey Tang

If you’re walking quickly, you may pass the unassuming storefront of Tansey Tang Cultured Pearls (93 Nassau Street) and miss out on the abundance of handmade jewelry adorning its packed shelves. Behind a counter completely covered in crystals, gems and pearls, owner Tansey spends most of her time stringing necklaces, making repairs or working on her next custom piece of jewelry. In operation since 2002, the shop has brought handmade, affordable jewelry to the residents and employees of Lower Manhattan for 20 years.

29. The Hideaway Seaport

This neighborhood favorite occupies a cozy space in the Seaport at 22 Peck Slip, with exposed, red-brick walls, handsome archway windows, exposed wood rafters and ample outdoor seating. Hideaway calls itself an “elevated gastropub,” that mixes local food with “a little bit of rock and roll.” The bar earned a write-up from Goop for its laid-back vibe, homemade burgers and good cocktail list.

30. Badshah 

This Indian kitchen (80 Nassau Street) for dine-in or takeout with as much excitement on its menu as the exclamation point in its name, featuring lots of curries and sandwiches. 

If you like what you see here, there’s so much more downtown. Check out our Shop Dine Guide for more restaurants, bars, shops and other businesses you can visit in Lower Manhattan.

Tags: 30 under 30

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