$378G raised for Union Square Park from record-breaking Harvest event

Rooda Shankar of sweetgreen

Roopa Shankar of sweetgreen

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Union Square Partnership raised more than $378,000 for the 21st annual Harvest in the Square that took place at the end of last month, raising more than in any previous year. The amount brings the fundraising total to more than $5,728,000 in the last two decades.

Since it started in 1995, the event has grown to include more than 50 local restaurants and 15 wineries and breweries, including old neighborhood favorites like Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe and Blue Water Grill, as well as newcomers like The Poke Spot, sweetgreen, Cava Grill and Flats Fix.

Salad-focused sweetgreen has only been in the neighborhood since last December but Roopa Shankar, who attended her first Harvest this year, said that she talked to attendees from previous years who noticed a definite increase in restaurants similar to the DC-based chain.

“There’s a lot more fast-casual food that’s also healthy this year,” she said.

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Crowd comes out for Taste of Stuy Town

Dan and John's Wings (Photos by Maya Rader)

Dan and John’s Wings (Photos by Maya Rader)

By Maya Rader

Last weekend, the weekly Stuyvesant Town greenmarket wasn’t the only way to get fresh food on the Oval. On Saturday, September 24, about 450 people gathered there for the Taste of Stuy Town food festival. The food was free for all Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper residents at the now-annual event.

Attendees were given a little cardboard box in which to place their samples, then walked by the stands and got their food from vendors like Five Stuy Café, Crif Dogs NY, Big Mozz Sticks, Dan & John’s Wings, People’s Pops, Wonder + Well drinks and Butter Lane cupcakes.

Sean Rodden, a worker at Dan & John’s Wings, said, “Today’s been crazy successful for us. We just keep looking up and that line just doesn’t stop.”

There was also live music by the band Jeff Slate & Friends.

Click through for photos from the event.

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T&V’s search for the best burgers

The vegetarian edition: By Chloe vs. Shake Shack

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

T&V is on a quest to find the best hamburger in the neighborhood but for this installment, we wanted to check out the options available to vegetarians. Any self-respecting meat lover knows that vegetarian alternatives often pale in comparison to the real thing, but sometimes if the healthier option doesn’t try too hard in its imitation, the result can be moderately satisfying. We tried two meat-free offerings at local lunch spots this week.

By Chloe’s Guac Burger (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Chloe’s Guac Burger (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Chloe, Guac Burger ($10)
Anyone looking for a sandwich with the texture, consistency and taste of a juicy beef burger, be warned: this is not it. But the black beans make the sandwich a filling meal, even without a side of fries, and the spices blend together well for a tasty lunch. By Chloe specializes in vegan fare and this sandwich is no exception. The whole wheat bun that comes standard with the guac burger can be swapped out for a gluten free bun for an additional $2.50.

The burger itself is made of black beans and sweet potato and it’s topped with a corn salsa, tortilla strips, avocado, tomato and red onion.

The chipotle aioli has a nice kick that is tampered down a bit by the cooling avocado. The veggies in the burger all tasted fresh and the corn in the salsa also offered a nice balance to the spiciness of the sauce, with a sweetness and a bit of crunch.

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T&V’s search for the best burgers

sept15-burgerThe Schnipper’s Classic at Schnipper’s

By Sabina Mollot

Town & Village presents a series of reviews of burgers available at local restaurants. While there’s certainly no shortage of places that serve this American staple, the question is simply where to get the most bang for your (typically) eight to sixteen bucks. In related news, September 18 is National Cheeseburger Day.

For this review, we headed to Schnipper’s, a place that prides itself on its comfort food, and burgers are just part, albeit a large part, of the menu. Of a dozen burger options to choose from, we picked the Schnipper’s Classic ($9).

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3 local organizations holding food festivals as fundraising events

At a previous Harvest in the Square, guests sit outside the tent. (Photo by Liz Ligon/courtesy of Union Square Partnership)

At a previous Harvest in the Square, guests sit outside the tent. (Photo by Liz Ligon/courtesy of Union Square Partnership)

By Sabina Mollot

Supporting neighborhood organizations is about to get very tasty.

This is because three local organizations are holding food tasting events this month bypassing more traditional kinds of fundraising events. The hosts are, respectively, the Union Square Partnership, hosting the 21st annual Harvest in the Square festival on September 22, Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, holding the fourth annual Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood on September 24, and Solar One, holding an Oktoberfest event on September 27.

Details for each event are as follows:

Harvest in the Square benefits its host’s efforts to maintain and beautify Union Square Park as well as fund summer programming. Over 50 local restaurants will participate at this event, held under a giant tent at the park’s North Plaza.

A handful of those include Croque Monsieur, Gramercy Tavern, Ngam, Rosa Mexicano, Strip House, Flats Fix, Black Barn, The Pavilion, The Poke Spot, Union Fare and Hill Country Chicken. There will also be tastings from a dozen regional wineries.

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T&V’s search for the best burgers: The Tribeca Burger at New York Burger Co.

sept8-tribeca-burger

By Sabina Mollot

Town & Village will present a series of reviews of burgers available at local restaurants. While there’s certainly no shortage of places that serve this American staple, the question is simply where to get the most bang for your (typically) eight to sixteen bucks.

For our first installment, we headed to the Flatiron location of New York Burger Co. (There’s another spot at 470 West 23rd Street in Chelsea.) The place has a menu with 12 specialty burgers and we quickly honed in on the Tribeca — an angus beef patty with bacon, avocado and bleu cheese. We asked for ours medium rare and are pleased to say they got it just right. Their burgers are not that big, but unless you’re really hungry you won’t even need fries (which are extra) due to all the filling accompaniments. This burger is one of the priciest on the menu at $10.50. Prices start at $7.50 for plain burgers.

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Shake Shack gives away burgers to promote 100th location

The line before 10 a.m. on Tuesday at Madison Square Park (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The line before 10 a.m. on Tuesday at Madison Square Park (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday, Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack empire offered free ShackBurgers to customers at the restaurant’s various locations in celebration of the opening of the 100th Shack at the Boston Seaport. However customers were warned to come early as only the first 100 burgers would be free.

So, by 9:55 a.m., at the original Shake Shack at Madison Square Park, the line had already snaked around the park’s south end to over 50 people long, each individual clutching a flier advertising the promotion. The shack wouldn’t open until 10:30. Meanwhile by 12:45 p.m., the line was still about as long, which is a typical lunchtime line the shack, the promotion having ended.

The Shake Shack, which is now a publicly traded company, started as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park to support the park’s first art installation, “I (Heart) Taxi.” It officially became the shack in 2004 when the Union Square Hospitality Group won a bid to open a permanent kiosk in the park.

The company has since opened locations in 15 states and the District of Columbia as well as overseas, including in London, Tokyo, Moscow and Dubai.