Our 10 Best Pop-Up Restaurants in NYC

Categories: Best of

Restaurants have a hard time standing out beneath the intense glow of the New York City spotlight, which might be why so many entrepreneurs in this generation have launched with a pop-up, testing out their concept in a lower-stakes environment. Some of those ventures, though, have taken on a life of their own, and the temporary dining experiences offer an air of exclusivity that becomes part of the attraction.

Williamsburg has become the de facto epicenter of pop-up nation in this town, whether it's because experimenting without fear of failure is part of living in this 'hood or the fact that starving artists need more creative dining outlets. But pop-ups have proliferated throughout the boroughs, and we bring you a look at our 10 favorite pop-up dining experiences happening in NYC.

10. Brooklyn Kolache, Skinny Dennis, 152 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn

Skinny Dennis quickly amassed a loyal following after its February opening, but Brooklyn Kolache is helping it net a whole new crowd: one that's after brunch. The Texas-themed bakery, which also operates a Bed-Stuy outlet, serves up both sweet and savory stuffed pastries known as kolaches in addition to coffee and cinnamon rolls. So listen to Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler," roll the dice, and try one.

9. Rockaway Taco, 95-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Queens

Like the bell of the ice cream man signaling spring time for kids, the sight of Rockaway Taco's open window is many adults' notification that summer has officially begun. Beachgoers flock to this spot for Mexican food, and the shack is especially renowned for its crispy fish taco riddled with cabbage slaw. And while the location remains the same, we consider this a pop-up because of its seasonality--you only have so many nice days to slap on your swim trunks and enjoy what the spot turns out.

8. Bolivian Llama Party, Smorgasburg, East River State Park, Brooklyn

Smorgasburg is kind of like the pop-up world's version of the playoffs: Only the best make the cut. However, Bolivian Llama Party outranks many of its competitors on the power of its salteñas--meat- and veggie-stuffed baked empanadas--alone. The large pastry, filled with a choice of spicy beef, chicken, or quinoa, is best when you bite off the top and sprinkle kolla cheese and their own hot sauce inside. The three brothers who own the venture also make a weekly appearance at Rockaway Beach from Friday through Sunday.

Location Info


Skinny Dennis

152 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Music

Brooklyn Kolache Co.

520 Dekalb Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Rockaway Taco

95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Far Rockaway, NY

Category: Restaurant


27 N. 6th St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Lucy Roux at d.b.a. Brooklyn

113 N. 7th St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant


254 S. 2nd St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Whole Foods Market

95 E. Houston St., New York, NY

Category: General

Earl's Beer & Cheese

1259 Park Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

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