The Meatpacking Business District’s Indoor Block Party Had Them Packed In 

Somehow, the term for a collection of slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants in the southwestern part of Manhattan is now one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the big city.  To celebrate the up and coming and glamorous Meatpacking District, and to herald the oncoming spring season, an “indoor market” was held to showcase some of the area’s most popular restaurants, both brand new and some old favorites. Held in the Highline Stages massive facility at West 14th and 9th Avenue, guests enjoyed two floors of booths and exhibits offering free tasties, beverages to sip, clothing to peruse, all while listening to the pulsing music by fashion designers and part-time music DJ’s Coco and Breezy. 

Each booth featured a specialty taste of a new, or a favorite dish, samples which kept coming and coming. Among the participants were Black Barn Café & Bar which gave out tasty bites of a “pulled pork on a rice bun.” Next to them was STK Downtown which offered a “braised short rib with jalapeno cheddar grits.” The Bodega Negra at Dream Downtown gave out samples of “tuna with chipotle with avocado and shallots.” After chomping down on sample after sample, one needs something to wash it down with. The Six Point Brewery, which supplies many of the eateries in the area, provided samples of their ales. Ample Hills was offering two flavors of ice cream, and cookies from Sherry B Dessert Studio. All in all, there were 25-plus restaurants taking part, all highly rated by Zagats, or were celebrating their grand opening. Every course of a truly remarkable meal was laid out, and then quickly snatched up. 

While all the booths required a second helping, one in particular, required a third. That was the short ribs and cheddar grits.  Jenna Rosen, the marketing manager for STK Downtown, shared that the dish is a regular on their menu (thankfully!) and adds that, “our regulars absolutely love this dish and sometimes order it on Caviar as a to-go item.” The dish was purposely created for this night, so guests would see that the restaurant is more than “just a steakhouse.” The grits were the idea of Head STK Chef Aaron Taylor who explained that he first made them for a New Year’s Day staff dinner and it was such an instant hit, they became known as “Aaron’s Famous Grits.” 

While digesting the amazing treats, guests were able to visit fashion booths from high-end retailers in the neighborhood, take part in a silent auction, and mingle, mingle, mingle.  All of this came about, thanks to the Meatpacking Business Improvement District (BID) whose mission is “to support the business community and to keep the area clean, safe and beautiful.”  From the crowds that packed the place, this event, now in its fifth year, is doing its job. 

Photo Credit: Alexander Stein

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About MJ Hanley-Goff (68 Articles)
MJ Hanley-Goff has been contributing to WomanAroundTown since its inception in 2009. She began her career at Newsday and for ten years wrote for the Sunday Real Estate section. A move to the Hudson Valley brought her to the Times Herald-Record where she continued to write for a Sunday Real Estate section, and also joined the writing team at the monthly Orange Magazine. MJ then became editor of Hudson Valley Parent magazine, and contributed articles to Hudson Valley Magazine, AAA’s Car & Travel, and Tri-County Woman. After completing her novel and a self-help book, she created MJWRITES, INC. and conducts writing workshops, and as a self-proclaimed book “whisperer,” works with new writers on their books. Now back on Long Island, she continues to enjoy the opportunity to write for Woman Around Town, and the amazing adventures it offers, including reviewing concerts, events, and tourist attractions in New York, and around the world. “I particularly enjoy drawing attention to the off the beaten path kinds of events and experiences,” she says. “It’s great big world out there, with so many talented and creative artists, doers, and thinkers.”