Curious where New York City's in-the-know crowd is eating and drinking? It's easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to deduce which local businesses have been getting extra notice this month.
To find out who made the list, we first looked at New York City businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.
Read on to see which spots are getting plenty of attention this spring.
Crab House All You Can Eat Seafood
Open since December, this Cajun seafood buffet is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Seafood" on Yelp.
Citywide, seafood spots saw a median 1.2% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Crab House All You Can Eat Seafood saw a 52.5% increase, maintaining a sound four-star rating throughout.
Located at 135 E. 55th St. (at Lexington Avenue) in Midtown, Crab House All You Can Eat Seafood offers all-you-can-eat crab legs, scallops, spicy shrimp, crawfish and more. This spot also offers party packages and a private party room that can accommodate up to 100 guests (see the restaurant's website for more information).
Crab House All You Can Eat Seafood is open from 2 p.m.–midnight on Monday-Thursday, 2 p.m.–1 a.m. on Friday, 12:30 p.m.–1 a.m. on Saturday and 12:30 p.m.–midnight on Sunday.
Cabo Sports Bar & Mexican Grill
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Floral Park's Cabo Sports Bar & Mexican Grill, this spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Mexican" on Yelp saw a median 1.5% increase in new reviews over the past month, Cabo Sports bar & Mexican Grill bagged a 48% increase in new reviews within that time frame, with a slight downward trend from a 4.5-star rating a month ago to its current four stars.
Open at 271-11 Union Turnpike since December, Cabo Sports Bar & Mexican Grill boasts a full bar and serves a menu of Mexican and Tex-Mex favorites. Stop in at happy hour for discounted margaritas or on Sundays for "bottomless" mimosa brunch.
Cabo Sports Bar & Mexican Grill is open from 11 a.m.–midnight on Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. on Thursday and 11 a.m.–4 a.m. on Friday-Sunday.
Murray Hill's Sophra Grill is also making waves. Also open since December, at 535 Third Ave. (between 35th and 36th streets), this casual Turkish restaurant has seen a 44.8% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.3% for all businesses tagged "Mediterranean" on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis, Sophra Grill's review count increased by more than 130%.
Sophra Grill serves up authentic Turkish fare like lamb Iskender kebab, Hunkar Begendi (chicken with hot mashed eggplant), chargrilled whole dorado, brick-oven meat pies and an assortment of salads, sandwiches and dips. Over the past month, it's maintained a convincing 4.5-star rating among Yelpers.
Sophra Grill is open from 11 a.m.–2 a.m. daily.
Nonna's Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen
Greenpoint's Nonna's Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen is the city's buzziest Italian spot by the numbers.
This family-owned eatery, which opened at 253 Nassau Ave. (at the corner of Kingsland Avenue) last summer, increased its new review count by 23.1% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.2% for the Yelp category "Italian." It outperformed the previous month by gaining 3.0 times more reviews than expected based on past performance. Furthermore, according to SafeGraph foot traffic data, Nonna's Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen saw visits more than triple over the past month.
Nonna's Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen offers a full menu of Italian American classics for dine-in, delivery and takeout. Check out apps like the oven-roasted Buffalo wings or the homemade meatballs; the Nonna's salad with house Italian dressing; pasta dishes with choice of sauce, meat and veggies; sub sandwiches stuffed with chicken parmesan and more; and specialty pizzas like the Sicilian-style "upside-down" pie and the ravioli alla vodka pizza.
Nonna's Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen is open from 11 a.m.–11:45 p.m. daily. According to SafeGraph, it usually gets busy at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays, with a slowdown on Mondays.