Want the scoop on New York City's most talked-about local spots?
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 analyze which eateries have been seeing especially high review volumes 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 on a hot streak, right now.
Open since February, this Korean-style chicken shop is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Korean" on Yelp.
Citywide, Korean spots saw a median 2% increase in new reviews over the past month. Chicken Insider only recently appeared on Yelp, but while many new businesses struggle to gain reviews, it has seen strong initial popularity.
Located at 1752 Second Ave. (between 91st and 92nd streets) on the Upper East Side, this cozy, casual spot serves up fried wings, drumsticks and boneless chicken bites, with sides of fries and choice of sauce, like soy garlic, Korean sweet chili and spicy Thai chili. Chicken Insider also offers chicken sandwiches and daily lunch specials.
Chicken Insider is open from 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and 4:30–10 p.m. daily.
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Nolita's Casa Bocado, this Mexican bar and restaurant is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Latin American" on Yelp saw a median 1.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, Casa Bocado bagged a 60% increase in new reviews within that time frame, with a slight upward trend from a 3.5-star rating a month ago to its current four stars. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 5.0 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.
Open on the ground floor of The Sohotel (341 Broome St.) since last spring, this 2,500-square-foot restaurant, one of five food and beverage spots in the historic hotel, is helmed by chef Ivy Stark, formerly of Dos Caminos. Stark's menu features contemporary takes on Mexican classics, such as queso fundido with grilled chorizo, al pastor tacos with smashed avocado, and enchiladas de mole made with free-range chicken.
Moreover, Casa Bocado boasts a full bar, serving pitchers of margaritas and more than 80 kinds of tequila and mezcal. On the weekend, check out the 90-minute bottomless brunch special ($25 per person).
Casa Bocado is open from 3:30 p.m.–midnight on Tuesday-Friday, noon–midnight on Saturday and noon–8 p.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday.)
Fig & Olive
The Upper East Side's Fig & Olive is also making waves. Established in 2007, this French-Mediterranean restaurant at 808 Lexington Ave. has seen only a 0.5% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.4% for all businesses tagged "Mediterranean" on Yelp. However, according to SafeGraph foot traffic data, Fig & Olive saw visits more than triple over the past month.
Curious about this business? "The first Fig & Olive to open its doors, our Lexington Avenue location is a neighborhood gem on the Upper East Side," states the business on its Yelp page. "Its cozy and intimate space is what draws guests in for lunch and dinner. Especially popular for lunch after shopping at Bloomingdale's or museum visits to the landmark Arsenal Gallery, it attracts locals who feel at home on the communal table or café, where guests can enjoy the tasting menu, a main dish or signature champagne cocktail."
Fig & Olive — which has two other locations in Manhattan, as well as outposts in L.A., Chicago and other major cities — specializes in the cuisine of the French Riviera, serving up crostini, small plates, pasta, risotto, lamb chops, seafood dishes and more. Over the past month, it's maintained a mixed 3.5-star rating among Yelpers.
Fig & Olive is open for lunch and dinner daily. According to SafeGraph, it's usually busiest on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and it attracts a quarter of its total visitors over those two days, with a slowdown on Wednesdays.