Want the inside word 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 uncover which restaurants have been in the limelight 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 riding a trend, right now.
Raku It's Japanese
Open since January, this spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Sushi Bars" on Yelp.
Citywide, sushi bars saw a median 1.5% increase in new reviews over the past month. Raku It's Japanese only recently appeared on Yelp, but while many new businesses struggle to gain reviews, it has seen strong initial popularity.
Located at 212 E. 52nd St. (between Second and Third avenues) in Midtown, Raku It's Japanese offers a wide selection of sushi and other Japanese favorites, including 30 different signature sushi rolls, chirashi rice bowls, shrimp and veggie tempura, teriyaki, udon soup, ramen and more. Check out the weekday lunch specials featuring deals on sushi, pork katsu and bento boxes.
Raku It's Japanese is open for lunch from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. on weekdays and for dinner daily from 5–10 p.m.
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about SoHo's Cocotte, the well-established French restaurant is trending based on local foot traffic data.
While Cocotte stayed on par with the median 0.7% increase in new reviews for businesses categorized as "French" on Yelp over the past month, maintaining a superior four-star rating, the number of visitors to Cocotte more than tripled over the same time frame, according to SafeGraph's foot traffic data.
Open at 110 Thompson St. (between Spring and Prince streets) since 2012, Cocotte specializes in cuisine from the southwest of France, the native region of chef and owner Sébastien Pourrat. Pourrat's menu at this cozy restaurant features small plates and shareable "cocottes" (little casseroles) that combine the French and Basque culinary influences of the region: mushrooms stuffed with chorizo, mussels au gratin with focaccia bread crumbs, pork shoulder braised in Basque cider, shrimp risotto with squid ink and more. Cocotte also boasts a full bar, serving beer, wine and classic cocktails.
Cocotte is open from 4 p.m.–midnight on weekdays and 11 a.m.–midnight on weekends. According to SafeGraph, people tend to visit Cocotte on Fridays and Saturdays, and it attracts a quarter of its total visitors over those two days, so go on Tuesdays if you want to avoid the rush.
Westville Hudson is also making waves. Open since the fall of 2012 at 333 Hudson St. (at the corner of Charlton Street), this location of the casual, comfort food eatery — which has a total of six other locations around the city — has seen only a 0.6% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 0.9% for all businesses tagged "American (Traditional)" on Yelp. However, as for foot traffic, Westville Hudson saw visits more than triple over the past month, according to SafeGraph data.
Westville Hudson serves up contemporary takes on comfort food, like grilled skirt steak with baked potatoes, fried chicken sandwiches, a house Caesar salad with crispy pancetta, burgers, brunch and more. Over the past month, it's maintained a sound four-star rating among Yelpers.
Westville Hudson is currently open from 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9:30 p.m. daily. According to SafeGraph, it's usually busiest at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., and people visit Westville Hudson most on Wednesdays and Thursdays, with a slowdown on Sundays.
Chela Modern Mexican
Park Slope's Chela Modern Mexican is the city's buzziest breakfast and brunch spot by the numbers.
The Mexican cantina and brunch spot, which opened at 408 Fifth Ave. (at Seventh Street) in December 2017, increased its new review count by 2.1% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.1% for the Yelp category "Breakfast & Brunch." Furthermore, according to SafeGraph foot traffic data, Chela Modern Mexican saw visits more than triple over the past month.
In addition to Mexican classics like tacos and enchiladas, Chela Modern Mexican offers a full menu of Mexican-inspired brunch fare seven days a week. Try the huevos fundidos, the steak and eggs with house fries, the mango French toast and the Benedict Arellano made with fried eggs, corn cakes, Hollandaise sauce and queso fresco. Moreover, the bar at this spot serves 50 kinds of tequila and mezcal and there are "bottomless" deals on mimosas and Bloody Mary's too.
Chela Modern Mexican is open for brunch and dinner daily. According to SafeGraph, foot traffic is heaviest at noon, 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays, with a slowdown on Mondays.