Friedman’s, the city’s leading gluten-free restaurant brand, has a few new plans in the works, owner Alan Phillips confirms.
Firstly, it is looking to open its seventh outpost in the space formerly occupied by Jenny’s Marketplace in Hudson Yards. This outpost will replace the soon to close outpost on 35 West End and hopes to take advantage of the larger kitchen space to add more pastry items on the menu. Another outpost is also coming to Battery Park and aims to offer a more diverse array of menu options. Lastly, the Friedman’s team is collaborating with Steve Tenedios from Kyma to open a new gluten-free Mexican spot called Nizuc. Phillips says they have signed the lease for 485 10th Ave. and started construction about a month ago. Its anticipated grand opening is the beginning of next year.
“From that beginning to where we are today, we are incredibly sensitive to the dietary needs of people who have food allergies, including to gluten,” Phillips tells What Now New York.
The concept started as a gluten-free breakfast and lunch spot, formerly called Friedman’s Lunch, at Chelsea Market in 2009. The family-run brand has since opened up six sit-down spots throughout the city with breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that specialize in comfort food.
Phillip’s daughter Vanessa has celiac disease and vocalized the need to fill the void in gluten-free dining from the jump. Both Vanessa and his son Jonah, who oversees day-to-day operations, have played a big role in the brand’s development.
More recently, the team has set their sights on expanding its menu to have more eclectic offerings. Friedman’s has been branching into Asian cuisine, which is notoriously not gluten-free friendly. The brand’s signature potstickers have become a huge hit. Other difficult-to-find menu options include comfort food classics like pancakes, waffles and fried chicken, as well as beers and ciders.
“After long hours in the kitchen and playing with all different sorts of flours, we believe we have created some of the best pancakes, waffles, and fried chicken,” the team wrote on their website. “More importantly, they are all intrinsically gluten-free.”
In 2011, Vanessa also debuted her now global-reaching brand of frozen gluten-free cuisine Feel Good Foods, which is sold at major markets including Whole Foods, Thrive Market and Amazon Fresh. Its offerings include but are not limited to the family’s specialty potstickers.
Phillips also shared that the team has currently halted their plans to add the upscale-yet-affordable Italian restaurant Mercado by Friedman’s to their portfolio. He says the team was struggling to come up with an innovative menu and didn’t want to be “just another Italian restaurant.”
Friedman’s is also known for its comparably affordable pricing. While doing so is difficult during these times, Phillips believes it is not worth raising prices if it means losing customers.
“It’s not about being cheaper, it’s about being accessible,” Phillips says. “It’s really hard right now. Our margins are shrinking, but we do think the market will go back in our direction.”