The Migrant Kitchen Opens First Solo Restaurant on the Upper East Side

The Migrant Kitchen's new UES location on First Ave. just north of East 74th Street/Upper East Site
The Migrant Kitchen's new UES location on First Ave. just north of East 74th Street/Upper East Site

MANHATTAN – Eat well. Do Good. Four words that are the driving force behind one of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings this fall, as the Migrant Kitchen— whose legend grew through the nearly ten-thousand free, hot meals they served to New Yorkers-in-need each day during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic— opens their first permanent solo restaurant, right here on the Upper East Side.

Like many of New Yorkers, the team at the Migrant Kitchen had to pivot when Covid swept through the five boroughs in March 2020 and forced the everyone to go on pause. Originally a catering service, the Migrant Kitchen became something much larger— a mission and way of life described in those four words. 

Hummus with chips/The Migrant Kitchen
Hummus with chips/The Migrant Kitchen

“When the city shutdown last year due to the pandemic, we started providing food for the healthcare workers at all of the hospitals on the Upper East Side,” co-founder and Executive Chef Dan Dorado told Upper East Site.

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“The way the neighborhood embraced us and the ties we developed with the community along the way, made the UES a no-brainer when deciding where we wanted to open our first location.”

Finishing touches being put on the Migrant Kitchens new UES location/Upper East Site
Finishing touches being put on the Migrant Kitchens new UES location/Upper East Site

As much good as the Migrant Kitchen still does— donating a meal for every meal sold— the ‘eat well’ mantra is very much a big part of what they do– and they’re thrilled to be bringing their first solo location to the Upper East Side.

“This is our first ever brick & mortar,” Dorado said. “Prior to this we had pop ups around the city and we have a stall at TimeOut Market in Dumbo, but this is our first ever permanent location that we can truly call our own and we couldn’t think of a better neighborhood to call home than UES.”

Sumac roasted potatoes/The Migrant Kitchen
Sumac roasted potatoes/The Migrant Kitchen

Dan Dorado and co-founder Nasser Jaber are immigrant’s themselves— from Mexico and Palestine, respectively— and their goal is to showcase the food of migrants who are true New Yorkers. 

And they do just that, putting an Arabic flair on Latin cuisine with original dishes, with descriptions that are enough to make your mouth water.

The Lamb Torta features sumac and aleppo roasted lamb, black bean spread, lettuce, tomato, avocado, house-pickled jalapeño, oaxaca cheese— a combination of spices and flavors you won’t find anywhere else. 

Lamb Torta/The Migrant Kitchen
Lamb Torta/The Migrant Kitchen

Another can’t-miss mash-up of deliciousness is the Carnitas Shawarma Wrap, featuring slow roasted smoked pork, lettuce, tomato, house-pickled jalapeños (not that jarred stuff), chimichurri and chipotle salsa. It has a little kick for anyone who likes a little heat.

Cauliflower Shawarma Wrap/The Migrant Kitchen
Cauliflower Shawarma Wrap/The Migrant Kitchen

They’ve even got vegans and those just looking to go meatless covered with their Cauliflower Shawarma wrap loaded with house-pickled turnips, greens, mint and tahini— that’s if you’re not in the mood for a fresh salad with homemade dressing, of course. 

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Don’t sleep on the sides either— the mac n’ cheese, sumac roasted potatoes, turmeric rice, grilled street corn salad and hummus are a perfect match to any dish— so, pile on the comfort food. And that’s just a small sampling of their large menu.

Fattoush Salad/The Migrant Kitchen
Fattoush Salad/The Migrant Kitchen

The Migrant Kitchen is located on the west side of First Avenue just north of East 74th Street, so drop by this Sunday, November 7th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm for the Grand Opening— and stay to cheer on the runners participating in this year’s NYC Marathon.

After that, regular hours are from 7:00 am to 9:00pm Tuesday through Sunday

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