The eating space at Roosevelt Field mall, part of a $200 million makeover, features an open layout filled with light and greenery. Situated upstairs on the mall's northeast side, the area is accessible via a bridge leading from the upper level parking deck between Dick's Sporting Goods and Bloomingdale's.
It bears little resemblance to the old food court, now undergoing transformation into retail space. Instead of a closed-in ellipse with seating capacity for 900, the 50,000-square-foot district is a meandering mix of counter-service eateries with seating options including an outdoor patio. Overall, it can easily handle 1,200 hungry shoppers at a time.
Sampling the new eateries at the mall, we found some choices alluring enough to visit, even without a shopping agenda.
You choose the combinations for your sandwich or salad at Maoz, a vegetarian, vegan-friendly kosher spot, part of a small international chain with origins in Amsterdam. The signature item is a pita pocket filled with falafel balls, salad greens and topped with a dressing. Soy-based vegan shawarma, hummus and/or eggplant can also go into a sandwich or salad. Kale salad with avocado, hummus, vegetables and yogurt dressing is sure to be popular.
A falafel sandwich is served at Maoz Vegetarian, now open inside the new Dining District of Roosevelt Field.
Although the chain's history goes back to the original Patsy's Pizzeria in East Harlem, this mall offshoot has an oven using gas, rather than coal, the fuel of its original forebear. You can order by the pie and by the slice, with a wide variety of toppings available. Calzones, sliders, salads, chicken pinwheels and sausage rolls are among some of the other dishes that share the menu.
The Meat Lover's pizza comes with sausage, meatball and pepperoni toppings at Patsy's Pizzeria at Roosevelt Field's new Dining District.
Galangal Thai Cuisine Noodles
Order at the counter of Galangal Thai Cuisine Noodles and wait for your number to be called; it may take about 10 minutes, since everything is made on-the-spot in an open kitchen. You'll find a papaya salad, vegetarian dumplings, pad Thai and an assortment of Thai curries.
Pad Thai with shrimp is served at Galangal Thai Cuisine Noodles in the Dining District of Roosevelt Field.
Potatopia, a suburban branch of a Manhattan chainlet, offers 10 different styles of spud -- among them baked, mashed and sweet potatoes -- for a build-your-own meal. You can also choose a set option, such as the "veggie heavy" featuring a baked potato, broccoli, roasted corn, cilantro, garlic, roasted jalapeños, red onion, scallions, sour cream and roasted pepper aioli. Making for hearty, colorful eating is a "build-your-own" baked potato topped, perhaps, with moist and well-seasoned chicken, plus peppers and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro.
Potatoes may be ordered with a medley of toppings at Potatopia, now open in the Dining District of Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City. On the left is the smashed hit, and, on the right, a build-your-own.
Charley's Philly Steaks
At Charley’s Philly Steaks, the Philly cheesesteak with onions, peppers, mushrooms and white American cheese is king. And it has a meltingly harmonious appeal. You can get several versions, including a pepperoni steak and chicken teriyaki sandwich, as well as salads. There are also combo-meals available with fries and a drink. Lemonade is a specialty here.
An Italian deluxe sandwich of ham, turkey, pepperoni and provolone with lettuce and tomato at Charley’s Philly Steaks in the Dining District of Roosevelt Field.
Melt Shop is the place to feed a craving for comforts such as a classic grilled cheese sandwich and mellow tomato soup. Also on the menu are several varieties of cheese sandwiches -- one with fried chicken, another with a burger -- as well as salads. And there are shakes, in flavors like Nutella-fluff and Heath Bar crunch.
A classic grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup is served at Melt Shop in Roosevelt Field's Dining District.
Green Leaf's & Bananas
Salads and sandwiches are the draw at Green Leaf's. A chipotle turkey panino with avocado, cilantro and pickled onions, is a choice to consider. Also available: a chicken Caesar wrap, turkey and a ham Cuban panino. There's a build-your-own salad option wherein you pick your greens and toppings. From Bananas, a smoothie specialist behind the same counter as Green Leaf's, a fresh and fruity mango smoothie.
Green Leaf's turkey chipotle panino and, from Bananas, a mango magic smoothie.
The Little Beet
Chef Franklin Becker's midtown spot The Little Beet has spawned a mall eatery featuring natural, seasonal and -- when possible -- local ingredients. A "create your plate" means choosing a protein, such as salmon, tofu, steak or chicken breast, and such sides as charred string beans, lentil salad, and quinoa with beets and arugula. Freshly grilled salmon with charred kale, charred cauliflower and roasted sweet potatoes is destined to be a hit combo. There are also salads, baked goods and cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices. Bonus: Everything is gluten-free.
Grilled salmon is served with charred kale, charred green beans and sweet potatos, with a side of quinoa, at The Little Beet.
Sushi, teriyaki and tempura are the draws at national chain Sarku Japan.
Square burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, salads and shakes keep fast-food giant Wendy's going.
At mega-chain Taco Bell, find an array of burritos, tacos, salads and all the other Tex-Mex standards you know well.
Sit at the counter at Johnny Rockets and be served at the nostalgia-themed All-American spot for burgers, fries and shakes.