First Impressions: The Tin Building

It is impossible to know where to start with the Tin Building, the food emporium complex from famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, so I am going to hammer out some bullet points first, then get to my first impressions after three visits over that way. The place is mammoth — 53,000 square feet — and is somehow disorienting. Even their website calls it “sprawling.” I couldn’t seem to figure out which direction I was facing from minute to minute. So if you head over, stop at the entrance and some helpful person will give you the lay of the land:

  • Two floors connected by central escalators
  • Six sit-down restaurants (T.Brasserie, Seeds & Weeds, Fulton Fish Company, Shikku, The Frenchman’s Dough, The House of the Red Pearl)
  • Several fast casual (T.Café and Bakery, Double Yolk, Crepes & Dosas, Taquitos)
  • A candy store, the Spoiled Parrot
  • Ice cream
  • Prepared foods
  • Flowers
  • Meat, cheese and fish markets
  • Two grocery markets: Mercantile and Mercantile East, with an Asian theme
  • Outdoor seating on three sides
  • Common seating throughout both floors

For this soft opening, the hours are noon to 5, Thursday through Sunday. Hours will be something like 9a to 10p after Labor Day.

The place was packed, and while there were definitely a lot of tourists — the place is Instagram ready and everyone was shooting video — we chatted with one of the bartenders (who also works at The Palm Tribeca) who said she recognized a few of her regulars. (The guy next to us at the bar was from Missouri, and he wondered if all of New York started drinking at noon… Yes?)

We were so flummoxed by the choices we wandered for a good half hour, then finally settled at an outside table at T.Brasserie. But we were wigged a bit by FDR looming overhead and retreated inside. It may seem like an odd choice, but I loved the beer bar (called Beer Here!) and its rail seating facing the wonderful fish mobile and a more appetizing view of the FDR through the second floor windows. So we grabbed tacos and wine and camped out there. It was a bit of a cop-out given the options, but it’ll do for now.

First on my list to check out next, when I am less boggled: The House of the Red Pearl, the Chinese-inspired restaurant, and Double Yolk for customized egg sandwiches (they serve caviar after dark).

Some other notes:

  • It’s beautiful. There is something inventive to see and appreciate at every corner. And it’s luxe — there was no skimping here. After all it cost nearly $200 million to create.
  • It’s expensive, even by Tribeca standards, but there are work-arounds. The to-go breaded shrimp were $35 a pound; in the market, TeaPigs teas were $15, compared to $8 at Whole Foods. The burger for lunch at T.Brasserie was $23. A half-loaf of sourdough is $10. But the tacos were $12 for two, and the rose was $15 and a draft 16 ounce beer is $8 — about the same pricing as anywhere in the neighborhood. NB the candy store is not priced — or even designed — with children in mind.
  • It’s nothing if not branded. There’s merch everywhere and they have thought of everything. I mean, there’s a branded parrot snow globe at the Spoiled Parrot candy store. I was suckered by the gallon paint can full of JGV cheddar crackers.
  • The uniforms are brilliant. Most of the staff is wearing zippered flight suits, with a different color for each restaurant.
  • There’s something for everyone. It’s worth a visit even if you don’t get out your wallet. But since the whole place has a liquor license, you can stroll with a drink in hand.



  1. Nice place but dogs everywhere big and small!

    Would be nice if they didn’t let customers in with dogs on leashes… but no effort. Why?

    Hard to justify sitting down for a nice meal inside with big dogs in the aisles, against your leg, searching for crumbs, etc.

    • The dogs are a wonderful addition!

    • I agree with Diana.

    • I have been there a few times and every dog I have seen was positioned next to their owner(s) and not touching adjacent diners. If one should bother you with a bit of crumb-hunting, nothing wrong with saying “excuse me, would you mind keeping you dog at your table please?” I like seeing the dogs, a) because I happen to like dogs and b) because I tend to assume that they are locals who walked over (and I like that it’s not just tourists enjoying the place.

      So YES Jan and Dana!

  2. I’ve been the lead security guard for the Tin Building. I’m usually at the front, sometimes startling people with a “Hi, welcome!” greeting. To tell everyone person who brings their dogs in, has been a difficult task, and to even enforce it; at this point, when I’ve told the owners that only service dogs are allowed in, they all say, “well, my dog is a service dog,” when clearly their dog isn’t. I am taught to not make a scene about it, and I don’t stress myself out about it. It makes my job more challenging, but I still love greeting people as they come in! And JG doesn’t like paper signs on his windows, but it’s my job to work around that.

  3. I never had a dog until recently ( I’m 64) so I didn’t understand. Dogs are as much a part of the family as anyone else. If you have never had a dog you honestly cannot understand and it seems ridiculous. I now take my dog everywhere with me and rarely go to places that don’t permit them. I hope this helps you to understand why they are there. Of course they must be well behaved and properly leashed :)

  4. I appreciate dog-friendly hosts!

    Are dogs allowed in restaurants?
    (well-behaved of course!!)

  5. anyone know what brand the work uniform jumpsuits are? i want one!

  6. Dogs are less disruptive and better behaved than most children. I choose to go to the tin building instead of other really good restaurants in the area because they are dog friendly. I also encourage all out of town guests to check this place out because it’s so cool. Love this addition to the area and hope they always stay dog friendly.