Best Of 2021

3 Restaurant Concepts Built to Last Through the Winter of Covid-19


Inspired by Norwegian cuisine and culture, this outdoor-only dining destination
welcomes the winter. “Of course it’s going to be cold outside. And dark.” says Chef Knut Karlsen. “But in Norway, enjoying the cold is just part of our lifestyle. We call this frostskader.”

Highlights of a concise and elegant menu include the chilled rakfisk (pungent trout), the chilled lutefisk (gelatinous whitefish), and brødskiven (open faced cold cuts). All guests are provided with a cozy lap quilt and ice water.

Every time a guest is heard to be complaining that it’s cold, all the waiters come out and sing a song, to make fun of you.

Of course, this is all in good fun.

SNØRDNØRT also employs a paramedic on-site, to tell you when you have legit developed frostbite and need to leave.

2. Edith’s Texture-Based Kitchen and Pantry

Flavor takes a backseat to texture at this bold new concept of a pop-up.

“So with covid, you have a lot of people losing their sense of taste. It happened to my Aunt Edith,” says Jeff, the owner of Edith’s Texture-Based Kitchen. “But taste buds are only part of the culinary experience. We wanted to offer a menu that emphasizes texture, for our friends who have thankfully recovered from covid, but still can’t smell or taste.”

Crunchy house-made snack assortments like pretzels and chips star alongside contrasting texture pairings, from smooth hummus to fresh kiwi slices.

The innovative pop-up opened its doors just last week, in the empty storefront of a shuttered perfume shop.

“We’ve had twenty customers so far, and the two who left reviews said their food arrived on time,” says Jeff. “People are excited about the concept.”

3. Cafe Monolith

Should it come as any surprise, that in the year 2021, New York’s most buzzed-about destination has no physical address? Cafe Monolith is a mysterious new restaurant for the digital age that has generated enormous buzz in a news cycle desperate for glamour and whimsy.

The food is real, and raved-about, but can only be ordered online, from a virtual speakeasy located within the world of Animal Crossing. A second location is slated to open next month, in Second Life. If you can track down the coordinates (try asking around on TikTok), expect to wait on a three-hour virtual line to make your real-life delivery reservation.

Rumored to be a collaboration between celebrity chef Knut Karlsen and someone much younger and cooler, the rotating menu boasts plenty of trendy purple foods,
instagrammable flower garnishes, and brødskiven.

Cafe Monolith claims no association with the monolith in Utah, and accepts all major cryptocurrencies.