By Meredith Hoffman
CHELSEA — High Line parkgoers have a new spot to knock back cold beer, nosh on pineapple-infused tacos and listen to indie music — an outdoor bar and food concession area that opened today beneath the new section of the park at 30th Street.
"We’ve already gone through $60 worth of tickets," said customer Jenny Cervantes, 22, an NYU grad student, drinking and glancing at empty plates that once held tacos el pastor and rice and beans at Lot on Tap. "We’re going to have to buy more. I want another lobster roll," she laughed.
Her boyfriend, Connor Foran, sitting across from her on a shaded bench at the outdoor space, agreed. "It’s like the new Frying Pan," said Foran, 22, referring to Chelsea’s popular waterfront bar. "It’s going to be big for summer."
The restaurant Colicchio & Sons and the non-profit Friends of the Highline run the Lot on Tap, which hosts different food trucks that rotate throughout the week.
The space, which will operate throughout the summer and can accomodate 375 people, is open Sunday - Wednesday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. and Thursday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
After the first few hours, the Lot on Tap had sold about 1,000 food and drink tickets. Customers have the option of buying $1 or $7 tickets.
Elijah Ocean, a driver and cook for the Red Hook Lobster pound food truck, said that he plans to bring his seafood treats to the space twice a week.
But if business doesn't pick up — he sold about 200 lobster rolls by 2 p.m. - he might abandon the spot.
"We'd be selling more right now if we were in Midtown," he said. "We go where business is—it's just like fishing."
Chase Rabenn, assistant beer director for Colicchio & Sons, was more optimistic.
From behind the bar, Rabenn seemed giddy. He explained that all six beers and four wines on tap were local, with all from New York State except for one from Pennsylvania.
"We want to give people a reason to like local — it’s more than the view, it’s the drinks," he said, noting that the Brooklyn Brewery had made an exclusive beer for the Lot on Tap.
"This is just the crowd we wanted," he said. "It’s mostly 20s and 30s, but there are pockets of every demographic here."
"It’s kind of hippy, easy," said Andrea Cassiolato, 32. "It’s like Brooklyn."
"The architecture is Brooklyn too — it’s like going under the Brooklyn Bridge or Williamsburg Bridge," said her friend Alex Salia, 42, a personal trainer who works nearby. "The lobster roll was good — but I’d say it needs to be healthier, like no mayonnaise."
Marilyn Siegel, 64, who sat on a bench with her three friends after strolling the High Line, said: "It’s great, but I wish you didn’t have to wait in line twice—to get tickets, then to get food…I’d come if I happened to walk by, but I wouldn’t make it a destination."