HUDSON HEIGHTS — Chef James "Mac" Moran believes uptown eateries have been left out of the boom across the rest of the city.
That's why the lifelong Washington Heights resident is planning to set up shop in Hudson Heights with a new restaurant, the Rusty Mackerel.
"I've seen the neighborhood change over the years," Moran, 34, said. "We want to put Washington Heights on the map, because there's good food up here."
Moran, a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education who has worked with famed chef Todd English, is opening the Rusty Mackerel along with Frank McHugh and Bill Rodriguez, the owners of nearby Frank's Market.
That's where Moran got his start in the food industry when he was only 12 years old.
The restaurant's menu to date currently includes items octopus bravas, soft shell crab with charred sugar snaps, cauliflower soup and sweet potato gnocchi.
The Rusty Mackerel, which is set to open later this spring at 209 Pinehurst Ave near West 187th Street, will also feature a large wine selection, with seven wines on tap and several more bottles available. Moran also said the restaurant will also offer wine tastings.
"I'm open to any number of different things," Moran said.
Moran hopes to open the Rusty Mackerel some time this spring. And when it does open its doors, he hopes to provide a friendly environment for uptown diners.
"Just because something's high end it doesn't have to be stuffy," Moran said. "I think we can serve really high end food, something people can't get at home. But it's a neighborhood spot. We want you to come and feel welcome and warm."