The Lower East Side is known for its vibrant street culture and trendy eateries, but the neighborhood’s latest bites are located below street level.

The Market Line, a bazaar-style marketplace underneath the Essex Market, opened its first phase in November, featuring some 30 vendors — half of whom hail from the area.

“It’s really about the local community,” says Rohan Mehra, 45, co-founder of The Prusik Group, which oversees the development of the space, which — when completed in 2021 — will span three city blocks, and include fashion, art and music elements to the mix.

For now, you can nibble and sip your way through the food market, whose cuisine is not only international, but also features both new names and fun newcomers.

Here’s a list of our favorites.


The venerable East Village Ukrainian restaurant opened its first-ever kiosk here, with seating for about 15 diners, as well. “I would love to expose Veselka and the food to as many people as possible,” says owner Jason Birchard. While the kiosk’s menu isn’t as extensive as the restaurant’s, you can still get the hard-to-resist pierogi, whose fillings include meat, potato and bacon, egg and cheese (eight for $13). They’re just as delicious when followed by a beet-filled bowl of borscht ($8) or a plate of beef stroganoff ($9).

Rebecca’s Cake Pops

This Long Island transplant caters to the sweet-toothed, but these are no ordinary pops. With a nod to owner Rebecca Clavecilla-Eng’s Filipino heritage, flavors include ube yam and pandan — a southeast Asian plant used to flavor desserts — and some are crafted into elaborate shapes, roses and a gumball machines among them ($3.50 to $8). Clavecilla-Eng ran a shop in Garden City for three years before setting her eyes on the Big Apple, a longtime goal. “Make it here, make it anywhere,” she says.

Slice Joint

Rachael Marie, a Roberta’s alum, is now slinging pies at her own place, where she’s part-owner and executive chef. By-the-slice options include cheese ($3.50) and pepperoni ($4), while larger orders include breadier square pies (like spicy pepperoni, $29). Slice Joint’s already luring regulars. “Every person has a pizzeria that they go to and you build a rapport with them,” says the Iowa-born Marie. One of her fans, a web developer named Enrique, stopped by recently for a $4.50 square slice for lunch. “It reminds me of Detroit-style pizza,” he says.

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