NEW YORK (HOODLINE) — Want the intel on New York City’s most happening local spots?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to discover which restaurants have been most discussed this month.

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To find out who made the list, we first looked at New York City businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.

Read on to see which spots have the momentum heading into springtime.

Xing Fu Tang

(photo: elsa c./yelp via Hoodline)

Open since January, this location of the Taiwanese bubble tea chain is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “Taiwanese” on Yelp.

Citywide, Taiwanese spots saw a median 2.3% increase in new reviews over the past month. Xing Fu Tang only recently appeared on Yelp, but while many new businesses struggle to gain reviews, it has seen strong initial popularity.

Located at 40-52 Main St. in Flushing, this is the first U.S. location of Xing Fu Tang, which was founded in 2018 and rapidly expanded to locations around the world, including 40 in Taiwan. Xing Fu Tang specializes in classic fruit and milk teas loaded with handmade, artisanal boba made fresh in front of customers and stir-fried in brown sugar.

Xing Fu Tang is open from 10 a.m.–10 p.m. daily.

Izakaya Toribar

(photo: christine a./yelp via Hoodline)

Whether or not you’ve been hearing buzz about Midtown’s Izakaya Toribar, it’s a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as “Bars” on Yelp saw a median 1.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, Izakaya Toribar appeared on Yelp relatively recently. Many new businesses struggle to gain reviews, but it has seen a surge of interest.

There’s more that’s trending on New York City’s bar scene: Barrel 79 has seen a 60% increase in reviews.

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Open at 164 E. 56th St. (between Lexington and Third avenues) since January, Izakaya Toribar offers an Izakaya experience focusing on grilled yakitori skewers, Japanese small plates and imported beer and sake.

Izakaya Toribar is open from 5 p.m.–midnight on Monday-Saturday. (It’s closed on Sunday.)

Grand Sahara Mediterranean Grill

(Photo: Grand Sahara Mediterranean Grill/Yelp via Hoodline)

Staten Island’s Grand Sahara Mediterranean Grill is also making waves. Open since last fall at 1828 Hylan Blvd. in Dongan Hills, the Turkish restaurant is relatively new to Yelp but has seen a surge of new reviews, while all businesses tagged “Mediterranean” on Yelp saw an increase of 1.5% for new reviews in the past month. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis, Grand Sahara Mediterranean Grill’s review count increased by more than 370%.

Grand Sahara Mediterranean Grill serves up a full menu of Mediterranean favorites, such as gyros, kebabs, falafel and seafood dishes. Over the past month, it’s seen its Yelp rating improve from 3.5 stars to four stars.

Grand Sahara Mediterranean Grill is open from 10 a.m.–11 p.m. daily.

Dough Vale

(Photo: Dough Vale/Yelp via Hoodline)

Williamsburg’s Dough Vale is the city’s buzziest Italian spot by the numbers.

The pizzeria and Italian restaurant, which opened at 330 S. Third St. (near Keap Street) in May 2019, increased its new review count by 73.3% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.4% for the Yelp category “Italian.” It outperformed the previous month by gaining 2.8 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.

On the menu at Dough Vale, diners will find a selection of traditional, personal-sized pizzas topped with authentic meats and cheeses. Other options include cheese and charcuterie appetizers, salads, baked pasta dishes and Italian desserts. Dough Vale is BYOB.

Dough Vale is open from 5–11 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 3–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Sunday. (It’s closed on Wednesday.)


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This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we’re doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.