More than 300 restaurants across the U.S. have been funded with the help of Kickstarter, according to a map released by the site last week.
Kickstarter has increasingly become a valuable resource for budding restaurateurs. Some even speculate that the crowdfunding site could be the future of restaurant financing, in part because it offers an infusion of cash without the attachment of private investors.
It also offers a way for entrepreneurs to engage closely with their community.
“I really think of them as being the perfect project because they are, obviously, so community-based, largely by physical location, but not always,” Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler said to Eater. “They’re great ways for communities to get together and to really have a closer relationship with a place that can be a pretty central hub to that neighbourhood or town.”
Inspired by Kickstarter’s map of the restaurants that had been funded using their services, we looked at which of those eateries in New York City offered the best dining experience. To compile our rankings, we considered ratings from Yelp and OpenTable, as well as professional reviews from publications like Zagat, New York Magazine, and The New York Times.
From a Japanese-Jewish eatery to a Michelin-starred restaurant, there are plenty of places worth exploring.
Snowdonia is a Trappist-inspired gastropub with an extensive offering of affordable craft brews. There's plenty of beer-inspired fare to be had here: mussels in beer, beer-battered fish and chips, as well as classic pub items like bangers and mash.
Their Kickstarter campaign reads, 'As young professionals (and cool people) ourselves who have lived in Astoria for over 10 years, we feel there is a void in the Astoria restaurant/bar scene that needs to be filled, especially after 10pm, for people looking for something more intimate than a dive, but less pricey than fine dining.'
They raised $US11,260 in Kickstarter funding.
The Japanese-Jewish cuisine of Shalom Japan is the brainchild of married owners Aaron Israel and Sawako Okochi. The combination may be unconventional, but it works -- according to the New Yorker, 'At its best, their food is fusion in the truest sense, seamless and utterly convincing.'
Matzah ball ramen, pastrami-stuffed chicken, and lox rice bowls are among the unique offerings.
The concept restaurant earned $US20,086 from 131 backers on Kickstarter.
Matt and Emily Hyland raised $US16,132 on Kickstarter to design and build an authentic wood-burning pizza oven. The pizza oven is the centrepiece of their restaurant, but they serve delicious pastas and small plates, too.
Eater recently named Emily one of the 21 hottest pizza places in the U.S.
This is a small take-away food shop and cafe by nutritionist and food writer Marissa Lippert. The focus is on fresh, healthy ingredients that you can take with you to-go, but there's a big communal table if you'd rather stay and eat there.
The project raised $US19,640 from 163 backers.
Owner Erin Norris had been working on opening her own restaurant since 2008. Her work was nearly complete when Hurricane Sandy hit, inflicting serious damage on the building.
Norris raised $US19,855 on Kickstarter, enough money to rebuild the space and officially open for business.
The restaurant is tiny and cash-only, but merguez tortellini, braised pork cheek, and lamb neck ragu are just a few of the delicious menu items on offer.
Chef Melissa O'Donnell used Kickstarter funds to convert her longtime restaurant, Salt Bar, into a new venture called Thelma on Clinton.
The restaurant was named after her Lebanese grandmother, and the menu incorporates dishes from a variety of cultures.
'For centuries the Lower East Side has been a destination for immigrants arriving in the US, and a melting pot of culture and ethnicity,' her Kickstarter campaign reads. 'The Thelma menu will be diverse, representing the many cultures that have found a home in this neighbourhood of New York City.'
O'Donnell raised $US50,415 from 119 backers.
Littleneck serves up inventive seafood dishes with a conscience. According to their Kickstarter campaign, the owners source their ingredients from local vendors, compost their food scraps, and use eco-friendly kitchen equipment. They raised $US13,000 from 162 backers.
The Village Voice rated Littleneck as New York's best restaurant for homesick New Englanders: 'The food is enough to make any relocated Sox fan come running, leaving her Rs at the door, to embrace the Yankee lifestyle (and we don't mean the team in the Bronx).'
This charming restaurant from City Bakery alums Ilene Rosen and Sara Dima serves up delicious comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The most popular part of 606 R&D, however, may be the doughnuts they cook in-house. Their Dreesen doughnut machine, along with staff training at Dreesen's Doughnut College and all of the necessary ingredients, were made possible by the restaurant's Kickstarter campaign. They raised $US10,377 from 166 backers.
Felipe and Tamy Donnelly entered the culinary world with Worth Kitchen, a pop-up dinner club they hosted at their apartment. Their dinner parties became so popular with foodies that the couple was eventually served a cease-and-desist letter by the New York City Health Department. After hosting a series of pop-up events in venues around the city, they decided to turn to Kickstarter to raise funds for a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
They raised $US15,900 from 169 backers.
The restaurant gets high marks for its cozy atmosphere and varied menu, which features dishes from Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Spain.
This New American restaurant has provided a culinary boost to a neighbourhood historically lacking in quality restaurants. Since opening, it has earned high praises from reviewers at The New York Times and New York Magazine.
The bulk of their $US15,371 worth of Kickstarter funds went toward constructing a sleek countertop and bar stools.
'To us, nothing is cooler than sitting at the kitchen while a chef prepares your meal right in front of you,' the Kickstarter campaign reads. 'Watching the art of cooking while you dine is like a new kind of theatre and can be truly inspirational, changing the way you think about the food you eat.'
They also have 'sexy kitchen appliances, beautiful pendant lamps, and cool tiles for the wall' thanks to their crowdfunding campaign.
Just four months after opening, this New Zealand-inspired restaurant and chef Matt Lambert earned a distinction many chefs spend years working toward: a Michelin star.
According to a gushing review in The New York Times, 'The food is ambitious and meticulously detailed. Pork smoked over Manuka wood (indigenous to New Zealand) takes on a carnal sweetness, heightened by a tart chutney of Hidden Rose apples and Cognac. Blanched sea beans snake through shredded smoked scallops blotted with black garlic. Even a simple pat of butter gets a dusting of sea salt and Manuka ash.'
The $25,635 they raised on Kickstarter went toward building renovations, including installing new ovens and constructing the bar.