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Hell's Kitchen 'Takeout Challenge' Crowns Bar As Winner

Patch logo Patch 1/6/2021 Nick Garber
a woman posing for a picture: Pocket Bar and owner Suzy Darling (far right, pictured with bartender Pip Lynas) won the Hell's Kitchen Takeout Challenge. © Courtesy of Suzy Darling Pocket Bar and owner Suzy Darling (far right, pictured with bartender Pip Lynas) won the Hell's Kitchen Takeout Challenge.

HELL'S KITCHEN, NY — A campaign to patronize small businesses in Hell's Kitchen wrapped up this week, crowning a winner after more than 1,200 neighbors joined the campaign.

Pocket Bar, a cozy beer and wine spot on West 48th Street, took the top spot in the Hell's Kitchen Takeout Challenge, which comes with a $1,000 prize,a feature in Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer's weekly newsletter and a visit by Brewer sometime in the spring.

"I'm overwhelmed, and have to confess to crying a little when I found out. In a good way," owner Suzy Darling said Tuesday. "Last year was an emotional roller coaster, and I feel blessed to have ended it on this high."

Launched in November by the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Action Committee, the challenge asked residents to log every purchase they made from a local business at the HKNAC website, and write in a nomination for their favorite spots.

Other winners included:

Organizer Holly-Anne Devlin said more than 90 businesses were nominated during the campaign, which aimed to help neighborhood shops and eateries survive the existential threat of the pandemic.

"I’m hopeful that in some small part this event will shine a light on the need for additional government funding for local entrepreneurs," she said in an email.

A separate prize is reserved for the resident who did the most shopping during the challenge. That person, identified only as Bobby, will get to choose between gift cards, a burlesque ticket or a virtual coffee with comedian and Hell's Kitchen resident Lewis Black.

Darling's bar has been closed since indoor dining shut down in December, but she vowed to reopen Pocket Bar as soon as possible. In the meantime, she said, she is grateful for the neighborhood's support, which has been "literally the only thing that has kept us going through the pandemic.

"To all of those who have shown us love over the last however many months (am I the only one who has lost track?), iIt means EVERYTHING!" Darling said.

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