Bellwether is a neighborhood restaurant in Long Island City, Queens. A collaboration between owner Matthew McCormick, a longtime resident of LIC, and chef/co-owner Preston Madson, the warm and convivial restaurant brings a fresh voice to the neighborhood’s emerging culinary scene.
Bellwether's New American fare highlights local and sustainably-sourced ingredients in a natural and contemporary setting. The refined yet accessible menu focuses on seasonality, and every plate’s ingredients and flavors faithfully reflect that approach, with inflections of Mediterranean, North African, and Asian cuisine. Bellwether sources proteins from Fossil Farms and Goffle Road Farms, and fresh produce from Natoora, Keepsake Farm, and Foraged and Found Edibles. The team takes regular trips to local farms. Seafood comes from nearby Greenpoint Fish & Lobster. McCormick’s own family farm in Ohio supplies the restaurant with its organic honey.
Both McCormick and Madson believe that being a generous host and bringing people together over a shared meal is one of life’s most fulfilling gifts – at Bellwether, this spirit is very much alive. The bright 60-seat dining room is designed to welcome locals and visitors alike and to provide a gathering place for meaningful connection and shared memories.
Chef Preston Madson grew up in Southeast Georgia. Surrounded by Southern classics and locally grown ingredients, he developed an early appreciation for food and learned at a young age to cook based on the seasons. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Madson cooked at the popular raw food vegan restaurant Roxanne’s and subsequently worked on an organic farm in the San Francisco Bay Area. Eventually moving back to the East Coast, he continued to pursue his passion for high quality ingredients and careful sourcing at New York City’s acclaimed Barbuto restaurant under chef/owner Jonathan Waxman, who introduced him to a “less is more” approach which helped to shape his cooking style today. After Barbuto, Madson cooked at Manhattan’s Cookshop, Provence, Peels, and Freemans as executive chef. Eventually, he re-joined his mentor Jonathan Waxman to open Jams at the 1 Central Park Hotel, serving as chef de cuisine with his wife as executive chef. Now, Preston brings his experience and inspiration to Bellwether.
DESIGN AND DECOR
The restaurant is elegant and peaceful, featuring hand-patched, whitewashed brick walls and a suspended white wood pallet ceiling. Sculptures compiled of collected driftwood adorn the walls, simple shelves hold small potted succulents, and reclaimed redwood from an old New York City water tower comprises the host stand. Earth tones and neutral elements along with unique art installations enhance the space with a touch of every season represented. A breathtaking moss wall frames the mother of pearl backsplash behind the long, angular bar, providing vibrant color to the restaurant’s center. Adjacent to this, an art piece titled "Winter Topography," brings a striking element to the space.
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