Robert Aikens joines the Rainbow Room team, plus more restaurant news and gossip from NYC.
— The real estate mega-developers at Thor Equities are planning to build a mixed-use building in the North 6th Street space that currently houses Ramen Yebisu, Chai Tai, and Baoburg. Gothamist shares a photo of the green plywood wall that has been erected in front of the restaurants, which are still open for business. The Chai Thai team wrote a sign on the plywood that reads: “We are open.” The plans for the building show potential restaurant spaces, although none of the current establishments are included in the rendering. Ramen Yebisu has another outpost in Park Slope, and Chai Thai has a sibling in Midtown. Baoburg is opening a spinoff in Greenpoint soon. These restaurants have not announced any closing dates yet.
— Ayesha Nurdjaja is the new chef at Hundred Acres in Soho. The chef previously helmed the kitchen at Red Gravy, and before that she worked as the executive sous chef at A Voce and Picholine. Nurdjaja is now serving a menu with Mediterranean-inspired dishes like braised lamb shank with couscous, and homemade stracciatella with roasted peppers and harissa.
— Mumbles, the American bar/restaurant on the corner of Third Avenue and 17th Street, has closed after 22 years in business. The proprietors of nearby Italian restaurant La Follia are moving the operation into the Mumbles space soon. No word yet on what will move into the La Follia space after that.
— When Sirio closes next month, The Pierre Hotel will install a new French-American restaurant called Perrine. The hotel’s executive chef, Ashfer Biju, will be in charge of this new dining room. It’s slated to open on March 21, and an adjacent cocktail lounge will make its debut in June.
— David Chang ate his way through Los Angeles last week. Eater LA has a full recap of his impressive food crawl.
The Rainbow Room by Krieger
— Robert Aikens, formerly of The Peacock and The Shakespeare, is the new chef at The Rainbow Room. Aikens changed up brunch service so that it’s now a la carte with a few buffet options. Before heading to New York, the British-born chef worked inside Stephen Starr’s Philadelphia restaurant empire.
— Since switching to Hospitality-Included, Danny Meyer’s no-tipping system, diners at The Modern are spending a a bit less on wine, but the food sales balance things out. Union Square Hospitality Group’s chief restaurant officer Sabato Sagaria tells Bloomberg: “We held our breath and flipped the switch….Fortunately, we didn’t see much movement.” In other tipping news, Andre Tarlow hired a graphic designer to create a “gratuity-free establishment” sign that restaurateurs can hang in their windows if they switch to a no-tipping system.
— Thiru and Heather Rajamani are opening a spinoff of their Carroll Gardens Indian restaurant Dosa Royale in Clinton Hill. The new restaurant at 258 Dekalb Avenue will feature some new grilled items, plus backyard seating. It’s slated to open this spring.
— A truck selling the paczki — Polish doughnuts that are traditionally consumed around Fat Tuesday — will be rolling through Midtown this week. The Old Polish Cuisine Truck, as it’s called, will set up shop on East 52nd Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues today. The truck will keep selling paczki in Midtown through Tuesday. Check out @polishcuisine for the coordinates.
— Alan Rosen, the third generation owner of Junior’s, is planning to open new iterations of the diner/bakery in Miami and Boca Raton, FL. Rosen recently moved the Junior’s baking operation from Maspeth, Queens, to a larger space in Burlington, N.J. Junior’s sells around two million cheesecakes a year in its restaurants, by mail order, and through supermarket chains like Wegmans. Rosen says he recently turned down a $45 million offer to sell the original Junior’s in Downtown Brooklyn. According to Crain’s, Junior’s is worth about $70 million.
— And finally, here’s a look at how the Uncle Boons team makes beer slushies:
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