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Greasy Spoon Economics, Whole Foods Recall, Flay Versus the Desnudas, and More Intel

Adam Platt likes the Continental cuisine at Gabriel Kreuther in Midtown, plus more news and gossip from around New York City.

[The dining room at Estela.  Excellent choice for dinner tonight, or even just a drink at the bar.]
[The dining room at Estela. Excellent choice for dinner tonight, or even just a drink at the bar.]
Daniel Krieger

New York City is a tough place to operate a diner. Crain's notes that there are now 398 diners across the city — down from 1,000 several decades ago — and the number keeps dwindling due to the rising cost of labor and eggs. Also, landlords keep spiking the rent. Ilias Argena, the longtime proprietor of the Evergreen Diner on 47th Street, explains: "One day they will raise my rent and I will close." The massive, extremely popular Bel Aire diner in Astoria generates about $3.6 million per year, with profit margins around 6 percent, which is higher than a lot of larger independent restaurants. But many diner operators are not so fortunate. Bel Aire's owner Argyris Dellaportas notes: "You have to be tough in this business; otherwise people will cheat you."

Whole Foods is recalling its "Curry Chicken Salad" and "Classic Deli Pasta Salad" because the FDA thinks they may be contaminated with listeria. No illnesses have been reported yet, but if you purchased these items from any of the Whole Foods locations in the Northeast, you should throw them out.

The dish presentations are silly at times, and some courses miss the mark. But Adam Platt finds enough hits at Gabriel Kreuther's eponymous Midtown restaurant to give it three stars: "The more successful dishes at this somewhat overstudied restaurant tend to be Kreuther’s inventive riffs on old classics—intricately crisped duck with fleischschnecke pasta and red cabbage, the pastry-crusted squab and foie gras 'croustillant' for two—and if you’re looking for a taste of Kreuther’s famous sturgeon-and-sauerkraut tart, you’ll find it buried in the 'Carte Blanche' chef’s tasting menu."

— The Times Square Desnudas were hired by an anonymous client to surprise Bobby Flay at a New York City Wine and Food Festival event earlier this month. According to Page Six, the women showed up to the party with the word "cheater" painted on their bare chests. Flay is currently in the process of divorcing his third wife, Stephanie March, but there's still no word yet on who hired the Desnudas. The manager of the squad tells Page Six: "I was paid a lot of money not to say anything."

America's first hemp bar, Brooklyn Bark, was forced to close after a recent DOH inspection. Owner Lev Kelman claims that the shop on St. Mark's Place passed all the tests, but the DOH is requiring that the team adds two small sinks to the space. Brooklyn Bark sells hemp-based chocolates, plus pastries and coffee. Kelman thinks there's a chance he might not be able to reopen the shop.

— Juicery at 15 Essex Street closed after just two months in business.

People line up early and often for Jamaican food served from an unmarked window on the side of a building on the corner of St. John’s and Kingston in Crown Heights.

Tomorrow, the owners of Num Pang will officially open their new Financial District location at 75 Broad Street. As a pre-opening special, the restaurant is offering three sandwiches at that location for $5 today, including the new "Hoisin BBQ pulled turkey pang," which is basically Num Pang's riff on a Thanksgiving sandwich.

— And finally, Chelsea Spanish hit Toro is now open on Sundays. Here's how Jamie Bissonnette makes the restaurant's version of Valencian paella:

Toro

, , CA 93921 (831) 574-3255 Visit Website

Gabriel Kreuther

41 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, NY 10036 (212) 257-5826 Visit Website

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