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Remembering Daniel Defonte, Arrogant Swine Robbery, and More Intel

Union Square Cafe's last night on East 16th Street will be December 12, plus more restaurant news and gossip.

[Rosie's in the East Village. Solid choice for dinner this Wednesday evening.]
[Rosie's in the East Village. Solid choice for dinner this Wednesday evening.]
Daniel Krieger

— Sad news out of Red Hook today: Daniel Defonte — the restaurateur who ran Defonte's of Brooklyn for decades — died on Sunday. He was 89. Defonte took over the sandwich shop from his dad many years ago, and he passed the business onto his son, Nick, when he retired at 72. Sadly, during the last years of his life, Daniel struggled with dementia, but he still stayed connected to the family business. From a statement released by the Defonte family:

Daniel Defonte was the heartbeat of the store. He was not just your boss, he was like a father figure to many. He employed hundreds of people within the Italian-American and Irish-American community because he felt everyone deserved a chance. He was a tough boss, but he was fair. Anyone who has ever been in Defonte's can remember the employees were always joking around but when it came down to it — business meant business.

The Defonte family still runs the Red Hook shop and its spinoff on Staten Island.

A thief broke into Tyson Ho's Bushwick barbecue restaurant Arrogant Swine last week and stole $3,000 from the safe. The damage to the space was minimal, but Ho points out that business was also down last week because of the threat of the hurricane. The restaurateur tells DNAinfo: "In between getting robbed and the hurricane, it wasn't an awesome week."

Union Square Cafe's last day in its original home will be December 12. After that, it will move into the City Crab space a few blocks away (that seafood restaurant closed a few weeks ago). For the last 12 nights on East 16th Street, Union Square Cafe will serve $85 set menus featuring some of the restaurant's most popular dishes from the last 30 years. Reservations will be available by phone, only; 212-243-4020.

The 100 people who won 52 meals of free Chick-fil-A last weekend had to participate in all sorts of dorky activities the night of the giveaway. Gawker has a detailed account of that strange evening inside the Midtown location of the chain.

St. Mark's Place seafood restaurant Red & Gold Boil called it quits after 13 months in business. No word yet on what will take its place.

Kevin Pemoulie is done with the Jersey City/NYC restaurant scene for now. In a rant on Grub Street, the chef explains why he and his wife Alex are shuttering Thirty Acres and moving to the Seattle area to try something new. One snippet:

Alex and I, it’s only us here — no investors, all the money, or lack thereof, is ours — and I don’t want a fucking place anymore where people don’t like it. And I don’t want a place where people are challenged to like it. I don’t want to make people eat sea urchin if they don’t want it. I just want them to come in and be happy. If I can’t make food that does that thing, then I shouldn’t fucking do this anymore.

The critically acclaimed restaurant will close at the end of November.

— Gael was not impressed by her first visit to SD26 replacement Black Barn:

— According to the restaurant's website, American Cut will soon be expanding to Puerto Rico.

— And finally, here's how to make Middle Eastern spreads like Einat Admony:

Union Square Cafe

101 East 19th Street, Manhattan, NY 10003 (212) 243-4020 Visit Website

Thirty Acres

500 Jersey Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07302 (201) 435-3100 Visit Website

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