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Mars Bar Owner Dies, Small Fire Breaks Out at Katz's, and More Intel

New Yorkers don't care about calorie counts, plus more news and gossip from around NYC.

[Red Hook lobster pound. Great place for a burger, actually, during lunch.]
[Red Hook lobster pound. Great place for a burger, actually, during lunch.]
Daniel Krieger

Hank Penza, the proprietor of the now-defunct Mars Bar, has died. He was 82. Penza operated the legendary dive from 1982 to 2011. Local artist Antony Zito notes: "He was THE most legit badass New Yorker ever. His stories were the greatest. Whatever may have remained of the New York he knew left this earthly plane with him." Bowery Boogie points out that his name was on the liquor license application of NaturES, the juice bar in the rebuilt Mars Bar space, but it closed recently. Penza also operated a handful of other neighborhood establishments, including Willie's and Hank's Crystal Palace.

A small electrical fire broke out in the basement of Katz's yesterday. The fire department quickly got a handle on the situation, and there were no reports of any injuries. The fire started at around 4:10 p.m. but it was extinguished by 4:40 p.m. The restaurant was back to doing business as usual by 5 p.m.

Most of Williamsburg's mob hangouts are gone, but establishments like Bamonte's and Fortunato Brothers are still going strong. Mario Fortunato, the proprietor of the Italian cafe on Manhattan Avenue, was once convicted for the murder of a loan shark at a nearby club. The conviction was overturned on an appeal, and he recently received $300,000 in a settlement.

A new study by NYU School of Medicine shows that New Yorkers really don't care about calorie counts at chain restaurants. According to the study, around one third of fast food customers notice the counts, and about nine percent actually use them to determine what to eat.

— Gael Greene likes most of the dishes she samples at Yunan BBQ on the Lower East Side: "Maybe the grilled lamb skewers with Yunnan spices - soft and pasty in texture -- are a little weird, but I'd say weird in an intriguing way. I chew a whole prawn, starting just above the tail, skin and all, sucking the neck juice, noticing that for $16 we get six, two for each of us. Bok choy, sweet peppers, and sticky rice cakes are tossed into the caramelized chicken, though the promised Thai chili is still too spare."

The owners of Dean & DeLuca are planning a new location of the gourmet food store at 40 Wall Street. This outpost will most likely include a sit-down cafe with wine and beer. It's slated to open sometime next year.

Allan Mannarelli, the owner of The Cock, is still vying for a liquor license in the old home of Lit on Second Avenue in the East Village. A new CB3 SLA agenda indicates that he plans to reduce the bar's footprint from two floors to one. Mannarelli also applied for a corporate change, so presumably, this new bar will open as a new iteration of Lit.

— And finally, here's Andrew Carmellini's recipe for bacon-wrapped turkey breast:

Katz's Delicatessen

205 East Houston Street, Manhattan, NY 10002 (212) 254-2246 Visit Website