— Empire Diner is going through a rough patch right now. TMZ reports that the restaurant is four months behind on rent. According to legal documents, the owners have to pony up $119,000 by next Monday or face eviction. Amanda Freitag is one of the partners, but she stepped out of the kitchen back in July.
— Tien Ho, the talented chef who previously ran the kitchens at Má Pêche and Montmartre, is now the "vice president of culinary and hospitality" for Whole Foods. Ho will be working with local chefs to bring their food to locations of the market across the country. The chef tells Fortune: "The mass scale of the impact I can have—I really fell in love with that." For the last year and a half, Tien worked as the corporate executive chef for Morgans Hotel Group.
— East Village dive The Cock is now officially open in its new home at 93 Second Avenue, which is the space that formerly housed Lit. For the time being, the bar is open Wednesday through Sunday, and it's already started hosting a few parties in the basement. Owner Allan Mannarelli tells Bedford + Bowery: "We are still digesting the move. Programming will be introduced slowly once we get the lay of the land in early 2016."
— A Dallas-based food blogger is on a mission to prove that the Mast Brothers have not been telling the truth about their bean to bar chocolate operation over the years. The bothers respond to his allegations in a statement to Grub Street: "Sorry that you liked our chocolate more in 2007 than in later years. Those were fun times, filled with experimentation and constant learning as we honed our craft out of our apartment. Needless to say, we were then and are now a bean to bar chocolate maker."
— Bowery Hot spot Rebelle is launching weekend lunch tomorrow. Expect hits from the dinner menu plus caviar service and a Champagne cart, plus a few new dishes like steak & eggs and a riff on a Spanish tortilla.
— And speaking of Rebelle, that restaurant lands on Tejal Rao's best of 2015 list along with Superiority Burger, Shuko, Semilla, and Via Carota, among others.
— Ligaya Mishan also drops a year-end listicle this week about her favorite cheap restaurants of 2015. Mr. Curry, Food Sermon, Okonomi, and Koptiam all make the cut.
— High Street on Hudson is almost ready to rock and roll. Here's a look at the inside of the space:
And the outside:
— Lower East Side bar The DL has canceled its SantaCon party on Saturday. The management tells Gothamist: "We don't believe that holding the event would be in the best interest of our brand or of the surrounding community."
— Old Man Hustle on Essex Street was shut down by the SLA on Wednesday night. Paperwork on the door indicates that the bar was caught serving drinks to minors on two separate occasions back in June.
— Page Six spotted Michael Cera at Serendipty 3 "texting on a flip phone."
— The Times Style Section visits Birdy's in Bushwick. The crowd assessment: "Under 30. It’s a friendly mélange of Brooklyn types who could be extras in a 'Girls' episode, with a few Marnies from Manhattan thrown in."
— And finally, here's how to make dumplings like Red Farm's Joe NG: