— BR Guest's 18-year-old Upper West Side seafood restaurant Ocean Grill closed on Sunday night. A farewell note on the door explains: "[We] strongly believe Ocean Grill's closing is due in part to disruptive actions taken by the building's landlords and we have brought legal action against these parties." The restaurant has been covered in scaffolding on and off since 2012, and around this time last year a construction hoist was installed directly in front of the entrance. West Side Rag reports that the restaurant is seeking $1.495 million in lost earnings, as well as $4.87 million for "lost value." BR Guest is in the process or relocating its employees. Yesterday phone calls went out to guests that had booked New Year's Eve reservations. BR Guest also shuttered its massive Times Square restaurant Ruby Foo's not too long ago.
— The 2015 D-Biggity Award for Christmas Card Excellence goes to... Eleven Madison Park!
— Tracy Obolsky is the new pastry chef at Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer's Cookshop in Chelsea. Obolsky previously ran the pastry department at North End Grill. Her new menu at Cookshop includes maple syrup flan, a chocolate malt sundae, and cider doughnuts with coffee cream.
— The long-simmering legal battle between Michael Chow and the Philippe team has come to an end...maybe. In a 2009 suit, Chow claimed that restaurateur Stratis Morfogen lured chef Chak Yam Chau away from Mr. Chow to open Philippe Chow with a similar menu. The Philippe Chow team countersued for defamation and other claims. But now Page Six reports that a federal appeals court recently ruled that Mr. Chow has to pay "more than $1.1 million in legal fees and costs" to the Philippe team. Morfogen actually split from his Philippe partners earlier this year, and now he operates the new Jue Lan Club in the Limelight.
— The Mast Brothers admit that at one point early in their careers, they used industrial chocolate for their candy bars. And at one point even earlier in their careers, the Masts didn't have beards.
— A new restaurant called the NY Brat Factory is coming soon to the corner of Amsterdam and 106. From the tipline:
If you spy a new restaurant opening in your neighborhood, let us know.
— Bluebird coffee shop on East First Street has closed. A sign in the window notes that cafe is under new ownership and it will open with "a new identity" soon.
— The Shake Shack team is planning to open an outpost in Seoul, South Korea next year. By 2025, the Shack crew wants to have 25 locations in Korea.
— And finally, here's a look at how Peppa's jerk chicken is made: