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Absurd Reservation Strategies, NYC's Tortilla Explosion, and More a.m. Intel

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Everything you need to know about New York dining today, Monday July 27.

[The back dining room at Gramercy Tavern. A perfect place for lunch today, really.]
[The back dining room at Gramercy Tavern. A perfect place for lunch today, really.]
Daniel Krieger

Rich people are having a hard time making reservations at clubby restaurants around Manhattan, the Times reports. The reservations game has changed quite a bit over the years, and these days, palming the maitre d' a folded-up $100 bill might not get you past the host podium. Restaurateur Jason Apfelbaum says that one great strategy is calling and pretending to be a hotel concierge, because restaurants never call your bluff. Abraham Merchant, the owner of Philippe, claims that he'll give up the PDR at his restaurant if a guest calls ahead and orders a $10,000 bottle of wine. And actress/socialite Cassandra Seidenfeld explains that she was able to score a reservation at The Polo Bar by asking her personal shopper at the Ralph Lauren store to put in a good word.

The number of Mexican restaurants in New York increased by 13 percent over the last five years. Although the city has approximately five factories that supply restaurants with fresh tortillas, about 350 dining establishments purchase them from a supplier called Best Mexican Foods, which is based in Cheseter, N.Y. The owner tells Crain's that his parents started the company as a taco stand on 34th Street in 1968, and business has been growing ever since.

The Spice location on First Avenue between East Fourth and East Fifth streets is back in action after a one month closure due to issues with the building.

Jennifer Lopez's four-tiered birthday cake got delivered to the wrong restaurant on Saturday. Her party was at 1OAK Southampton, but the cake was sent to Beautique, where she held a party the day before.  The cake was quickly re-routed to the correct location.

— A new taqueria is going into the space at 835 Washington Street in the Meatpacking District:

[Photo: Hillary Dixler]

No word yet on who's behind this new restaurant or when it will open.

Cheap First Avenue Japanese restaurant Ashiya Sushi has closed. A sign in the window explains that the team will be reopening the restaurant at 11 West 36th St., at some point in the near future.

13 years ago, Britney Spears opened and closed a Midtown Cajun restaurant called Nyla. Head over to Vanity Fair for more tales of celebrity restaurant superflops.

San Francisco is a hard-luck city for fans of NYC-style bagels. The team behind Neo-Jewish deli Wise and Sons is valiantly trying to improve the bagel situation in the Bay Area, but they've faced some setbacks recently, including a fire that broke out in their commissary.

— Mick Jagger had dinner at The Lion last week.

Between the first and second Sunday shows, some Broadway casts host barbecues in the private alleyways between the theaters.

— And finally, here's a short video about the massive hamburgers at Bosna Express in Ridgewood:

The Polo Bar

1 East 55th Street, Manhattan, NY 10022 (212) 207-8562 Visit Website

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