— A restaurant consultant by the name of John McKee recently admitted to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a handful of high profile Manhattan establishments, including The Highlands, Whitehall, Raoul's, and Agave. McKee was depositing checks made out to vendors into his company's bank account. DNAinfo reports that the crook moved approximately $79,000 of money from the Highlands into his account, and he pinched about $250,000 from Agave*, which is still going strong on Seventh Avenue. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. announced the guilty plea this week. McKee will be sentenced this fall for scheme to defraud in the first degree and grand larceny in the second degree.
— A prep school teacher was recently arrested for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old student in the bathroom of East Village dive Lit Lounge.
— On a much lighter note: Rumor has it that Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield are getting very close to opening a wood-fired burger restaurant in the Pod 51 Hotel. This would surely change the restaurant scene in Midtown East, forever. Is this a preview of things to come? Possibly:
— Chinatown newcomer Mr. Fong's is full of models, scenesters, and actors right now, but you won't find what the Times calls "the undesirable bro contingent choking Lower East Side bars." One of the bar's partners, Lucas Moran, explains: "This weird jaunt, through alleyways that are rat-filled and streets that are only one block long, might be a good filter for that sort of clientele."
— Rockaway Taco co-founder David Selig and design company The MP Shift recently opened a seasonal gallery/market/event space on Rockaway Beach's 96th Street called The Palms. The space features a coconut-based drink stand slash snack bar called OCAFE, and part of the venue will host a series of evening meals, served al fresco. This weekend, Navy's Camille Becerra will be serving a five-course dinner with dessert by Nick Morgenstern for $75. Tickets are available online.
— The penthouse tenant at 54 Thompson Street is suing ground-floor restaurant Pera Soho for $1.5 million over the use of the building's rooftop space. The NIMBY alleges that the restaurant's management lets guests smoke weed and party on the rooftop deck all night long, even though that space is just supposed to be used by residential tenants.
— Milk Bar just introduced a bunch of new cold items to the menu, including a birthday cake shake, cereal milk affogato, and chocolate chip passionfruit cake soft serve.
— Sunnyside's Venturo Osteria & Wine Bar is hosting a craft cocktail pop-up on weekend nights throughout the summer.
— The owner of Rocky Slims is opening a new burger restaurant/speakeasy in the old Barramundi space on Clinton Street. The bar will be called "Garfunkel's," but the teams has not yet decided on a name for the restaurant portion of the space.
— And finally, here's two minutes of fancy cocktail shaking from Thomas Waugh of ZZ's Clam Bar:
*Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly noted that Agave had closed. It's still very much open for business.