— Nello Balan, the one-time operator of Upper East Side clubhouse Nello, owes a ton of money to the government. The Post reports that the restaurateur is number 37 on the list of the top 250 New York state delinquent taxpayers, with a "warrant balance" of $1.14 million. The restaurateur explains: "My accountant is working on this...The figure is nothing near that amount. We should resolve it in the next month." Nello is still working on a new restaurant at 14 East 58th Street. The delinquent taxpayer list also includes a cameo by Todd English, who owes $715,684 to the government. And if you scan through the full list (PDF) you'll also see appearances by chef/restaurateur David Ruggerio and nightlife guy Chris Reda.
— A building at the massive Hudson Yards development over in West Chelsea will have New York's tallest observation deck, and part of that space will feature a sky-high restaurant and bar. No word yet on who will operate the restaurant. But fingers crossed, maybe Thomas Keller or Danny Meyer will step up to the plate. The last thing NYC needs is another crummy observation deck restaurant. 30 Hudson Yards will be completed in 2019.
— Real estate investor Henry Ikezi is suing Cipriani for allegedly kicking him out of the high-end chain's Wall Street club/work space because he's black. Ikezi is seeking $4 million in damages.
— Ben Pope, formerly of Park Slope's Two Duck Goose, is planning a modern Cantonese project at 165 Avenue B called Sum Restaurant. The sample menu (PDF) submitted with the CB3 includes duck empanadas, tea-smoked branzino, and nopales fried rice.
— A group of animal right demonstrators protested outside a Midtown Starbucks over the weekend. The activists held up pictures of dead animals, and some participants covered themselves in fake blood. According to the Post, the protestors were shouting: "It’s not just coffee, it’s blood on your hands!"
— And speaking of Starbucks, starting tomorrow night, the coffee chain's location on North 7th Street in Williamsburg will serve four craft beers and 10 wines by the glass, plus shareable small plates. Sounds like The Four Horsemen is about to get some stiff competition.
— Klezmer musicians recently performed a concert in Abe Lebewohl Park to honor its namesake restaurateur, who was shot outside the Second Avenue Deli 19 years ago.
— Anthony Bourdain hosted the world's best slumber party pancake pop-up in his apartment over the weekend.
— The ice shavers of the Lower East Side will see some swift business today.
— And finally, here's how to cook with fire and smoke, like Marta's Nick Anderer: