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BR Guest Shake-up, Gwyneth's Mariachi Brunch, and More Intel

Soho is getting a cat cafe, plus more restaurant news.

[The bar at Leyenda in Cobble Hill. Solid choice for a drink after work this evening.]
[The bar at Leyenda in Cobble Hill. Solid choice for a drink after work this evening.]
Daniel Krieger

James Gersten, the CEO and president of BR Guest, abruptly left the restaurant mega-group this week, Steve Cuozzo reports. Gersten replaced Steve Hanson at BR Guest following his split with the company two years ago. An unnamed source tells Cuozzo: "James discovered he was about to be pushed out and so he resigned." Rumor has it that the group's profits dropped recently, and that did not sit well with Barry Sternlicht, the head of BR's parent company Starwood Capital Group. Earlier this month, Gersten was helping to promote the company's new outpost of Dos Caminos in Times Square. Before joining BR Guest, Gersten opened La Esquina, and also worked for Myriad, the Smith & Wollensky group, and Jean-Georges's Culinary Concepts. BR Guest has not commented on his departure or named his replacement.

Charles Masson's new restaurant in the old Post House space will be "French with a Mediterranean palate," and the interiors will be designed by the White House's decorator Michael W. Smith. It's slated to open in March.

Gwyneth Paltrow celebrated her 43rd birthday at Prune on Saturday with mom Blythe Danner. Paltrow's partner in conscious uncoupling, Chris Martin, was also in attendance. Gwen's crew sprung for a surprise mariachi band:

— George Mendes's Portuguese hot spot Lupulo is now serving lunch Monday through Friday with a menu that includes an open-faced avocado sandwich, a double-stacked burger, salads, and salt cod with eggs.

Ssäm Bar will host Chris Shepherd of Houston's Underbelly for a $135 meal on October 20. Tickets are available online.

Dimes Deli, the spinoff of health food hit Dimes, is just about ready to open at 143 Division Street. This is the space that originally housed Dimes before it moved across the street. The new shop will sell produce, dry goods, and food for take-away. Bowery Boogie hears that the shop is making its debut later today.

— Word on the street is that East Village Cheese is slated to reopen today in its new home at 80 East Seventh Street.

— The Broad City team filmed a Cronut parody at Swallow Cafe in Williamsburg yesterday.

Soho is getting a permanent cat cafe called Little Lions. The owner raised approximately $67K via an online campaign, which she'll use to help get the shop open. One part of the space will offer coffee and tea, and another section will feature cats from the Angellicle Cat Rescue and Animal Care and Control, which guests can play with after paying a small admission fee. The cafe at 38-40 Grand St. is slated to open later this fall or early next year.

The owners of Pranna are trying to erase the restaurant's reputation as a throbbing bottomless brunch hellhole. They nixed the weekend parties, and they hired a detective to consult on security. They're also planning to slice the space in half and sublet part of it to another restaurateur. A new Indian fine dining restaurant called Ziya will open in the smaller portion of the space next year.

— Long Island City cafe Communitea is expected to reopen today at its new, bigger home at 11-18 46th Rd.

— And finally, here's how to make a pie crust like the crew from Four & Twenty Blackbirds:


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