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New York’s Disappearing Diners, Dustin Wilson Opens a Wine Shop, and More Intel

Cronuts make a cameo on Gilmore Girls, plus more news and gossip from around NYC

[The dining room at Baracca in the West Village]
[Daniel Krieger]

The Orchard Street space that is currently home to critically-acclaimed cider bar/restaurant Wassail is now on the market. A listing notes that asking rent is $16K per month, plus $395K in key money. The restaurant made its debut a year and a half ago, and Robert Sietsema gave it three stars last December.

According to Department of Health records, NYC has half as many diners as it did two decades ago. Times contributor George Belcher writes about his favorite member of this endangered species, Metro Diner, on the corner of Broadway and 100th Street: "One of the charms of the Metro, and of many other diners in the city, is that the employees’ backgrounds are as varied as the languages spoken by the tourists who have found their way here. Costa Rica, Ecuador, Greece, Mexico, Poland, Romania — these are just a few of the countries where staff members come from. Together they constitute a microcosm of the immigrant groups that continue to arrive in New York — who not only made the city what it was, but the best of what it is and could be."

Bucking the trend, one vanished greasy spoon, Lyric Diner, recently sprang back to life. The coffee shop on the corner of Third Avenue and East 22nd Street reopened under the name Tivoli Diner earlier this month. Over the summer, proprietor Gus Kassimis said that this would be a "traditional diner with newer flair."

— Cronuts have a cameo in the new season of Gilmore Girls:

The new series of the show also name-checks David Chang, Dan Barber, and Anthony Bourdian. Stay tuned for a roundup of the best food bits from Gilmore Girls later this week.

One amusing tidbit from the great NYT profile of former district attorney Robert Morgenthau: At one point in time, his father, Henry Morgenthau Jr., was planning to open a restaurant with his boss, Franklin D. Roosevelt, after he left office. Morgenthau remarks: "This for some reason has never got any attention....F.D.R. was going to be the maître d’, and my father was going to be the chief chef. They actually bought the property."

Dustin Wilson, the former Eleven Madison Park sommelier who was in the film Somm, recently opened a Tribeca wine shop in the old 24 Hubert space called Verve Wine. The store specializes in European wine, and there is a section dedicated to bottles that Wilson’s sommelier friends are stoked about these days. He tells Tribeca Citizen: "If Michaël Engelmann at the Modern is excited about something he’s pouring by the glass, we can share it here, with some visuals explaining it."

Marguerite Preston visits recently-relocated Nepalese restaurant Dhaulagiri Kitchen in its new home in Curry Hill: "Though it says so on the menu, a server will still warn that the samay baji, a set meal served here in a bento box, always comes with bhutun (or bhuttan as it's occasionally spelled), a sautéed blend of chopped goat stomach, kidney, liver, and heart; this is a dish for offal lovers. It also comes with a choice of chicken, beef, or goat cooked in a hearty blend of spices and piled on top of the organ meat to temper their funk."

Paulie Giannone is still fighting against his neighbors to get a beer and wine license at his new slice shop spinoff of Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint: From a message on Instagram: "If you live in the community and have appreciated the family dining experience that we have brought to the neighborhood since we opened our doors in March of 2010, please find it in your heart to come out to the Community Board #1 meeting on Tuesday night (11/29) at 6:30pm at The Swinging 60s Senior Center at 211 Ainslie Street."

Gabrielle Hamilton and Ashley Merriman prepared a very cool midday feast for their friends at Prune recently, and T Magazine documented every detail of the meal. Hamilton writes: "I’ve eaten the preservice family meal at 4:45 p.m. for so many decades now that I couldn’t drum up an appetite at 8 p.m. anyway."

Milk Bar is expanding to Los Angeles. Christina Tosi and her crew have not yet announced an exact location or opening time frame, but they are scoping out spaces in the LA area.

Downtown beer bar/shop Milk & Hops is expanding to the Upper East Side. The new 50-seat location of the bar will open at 1159 First Ave sometime in March.

— And finally, here’s a look at how the Orwashers crew makes the bakery’s sticky buns: