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Suspect Arrested in L & B Owner’s Shooting, ‘Merica Throws in the Towel, and More Intel

Rumors about Danny Meyer’s East Village restaurant, plus more news and gossip from around NYC

[The dining room at Runner & Stone in Gowanus]
[Daniel Krieger]

Police have arrested a suspect in the August murder of L & B Spumoni Gardens owner Louis Barbati. A man by the name of Andres Fernandez was arraigned in Brooklyn Federal Court this week. Barbati was shot in the driveway of his Dyker Heights home after returning from work from L & B with around $15,000 in cash. An FBI agent says the Fernandez was spotted hiding behind a tree on the afternoon of the incident, and court documents indicate that his cell phone was near both the pizzeria and Barbati’s home that day. The FBI is investigating whether Fernandez has any possible mob connections — as you may recall, L & B’s pizza recipe was involved in a feud between two alleged gangsters — but at this point, there is no evidence to suggest any ties to organized crime. The authorities still believe that this was a botched robbery attempt.

— Yesterday, Union Square Hospitality Group’s Chief Restaurant Officer Sabato Sagaria confirmed that Danny Meyer’s company is indeed planning a new project at 55 Third Avenue in the East Village, tentatively called Martina. The liquor license application does not list any information about the menu, and the team has not released any details about the overall concept of the place either. But two separate Eater sources whisper that Martina will be a casual spinoff of the group’s wildly popular 29th Street restaurant Marta. Rumor has it that this one will focus on pizza and antipasti. Sounds like a major win for the East Village.

— In other Danny Meyer news, the restaurateur’s no-tipping "Hospitality Included" plan expands to one of his most beloved venues, Gramercy Tavern, on December 1.

‘Merica, the mock-patriotic East Sixth Street restaurant that served Hillary and "T-Rump Mexi-Can" burgers while Walker Texas Ranger played on TV, has morphed back into Mediterranean restaurant Zerza. Although the restaurant received quite a bit of press, including some TV exposure, EV Grieve notes that the dining room was often empty. It lasted less than three weeks.

After 25 years in business, the owners of French patisserie Ceci Cela recently closed their Spring Street cafe. Now, fans of Ceci Cela's delectable croissants will have to head to the company’s other cafe at 14 Delancey Street.

Mario Batali has some feelings about Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s risotto recipe, which was revealed in the WikiLeaks email dump. At a party this week, the famous chef quipped: "I need to put my book on WikiLeaks, because Podesta’s risotto recipe is now the best-known in the world."

Serena Williams and her ex-boyfriend Common had dinner at Red Farm on the Upper West Side on Tuesday.

Hungry City critic Ligaya Mishan loves the banh mi sandwiches at Violet’s Bake Shop in Forest Hills, Queens: "The crust snaps like kindling, and then the sandwich is all creaminess, salt and heat, deeply basal flavors and brisk, bright ones, every note seemingly struck at once."

Fares "Freddy" Zeideia wants to launch five new King of Falafel trucks in the next year, including one that will be stationed near the 59th Street Bridge in Long Island City.

Over his years of eating and drinking around the globe, Anthony Bourdain has developed a perfect the hangover cure: "Aspirin, cold Coca-Cola, smoke a joint, eat some spicy Sichuan food — works every time."

— And finally, here’s how the sausage gets made at The Meat Hook: