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Sarma Gets Offered a Plea Deal, Troubling Signs for Lanza’s, and More Intel

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Shake Shack starts serving gluten-free buns, plus more news and gossip from around NYC

[The dining room at Marta on East 29th Street]
[Daniel Krieger]

— 112-year-old East Village Italian restaurant Lanza’s was seized by the marshal over the summer due to non-payment of taxes, and now Jeremiah Moss notes that the dining room is being packed up. The art has been removed from the walls, and boxes full of bottles are sitting on the tables. Moss writes: "Dear Lanza's, what can we do to help you stay? We don't need another hipster foodie joint moving into the shell of an Italian classic. We need you." If you hear anything about the fate of this storied First Avenue establishment, please let us know.

Sarma Melngailis, the Pure Food & Wine restaurateur who stiffed her employees and allegedly ran away with $844,000 in investor cash, was offered a please deal in court yesterday. If she accepts, Melngailis will spend one to three years behind bars. The vegan restaurateur and her husband went on the lam a year and a half ago, and were busted in Tennessee back in May after they ordered a pizza from Domino’s. Melngailis is out of jail on $350,000 bail. She will return to court next month.

Hillary Clinton and her family attended a jazz show at The Carlyle Hotel this week, which ended with the band playing "That’s Life." After the show, the crowd gave Hillary a standing ovation. Last week, Clinton was also spotted having dinner with Harvey Weinstein at Rao’s.

After 14 years in business, 72nd Street Bagel is closing up shop. The landlord decided not to let the team renew the lease, and he’s planning to open a new kosher restaurant in the space next year. The bagel shop will close on Christmas, but the owners may revive the business at a new location in the future.

— The owners of Long Island City pub Alewife are going to start brewing their own beer next year.

Shake Shack is now offering gluten-free burger buns at all locations around the galaxy.

New York is getting yet-another new fast-casual poke restaurant. Called Humble Fish, this one is opening at 35 Lispenard St. in Tribeca in February.

Along with a completely revamped dining room, Alain Ducasse’s Midtown favorite Benoit has a new chef: 33-year-old Laetitia Rouabah. The chef spent 13 years working around the Ducasse empire, including a stint at the acclaimed restaurant Allard in Paris. Roubah tells Grub Street: "He didn’t even have to ask me to come here....He knew I would say yes." She’s changing up the menu a bit, while keeping some of the hit dishes.

Kate Krader asks a handful of famous chefs for their NYC pizza picks. David Chang’s favorite is Mark Iacono’s Lucali in Carroll Gardens: "It's my favorite pizza in New York exactly because it's not over the top. It's cared for more than others. You can see it in everything from the basil on every pie that Mark grows himself to the insanely delicious calzones. Mark simply cares more about his pizza and that’s what makes it great."

In other pizza related news, Industry Kitchen in the South Street Seaport is serving a $2,000 pizza that sounds absolutely disgusting — it’s topped with caviar, gold flakes, foie gras, stilton cheese, and flower petals.

— And finally, here’s how to make bagels like the crew from Black Seed:

Benoit Bistro

60 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019 646 943 7373

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