— The operators of Smorgasburg vegetarian comfort food stand Monk’s Meat are planning to open a seitan-based, no-meat butcher shop at 477 Gates Avenue in Bed-Stuy this spring. One of the chefs, Chris Kim, tells DNAinfo: "I think overall the biggest reaction we get is that people can’t believe with all the flavors and textures, that the stuff doesn’t have any meat in it." Now they’re planning to make those slabs of fake meat the focus of a new business "inspired by traditional Brooklyn deli and butcher’s shops." It will be called Monk’s Vegan Delicatessen and Kitchen.
— Hospitality titan Danny Meyer says that although it’s been a "sketchy year" for high-end establishments, people have been flocking to restaurants after the presidential election. Meyer tells CNBC: "I think people are coming back in droves. Even if they're coming back to debate, there's nothing like sitting around a table with some good food with friends and that seems to really be bringing people out and we couldn't be happier." Meyer’s newest project, the revival of his flagship restaurant Union Square Cafe, is slated to open later this week.
— As expected, April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman reopened their Midtown East burger bar Salvation Burger yesterday:
The restaurant inside the Pod 51 Hotel was closed by a fire three months after it opened. Now, after six months of repairs, it’s back in action with the same menu of grass-fed beef burgers, shakes, and pies.
— A Long Island man named Andres Fernandez was indicted for the murder of L & B Spumoni Gardens owner Louis Barbati this week. The pizzeria operator was fatally shot outside his Dyker Heights home with around $15,000 in cash on him last August. Fernandez, who was nabbed by the FBI last month, could get 25 years to life in prison if he’s convicted. His lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf in court this week.
— A local photographer captured the scene at East Village standby Neptune diner on Sunday, its final night in business. The greasy spoon opened in 2001, but the space housed other Polish-American diners for years before that.
— Signage is now up above the door of the future East Village location of Michelin-starred dim sum chain Tim Ho Wan:
The restaurant is slated to open within the next few weeks at 85 Fourth Avenue.
— The team behind popular Cambodian sandwich mini-chain Num Pang quietly closed the Midtown West location at 148 W. 48th earlier this fall. Steve Cuozzo notes that the building, which also housed a parking garage, is slated to be demolished to make way for a new 445-room location of the Hard Rock Hotel. Num Pang still has six other locations throughout Manhattan.
— Yorkville old timer Finnegans Wake will close for good at some point over the next year because the building is getting replaced by a condo tower. Jeremiah Moss recently paid a visit and thought that the low-key vibe of the bar was "perfection."
— The space at 119 St. Mark's that previously housed Luca Bar is becoming a new Vietnamese restaurant from veterans of Stephen Starr’s empire called Hà Nội House. An awning with the name of the restaurant recently went up above the door, and the owners are in the process of hiring the opening staff.
— Big Lee’s, a no-frills bar on First Avenue in the East Village, has been closed for the last week. The owners are locked in a battle with the landlord, and some fans of the dive have started a fundraising campaign to help cover their legal fees and loss of business.
— And finally, here’s a look at how the sashimi platter is put together at Sushi Seki on the Upper East Side: