— Tribeca standby the Raccoon Lodge is closing on June 30, because the buildings on that block are slated to be demolished to make way for a new development. Another new tavern is opening nearby at 20 Warren with the trademarked name "Raccoon Saloon," but Raccoon Lodge's owner tells Tribeca Citizen that it's "not associated with the Raccoon Lodge aside from possibly hiring out of work bartenders/managers."
— Former sitcom star Tony Danza is a now partner at Alleva Dairy on the corner of Mulberry and Grand streets. The Danz works the counter sometimes, just for kicks. The actor's former boxing manager, John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia, operated the century-old Italian food store until he died of cancer last year. Now his wife runs the store, with Danza's participation.
— The new Lower East Side location of El Luchador is slated to open this Thursday — Cinco de Mayo — with a free chicken taco giveaway. The new taqueria is housed in the old Pomme LES space at 132 Ludlow Street.
— The former Union Square Cafe space is now in the process of being turned into the first American branch of Japanese udon specialist Tsurutontan (as pictured above). The Union Square Cafe signage was cut off the canopy and the awnings after it closed in December. The noodle shop is slated to open next month. Meanwhile, Danny Meyer and his crew are hard at work on the new outpost of Union Square Cafe a few blocks away at 235 Park Ave. South.
— Soho House's LES spinoff, Ludlow House, is now slated to open at the end of the month. The private club will have a handful of dining/drinking areas, including an American-Italian restaurant called Lou’s Kitchen & Bar.
— To celebrate its fifth anniversary in NYC, Uber is giving away pizza from some of the city's top pizzerias this week. A different borough will be represented each day. To kick things off, today you can get a free slice from Joe & Pat's on Staten Island by showing an employee the Uber app on your phone. On Thursday, legendary slice parlor Di Fara will be participating in the giveaway.
— Bond Street Chocolates on East 4th Street recently called it quits. In a sign posted in the window, owner Lynda Stern notes: "I am sad to announce that we have had to leave our sweet chocolate jewel box. Thank you for all your love and support over the years." The shop opened seven and a half years ago.
— Daniel Wenger visits Park Slope standby Santa Fe Grill for Tables for Two: "Some restaurants are comfortable, some are delectable, and a small number, like Santa Fe, strike a genial balance between the two. For thirty years, the excesses of the space—part sweat lodge, part hunting lodge, with tribal vestments and cow skulls fastened to the stucco walls—have been mellowed by the light of non-electrified candles, deep padded booths, and windowed doors that open onto the sidewalk. Also mellowing: the borough’s best frozen margaritas."
— Rats are taking over the city. So far this year, New Yorkers made 18 percent more 311 complaints about rats than the same period last year. Community Board 3 district manager Susan Stetzer blames restaurant trash and park garbage for the rise in vermin. Stetzer tells the Post: "There are more mountains of garbage on the street waiting to be picked up. Our increased development does not have the infrastructure to support it."
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The restaurant created this dish for a special ticketed even this week.
— A Santander Bank branch moved into part of the former Cosi space on the northwest corner of Broadway and East 13th Street. The rest of that space is being turned into the ninth location of Eric Kayser's acclaimed bakery Maison Kayser.
— Leonardo DiCaprio and baseball legend Hank Aaron had dinner together at Rao's last Thursday.
— The bathrooms at The Cloister Cafe on East Ninth Street have side-by-side toilets with no partitions. A server at the bar tells DNAinfo: "Some people, very close friends, like to use the same bathroom."
— And finally, here's a look at how the Italian hero at The Meat Hook Sandwich is made, from start to finish: