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Brooklyn Food Artisans Fall on Hard Times, Santos Party House Closes, and More Intel

A dead man was found in the bathroom of Junior's, plus more restaurant news from around NYC

[The ice cream window at Dominique Ansel Kitchen, now open for the season.]
[Robert Sietsema]

Many Brooklyn-based artisan food companies that launched over the last eight years are struggling to stay afloat right now because of the high cost of rent, transportation, labor, and complying with city regulations. The trickiest part for a lot of these businesses is continuing to make money after investing in commercial kitchen spaces and distribution. Allison Robicelli, the co-owner of Robicelli's bakery, tells Crain's: "It’s like operating in a business hospice....We’re all sitting here waiting for the end." Allison and her husband, Matt, are in the process of moving their operation to Baltimore.

— On Sunday night, a dead man was found inside the bathroom of Junior's in Downtown Brooklyn. According to the police, the man had a syringe in one hand, and pills were scattered on the floor. The cops don't know if he was a customer. Junior's owner Alan Rosen tells the Daily News: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the man and his family."

Santos Party House, the music venue co-owned by Andrew WK, abruptly shuttered over the weekend. On its final night, the venue hosted a controversial Neo-Nazi punk music festival called "Oi Fest." DNAinfo notes that the event was moved to Santos at the last minute after the Black Bear Bar in Williamsburg canceled the event due to complaints on social media. Several concerts were scheduled at the venue for later this year. Last week, the management sent out an email to artists explaining: "If you have an event after the previously mentioned date, please consider it cancelled." Co-owner Sean Kane tells DNAinfo: "Our lease is up and we’re not renewing it."

— The owners of Levain are planning a new, much bigger outpost of the bakery at 351 Amsterdam Ave. Steve Cuozzo notes that the new bakery will occupy 3,000 square feet of space on Amsterdam Ave. The tiny, 400 square foot original bakery on West 74th street will stay open. No word yet on when the new shop will make its debut.

— Rihanna and Naomi Campbell had dinner at Emilio's Balato on Sunday night.

— The Yaffa Cafe mural on St. Mark's Place got painted over on Sunday. The 31-year-old cafe closed last fall. A new Portuguese restaurant called Taberna is moving in.

Vinny's in Williamsburg is now serving a pizza topped with mini pizza slices, served in a box made of pizza. This hot, gooey mess is $46.

Jiayang Fan of Tables for Two has a great time at Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong in Koreatown: "Facing the multiplying mosaic of bowls and plates, one friend moaned, 'The increasing quantity of food seems to necessitate greater speed of consumption, as if all the plates will disappear the second I stop eating!' They did not; the pork combo (inch-thick slabs of pork belly, jowl, and collar) arrived. The richer meat paired well with the yuzu-soju cocktail, which tasted like grapefruit marinated in spiked lemonade."

— The original location of Bisous Ciao bakery at 101 Stanton Street is now closed. The owner of the macaron shop tells Bowery Boogie that high rent was "one driver of the decision but not the main one." The Bleecker Street location is still open.

— Police are looking for a man who pointed a stun gun at a Kennedy Fried Chicken cashier in Crown Heights on Friday. The customer brought out the gun during an argument about change. No one was injured.

— A new location of Trader Joe's is headed to the ground floor space at 670 Columbus Avenue near 93rd Street.

Queens expert Joe DiStefano shares notes from a recent meal at Korean barbecue "speakeasy" Majang Dong on Browne Street in Flushing: "It’s not that one needs a password to gain access, it’s more that if you didn’t know that it was there you could easily pass right by it....Say you’re there for BBQ, and Mrs. Yu will walk you out the back door into a Korean BBQ wonderland."

— And finally, here's a short lesson on tempering chocolate from Jacques Torres: