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The Fight to Save Caffe Vivaldi, Foodtown Battles Whole Foods, and More Intel

Ligaya Mishan discovers awesome pho in Astoria, plus more news and gossip from around NYC

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[Robert Sietsema]

— On Monday night, a customer at Bushwick’s HappyFun Hideaway named Justin Rice tried to attack the bar's bouncer after he got kicked out of the venue for arguing loudly with his girlfriend. Once he was booted, Rice yelled "I’m going to come back Orlando-style!" He also shouted homophobic threats, threw a bucket filled with sand at the bouncer, and said: "I’m going to shoot this place up and get my 50 just like Orlando, Florida." Gawker reports that Rice was arrested and charged with aggravated harassment, attempted assault, menacing as a hate crime, and making a terrorist threat.

— The owner of 35-year-old Village restaurant Caffe Vivaldi is locked in a legal battle with notoriously crooked landlord Steve Croman over rent and "continued harassment." The restaurateur, Ishrat Ansari, recently launched an online petition to rally support from his customers.  Ansari explains: "[T]he more we can draw in community support, the more we can show to the Supreme Court judge, who will be deciding our case against Mr. Croman this June, that Caffe Vivaldi deserves to remain open." Jeremiah Moss points out that the restaurant was on the brink of closure in 2011, but Ansari managed to sign a new lease.

— Tonight, Marco Canora will open Zadie’s Oyster Room, his seafood-themed revamp of the old Terroir/Fifty Paces space on East 12th Street (as pictured above).

Hungry City critic Ligaya Mishan is a big fan of the pho at District Saigon in Astoria: "The baseline pho comes with round steak and Angus brisket, poached and cut into tissue-thin strips that shimmy when lifted and practically dissolve on the tongue. If you like, they will add skinny laces of tripe, which yield peaceably to the teeth, and knobs of gelatinous tendon, which do not. The broth is good, delicate and substantial at once, profound without belligerence."

— North Brooklyn music venue Palisades got shut down by the DOB because it didn’t have a sprinkler system, among other issues. The club will be closed at least through the beginning of August.

— The owners of Williamsburg grocery store Foodtown are suing the developers of the building that will house the neighborhood’s first Whole Foods. The suit alleges that Aurora Associates and Midtown Equities wrongfully obtained zoning permits for the building, and because of these alleged mistakes, the area will have "woefully inadequate parking." According to the suit, if the developers had followed the rules, the building would have 100 more parking spaces than it will have once it's fully operational. The DOB is also named in the suit for not cracking down on the developers once the department learned about the complaints. The new Whole Foods building is located 400 feet away from Foodtown.

— In other grocery store news: New York’s first-ever Wegmans grocery store is slated to open at the Brooklyn Navy Yard next year. Plans submitted with the DOB show that the store will occupy 248,489 square-feet on the ground floor of a five-story building.

— Noho newcomer 310 Bowery Bar has a pizza counter operated by the Luzzo’s team.

— The People’s Pops stand on Seventh Avenue has not returned for the summer, and EV Grieve hears that it’s actually done for good.

— On his 57th birthday this week, chocolatier Jacques Torres received the French Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, which is the highest decoration in France. Jacques Pépin gave him the award at the Consulate General of France.

— A Page Six spy saw Jake Gyllenhaal chatting up a solo diner at Bar Pitti when he stopped in for a pick-up order. After a half-hour chat, she told the star that she had a boyfriend.

— And finally, here’s a crash course in plating charcuterie from Bar Boulud’s Aurelian Dufour:

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