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Cuozzo's Phone Rant, Pizzeria Stabbings, and More NYC Restaurant News

Whole Foods Williamsburg is now serving a La Croix cake, plus more news and gossip from around NYC

[The dining room at Decoy on the West Village]
[The dining room at Decoy on the West Village]
Daniel Krieger

Post critic Steve Cuozzo is sick and tired of restaurants that don’t have phone lines you can call to change reservations or ask questions about the menu: "Doing without employees to field calls saves restaurants money. It’s also a lawsuit-proof way to thin out older customers who aren’t comfortable reserving online. Those restaurateurs seem to forget they’re in the hospitality business, an attitude that begets snooty and/or clueless hosts/hostesses and admonitions that ‘we need the table back in 90 minutes.'"

— Johnny Nicholson, the proprietor of mid-century hot spot Cafe Nicholson, died last week. He was 99. William Grimes notes that the restaurant — which originally opened on 58th Street near Third Avenue — was "a magnet for artists, writers, actors, photographers, designers and fashion editors." Before she became a famous cookbook author, chef Edna Lewis worked in the kitchen at Cafe Nicholson. The restaurant closed in the late 90s.

An employee at Mama’s Famous pizza on the Upper West Side got stabbed in the back by a customer after he refused to accept a torn dollar bill. The patron flung a basket of bread on the floor after the dispute over the bill, and the employee chased him down the street. The customer was arrested and charged with felony assault. The pizzeria worker is recovering at St. Luke’s.

— More pizzeria crime: A 42-year-old man threatened an employee of Ben’s Pizzeria in Greenwich Village last week. The irate customer slammed a box cutter on the counter and told the worker: "I’m going to fuck you up and kill you." The police arrested the man and charged him with criminal possession of a weapon.

— Philadelphia-based health food chain Honeygrow is slated to open its first NYC location at 194 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn Heights next year.

North Brooklyn’s multi-headed food trend monster, Whole Foods Williamsburg, is now offering a cake that looks like a 12 pack of La Croix.

After a ten year run, chef Ben Pollinger has left Oceana in Midtown. Former executive sous-chef Ethan Koelbel is taking his place.

— A "closed for renovation" sign now hangs in the window of L'asso pizzeria on the corner of Mott and Kenmare.

— Japanese chain Wagamama is headed to 55 Third Avenue, a space that houses basic American restaurant The Smith and Asian food emporium M2M. The Smith has a lease through 2027, but M2M’s lease is up next year. Rumor has it that M2M is looking to relocate in the neighborhood once it’s forced to move.

— A new location of Chipotle is slated to open at 347 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Heights this fall.

Smorgasburg now has a stand serving fake meat barbecue. Arrogant Swine pitmaster/owner Tyson Ho tells Gothamist that he’s not interested in what they’re selling: "Vegan BBQ is as nonsensical of a term as pork-chop sushi or composing a garden salad out of candy bars."

— And finally, here’s how the team from Otafuku makes the restaurant’s takoyaki: