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T.G.I. Friday's Shucks its Flair, Ice Cream Bandits Busted, and More Intel

A new Middle Eastern restaurant is coming to the Flatiron District, plus more news and gossip from around NYC

[The bar at Ristorante Morini on the Upper East Side]
[The bar at Ristorante Morini on the Upper East Side]
Daniel Krieger

— The T.G.I. Friday’s in Forest Hills recently got scrubbed of its flair. Now it has a sleek dining room that looks like an airport lounge with flat screens, earth-toned furniture, a "grab and go" counter, and computer ports in the tables. It opens at 7 a.m. daily, and brunch is now offered on the weekends. This is a prototype for the chain. If this all-day, flair-less, business casual snoozefest proves to be a hit, the company may soon flip more locations across the country.

Signage for a new restaurant called The Gray Mare appeared in the Second Avenue space that was previously home to Dempsey’s pub. EV Grieve notes that this new place looks...kind of like Dempsey’s, actually. No word yet on when it will open.

This week, the CB3 voted to deny a liquor license application recommendation for the team behind forthcoming California-style Mexican restaurant Cholo Noir at 503 E. Sixth St. The proprietors, who won $15,000 from a New York Public Library business plan competition, are going to take their application directly to the SLA now.

— Fall tracking: Jared Sippel, the veteran of Frasca in Boulder who was at one point in time going to helm Brooklyn Fare’s Manhattan restaurant, is slated to open his new French/Italian project Italienne at 19 W. 24th St. next month.

— More fall tracking: Gadi Peleg, the proprietor of the excellent Breads bakery mini-chain, is planning a new Middle Eastern restaurant a few doors down from Gramercy Tavern with chef Meir Adoni. Dubbed Nur, the restaurant at 34 East 20th Street is slated to open in October.

— Two people were arrested this week and arraigned on petit larceny charges for stealing ice cream from a Chelsea location of Gristedes. Last week, the supermarket chain’s owner, John Catsimatidis, offer a $5,000 reward for information about the robberies. The duo's roommate ratted them out. Apparently, the bandits were selling the stolen treats to bodegas in Lower Manhattan and along Utica Avenue in Brooklyn.

A new bar/restaurant called The Douglas is headed into the Fourth Avenue space in Park Slope that was home to Sheep Station for many years. Owner Peter Cavanagh wants to serve "simple" food like burgers and salads.

Zachary Feldman is a fan of the pies at Bodega Pizza in Washington Heights: "These aren't archetypally puffy and airy pies, however. The kitchen keeps crusts cracker-thin, and Bodega Pizza's sweet sauce is the standard margherita's most prominent feature. In a concession to contemporary diets, you can order whole-wheat or gluten-free crusts, and the menu lists two vegan pizzas (opt for the Vegan 2.0, which eschews fake Daiya cheese)."

— Earlier this week, three men were busted for stealing over $1 million worth of barbecued eels from a shipping terminal in Elizabeth, NJ. According to the Post, boxes of the stolen seafood were being sold on the street for around $500 a pop.

Greenpoint old-timer The Palace Cafe will close for good after service on September 24. Proprietor Geraldine Curtain has worked at her family’s bar for the last 60 years. Curtain tells DNAinfo: "It's time we retired, just that we sell the building and the bar and relax....It's the change of the times and it's time."

— And finally, here's a look at how the matcha cream puffs are made at Bibble & Sip:

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