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Gray's Papaya Expands to Eighth Ave, Bespoke Kitchen Shutters on Hudson, and More Intel

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Panda Express plans another outpost in Queens, plus more news and gossip from around NYC

[Beaubourg inside Le District]
[Beaubourg inside Le District]
Daniel Krieger

Nicholas Gray, the proprietor of classic NYC hot dog stand Gray’s Papaya, is opening a new location of his restaurant at 612 Eighth Ave. between West 39th and 40th streets. As you may recall, this neighborhood once had an outpost of Gray’s on the corner of Eighth Ave and West 37th, but it closed five years ago. The Greenwich Village location also shuttered back in 2014. For the last two years, the Upper West Side flagship was the only Gray’s left standing. But now, it will get a younger sibling near Penn Station. The asking rent for this new space is around $27,000 a month, which is three thousand dollars less than Gray was paying in the Village before that location closed. The restaurateur signed a 20-years lease on the space. No word yet on when the new Midtown West outpost of Gray’s will open.

In a review that uses the term "red sauce" no less than seven times, Adam Platt praises Al Di Meglio’s Italian cuisine at Barano in Williamsburg: "At this unassuming little neighborhood joint, the creamy hand-pulled mozzarella, made in-house, is served three different ways, including under a little glass dome filled with hickory smoke. The pizzas my tasters and I sampled were exceptional (try the Calabrese layered with red peppers, crumbled sausage, and milky dabs of scamorza), but the most memorable one by far was the white clam pie, which diners are invited to dismember with what look like a pair of giant, hand-forged garden shears."

[Robert Sietsema]

— Here’s a dispatch from Eater senior critic Robert Sietsema about a recent shuttering in the West Village: "Hudson Street's Bespoke Kitchen is currently closed. A sign in the window says the place is undertaking a week of maintenance, but the marshal's notice stuck on the door tells a different story. Started by a Picholine alumnus, the place never got much traction in its 15 months of being open. At the start, it made the classic mistake of Colicchio's original Craft, making customers match a protein with a sauce and select other aspects of their entree, which could result in some awful combinations. As with Craft, customers were initially confused. Eventually, preset combinations were emphasized, but prices were high, even for the West Village."

— The Mad Symposium — a clubby gathering of acclaimed chefs and food media people — is now underway in Copenhagen. Ivan Orkin, David Chang, Angela Dimayuga, and Jacques Pepin are all part of this year’s festivities.

— Has New York reached its poke saturation point yet? This fall, a new business called Poke Kitchen will test the limits of this food trend. It’s opening soon at 250 E. 14th St. between Second and Third avenues.

— The old timey Carmine’s Pizza signage was removed from the front of 93 Norman in Greenpoint last week. A new pizzeria is slated to open in the space soon.

An Italian restaurant called Misirizzi is replacing Aroma Kitchen & Winebar on East Fourth Street.

According to former Seinfeld scribe Spike Feresten, the NYC restaurateur who inspired the "Soup Nazi" character two decades ago cursed out Jerry Seinfeld when he came into his Midtown shop and refused to give him soup.

— A new location of rapidly-expanding Chinese-American food chain Panda Express is coming to 90-04 Metropolitan Ave in Rego Park.

Sugar Cafe, the comfort food restaurant on the corner of Houston and Allen, is back in action after two weeks of plumbing-related repairs.

Nick Jonas and his friends hung out at the Tick Tock Diner during the VMAs last night.

— And finally, here's everything you need to know about finger limes, which look like aliens but taste delicious: