— If everything goes according to plan, century-old East Village Italian restaurant John’s of 12th Street might be getting a new set of operators. Judy Anderson, whose late husband Mike Alpert ran John's for decades with partner Nick Sitnycky, tells EV Grieve that the restaurant’s longtime accountant Paul Dauber
is taking over the business with his friend since childhood, Jan Siegel. Anderson notes: "There is great mutual affection and respect between Paul and our employees, and we are thrilled that Paul and Jan are enthusiastic about maintaining the character of the restaurant. They assure us that nothing will change, and Nick and I will assist in whatever way we can to be sure that the transition will be seamless." Brett Rasinski, a partner at The Beatrice Inn, was looking to take over John’s two years ago, but the deal fell through. Dauber and Siegal will present their business plan before the CB3’s SLA committee later this month.
UPDATE: Judy Anderson sends word that she's still very much the owner and operator along with Nick Sitnycky, and no deal has been reached yet. Anderson notes: "While Nick and I are hopeful that the eventual sale goes smoothly we are STILL the owners of John's of 12th Street, and will remain so until there is an actual sale of the restaurant. There hasn't even been a CB3 meeting yet. Practically speaking, this will be several months before completion of a sale can take place."
— Sadly, the future of another century-old East Village Italian restaurant, Lanza’s, does not look so rosy. The restaurant closed without warning three weeks ago, and a "seized" sticker indicating nonpayment of taxes is still up in the window. Mail is piling up at the doorstep.
— Steve Cuozzo hated his experience at Günter Seeger’s eponymous new fine dining restaurant: "The menuless mystery unfolds in a 42-seat, hard-edged, charm-deprived dining room with an open kitchen at the rear. Supposedly ‘reminiscent of an elegant home,’ according to the restaurant, it looks and feels like a bare-bones Siberia where food pops up at the table from time to time." Cuozzo calls the spendy restaurant "the most full-of-itself place to eat in NYC since weird, ‘neuro-gastronomic’ Romera offered vile ‘tasting’ waters a few years ago."
— Quirky three-year-old Greenpoint restaurant River Styx is closing on August 14. Flo Fab notes that the "owners have other plans for the space."
— Pok Pok Phat Thai is closed for a "summer hiatus," according to its homepage. Andy Ricker is also closing the LA location of Pok Pok Phat Thai this Sunday for some retooling. No word yet on when the NYC restaurant will return.
— The owners of Speedy Romeo want to expand their new Lower East Side restaurant into the space next door at 61 Clinton Street. Plans submitted to the CB3 show a new dining room with 34 tables.
— This week, Marguerite Preston visits Thai Diva in Sunnyside: "The restaurant's larb muang, made from chopped chicken, beef, or pork, is drier than its lime-juice- and fish-sauce-sluiced Isan counterpart and comes tossed in a more complex blend of spices (including cumin and cinammon). The chicken version lets the herbs shine through, whereas pork offers meatier depth. And though it omits the traditional addition of pig's blood, it does contain slivers of liver and springy skin."
— The South Street Seaport’s long-awaited luxury movie theater, iPic, is slated to open in October. Guests will be able to order food and drinks from their seats, Alamo Drafthouse-style.
— Paulie Gee’s forthcoming slice shop at 110 Franklin Street in Greenpoint will have a sport bar-style room with 18 taps serving beer, wine, and cider. The restaurant will also feature orange booths from the local pizzeria that Paulie used to take his kids to near their home in New Jersey. Paulie tells Greenpointers: "They’re antiques that my children grew up sitting in....And I’m gonna have them in my restaurant. That just blows my mind."
— And finally, here’s a look at how to make pizza like Bobby Hellen of GG's in the East Village: