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23rd Street Restaurants Reopen, Crispy Critter Head Found in Popeyes Order, and More Intel

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A bar owner helped bring the police to Ahmad Khan Rahami, plus more restaurant news from around NYC

[A table in the garden of Old Tblisi in Greenwich Village]
[Daniel Krieger]

— A few updates on the scene around the site of the Chelsea explosion on West 23rd Street: Malibu Diner was closed over the weekend, but it reopened last night. Since the incident, the staff has been offering food to the first responders and to residents of the home for the blind next door. Mayor De Blasio is expected to have a meal there today. Spanish old-timer Francisco’s Centro Vasco was not damaged by the explosion, but it was shuttered over the weekend because of the investigation. Yesterday, the owners announced plans to reopen at 4 p.m. A manager at Domino's Pizza, which returned to service on Sunday, tells the Daily News: "This has definitely affected business because we can't have walk-in customers." The pizzeria has been doing a lot of deliveries over the past two days.

A bar owner helped the authorities catch Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect tied to the Chelsea explosion and the New Jersey bombs. Yesterday morning, Harinder "Harry" Bains saw Rahami sleeping in the doorway of his bar, Merdie’s Tavern in Linden, NJ. Bains called the cops and tricked Rahami into staying put by telling him that his bar wouldn’t open for another half hour. Bains tells the Post: "Who in the world would think this wanted terrorist was loitering like a homeless man outside my bar?" After the authorities arrived at the bar, Rahami pulled out a gun and fired at them, but they were able to contain him with some back-up, and no officers were seriously injured.

A customer at the Popeyes on Frederick Douglas Boulevard claims that she received a crispy rat head in her order of fried chicken. The photos that the diner posted on Facebook do indeed show what looks like a rodent head — the eyes are a giveaway (ew). A rep for Popeyes tells DNAinfo that the corporate office is investigating the case, and that often times, when people find weird junk in their orders, it just turns out to be poultry organs. You can see the photos, if you like, here.

— First Avenue schnitzel sandwich restaurant Schnitz closed without warning a few weeks ago, and now a "for rent" sign hangs in the window:

[Nick Solares]

The restaurant opened in March 2014.

Tables for Two’s Shauna Lyon is a big fan of Daniel Rose’s cooking at Soho hot spot Le Coucou. Here’s the critic on the rabbit: "Diners torn between horror (the whole rabbit?!) and altruistic resignation (if I’m going to eat a rabbit, I should not waste any of it) were relieved to find only the edible parts, in three preparations: a dry roulade topped with 'rabbit-bit vinaigrette'; moist meat stewed in a broth piquant with turnip, carrot, and parsley; and the 'hind quarters' on the bone, delicate and savory, doused in an irresistible onion-mustard sauce."

Mister Dips, The William Vale Hotel’s new airstream trailer burger stand, is still on track to open next week. Andrew Carmellini and the Noho Hospitality team share this mesmerizing GIF featuring the restaurant’s titular mascot:


A video posted by Mister Dips (@eatmisterdips) on

Astoria comfort food restaurant Burnside Biscuits is dunzo. The Bareburger team opened this restaurant around a year ago, with plans to eventually spin if off into a casual chicken and biscuits mini-chain.

Nightlife guru Hank Field is planning to open bars in the basement of the Holiday Inn on Delancey Street and its rooftop space. It should come as no surprise that the local NIMBYs are not pleased with plans for a rooftop bar here.

— Chef Carl Alioto left the Out Hotel’s new restaurant The Lindeman before it even opened.

— Pat Martin, of Martin’s BBQ in Nashville, TN, is going to be smoking at Pig Beach in Gowanus tomorrow and Thursday. Tickets are $50. Some meat aficionados, like Eater's own Nick Solares, think that Martin is one of the nation’s best whole hog pitmasters.

— And finally, here’s a look at how the Otafuku team makes octopus balls: