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Fire in Caracas Building, Mexicue Branches Out in Chelsea, and More Intel

Famous Famiglia takes over a popular pizzeria space, plus more news and gossip from around NYC

[The dining room at Tessa on the Upper West Side]
[Daniel Krieger]

A fire broke out in the basement of the East Seventh Street building that houses Caracas Arepa Bar this morning around 7:30 a.m. The FDNY rushed to the scene and contained the blaze quickly. No word yet on the status of the restaurant, but photos and a video from EV Grieve readers show smoke billowing out of the storefront. Stay tuned for updates on the reopening of Caracas as they become available.

— Mayor De Blasio was late for his scheduled appearance at the site of the 23rd Street explosion yesterday because he grabbed coffee and a pastry with First Lady Chirlane McCray at Colson Patisserie in Park Slope and then hit the gym. But when he did arrive in Chelsea, the mayor also grabbed a bite at Malibu Diner, which was closed for a few days because of the investigation surrounding the explosion. The team at the diner fed first responders and aid workers throughout the weekend.

— A handful of restaurants near the explosion site that weren’t in the barricaded area report that business has dipped since Saturday. Michael Sinensky, the owner of Tres Carnes on the corner of 22nd and 6th Avenue, estimates that food sales dropped by about 50 percent. The restaurateur tells the Post: "A few people called in orders and said they were not comfortable going out yet....They seem to be choosing to stay in or ordering delivery."

— Thomas Kelly is opening a new, full-service location of his casual Tex-Mex taqueria mini-chain Mexicue in Chelsea. The neighborhood's fast-casual iteration of the restaurant on 7th Avenue will close on September 23. Although the restaurateur has not yet revealed the address of the next outpost, the new Chelsea Mexicue will have an expanded menu and a bourbon and tequila bar. In a statement about the move, Kelly explains: "All of the 7thAvenue team will stay with us as we continue our expansion." Kelly also operates full-service locations of the chain on 40th Street near Bryant Park, and on Fifth Avenue near 26th Street.

— Teen chef Flynn McGarry will be taking over the kitchen at Kava Cafe in the Meatpacking District starting on October 1. McGarry tells Flo Fab that he'll be serving " toasts, salads, sandwiches and pastries" for breakfast and lunch. For dinner, he'll   prepare $160 tasting menus like he did at his pop-up last fall. The 17-year-old chef will be working in the Kava space for six months.

Voice critic Zachary Feldman loves Nolita’s new quirky lunch counter Mr. Donahue’s: "Then there's the unforgettable roast beef, which starts out as a whole strip loin nearly camouflaged by a heavy coating of fresh rosemary and thyme, black pepper, and gray sea salt. Carved to order and doled out in hulking $26 portions, each slab is rosy and medium-rare throughout, weeping jus into a mess of pickled onions. It needs no sauce, though a dunk in Mr. Donahue's peppercorn gravy or melted, horseradish-spiked ‘cowboy butter’ certainly won't hurt."

The East Village location of IHOP is closed for a "makeover." No word yet on when it will return.

A new location of the Famous Famiglia chain is moving into the space at 1248 Lexington Ave that housed Mimi’s Pizzeria for over 50 years. Nostalgia loverJeremiah Moss writes on his blog: "La Famiglia is taking Mimi's spot, replacing real family with fake family."

Marriott International’s new Moxy Hotel at 112-120 East 11th Street in the East Village will have four or five eating and/or drinking establishments, although no word yet on who is operating them or what they will serve.

— Tomorrow night, from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., hamburger scholar George Motz will be cooking pastrami burgers inspired by the ones found in Salt Lake City at Jimmy’s No.43 in the East Village. Motz has a recipe for this style of burger in his new release, The Great American Burger Book.

— And finally, here’s a look at the pasta-making operation at Sfoglini in Brooklyn:

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