—Hyper-local Little Town ( 118 East 15th St.) will be closing its doors after the Super Bowl to make way for a new, as-yet unnamed Mexican restaurant, due in March. Owner Michael Sinensky, who also has Tres Carnes, Sidebar, Village Pourhouse, and Hudson Terrace, will convert the space into a 75-seat restaurant where diners can view fresh corn and flour tortillas as they’re made. Little Town's high tops will be replaced with traditional tables and there will be waiter service.
"We will do a weekly smoke like beef cheeks or short ribs and have some fun with rattlesnake and gator,'' says Sinensky. "We will have a real kitchen, which we don't at Tres, so we will be able to offer fish tacos and ceviches.'' The new spot will also have a private room for parties. — BL
— Buntopia, a new fast-casual spot appears about to open at 994 Broadway in Bed-Stuy. A sign out front says the opening is January 23, but the place seems already stocked and ready to go. It specializes in (duh!) rice bowls, ramen, wraps, and sushi, plus something called a "bunburger," which is explained on the menu as "1 serve = 2 buns." The pictures show bao stuffed with grilled chicken, avocado, and pineapple for the Aloha Slider and Japanese pulled pork, marinated shiitake mushrooms, and baby spinach for The Classic. - RS
— The newly-formed Restaurant Law Center, established by the National Restaurant Association, wants the Supreme Court to overturn a Labor Department regulation barring servers from pooling tips with kitchen workers. Under the 2011 rule, a tip pool is valid only if it is comprised exclusively of regularly-tipped workers, whether the employer takes a tip credit or not.
— Ligaya Mishan heads to Jackson Heights to visit Lhasa Fast Food. Once a counter in a fast-food store, now it’s a restaurant with its own door, a spot among a labyrinth of shops. “Here, for $7, is a caldron of dusk: thenthuk,” she writes, “a Tibetan soup tinged by crushed tomatoes, a scrum of chiles and ginger releasing its muted sweetness. Scraps of noodles bob on top, torn by hand, each no longer than a thumb. They are chewy and dense, the opposite of the lithe bean thread noodles tangling below.” It’s a good read.
— Wearing giant sunglasses and a big black hat, Cher picked up a Frrrrozen Hot Chocolate to go from Serendipity 3, Page Six reports.
— “‘We call it the Black House,’ a waiter at the Armani restaurant across the street said of what’s now the most important address in the world.” Steve Cuozzo reports on the history of Trump Tower.
— Whole Foods will open its first 365 store in the area at 300 Ashland Pl. (next to Brooklyn Academy of Music) by 2018.
— DO will serve raw cookie dough that’s apparently safe to eat. The shop opens next week at 550 LaGuardia Pl.
— Johnny Rockets has opened at One Penn Plaza.
— And because you may need this today: