A slew of East Village and LES openings (and a closing)
The East Village and Lower East Side just keep welcoming new restaurants to the mix: Another fries with crazy toppings concept called FryGuys — that’s in addition to 375 Fries just three blocks away — opens today at 150 Second Street. It serves lots of french fries topped with things like fried chicken and maple syrup gravy. Taiwanese fast food chain Cheers Cut, which has a location in Flushing, has opened at 36 Saint Marks Place with fried chicken and squid, teriyaki, and more. Over at 29 Clinton Street, chef-owner Melissa O’Donnell is flipping the space to a Lebanese restaurant called Lil’ Gem. It’ll serve “shareable small and family-size plates that includes flatbreads and shawarma.” Meanwhile, over at 173 Orchard Street, 54-year-old pizzeria Rosario’s has been shuttered by the Health Department.
Chefs Club switches things up
After experimenting with chefs staying for one to three nights at its rotating kitchen, Chefs Club in Soho has decided to focus on one chef for a bit longer. JJ Johnson, formerly of Minton’s and The Cecil, will cook at the club from October 2 through October 31, testing out his African grain bowl concept that he previewed at the Chefs Club Counter last month. It’s a strong bet on Johnson — and excellent exposure for his restaurant group that has yet to open a restaurant — and the month long residency will likely serve as a model for other chefs in the future.
Inside Club Cumming’s inclusive space
Alan Cumming’s fantasy performance-based salon — perfectly named Club Cumming — has now been open at 505 East 6th Street for almost two weeks. Gothamist takes a look inside a night at the club, which could include book releases, “stitch and bitch” knitting classes, tantric sex workshops, live jazz, erotic readings, disco DJ’s, and more.
Big-name chefs show up for politics
City government and the culinary scene will intersect for the first annual Politics of Food event, set to take place on November 16. The all-day affair will begin with a morning conference on food-related issues, highlighted by a keynote address from cookbook author Julia Turshen, and continue into the evening with a chefs’ tasting at the Museum of American Finance on Wall Street, hosted by Wylie Dufresne.
Among the participating spots are Brushstroke, Amada, Dead Rabbit, Westville, Blue Ribbon Federal Grill, and Michelin-starred L’Appart. “We thought it would be interesting to focus on how politics and food policies intersect,” says Tom Allon, CEO of City and State magazine, a sponsor of the event along with the Daily News. “We thought that adding an evening tasting would give greater exposure to the issues.” Tickets and more information here.
To get ready to eat at Lil’ Gem, here’s a primer on some authentic Lebanese shawarma: