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Entrepreneur Ditches Plan to Save Defunct Brooklyn Food Incubator Pilotworks

Plus, a new food incubator backed by Hudson Kitchen pops up in New Jersey — and more intel

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Ube Kitchen
Ube Kitchen was a former Pilotworks member
Ube Kitchen/Facebook

Chef who calls himself a “modern-day Willy Wonka” backs out of Brooklyn Pilotworks project

The guy who promised to revive Pilotworks — the defunct Brooklyn food incubator that abruptly cut nearly 200 local vendors from their production kitchens earlier this year — has backed out of the project. Adam Melonas, founder of Boston-based food research lab Chew, says he ran into issues during pre-inspection of the facility located at 630 Flushing Ave. In an email sent to former Pilotworks members on Tuesday, December 18, Melonas writes he found “some conditions” that don’t match “the extremely high standards” of his company. “We made every effort possible to give this new undertaking the best possible chance of success,” he writes. The news comes two weeks after Melonas, an entrepreneur who sees himself as a modern-day Willy Wonka, announced he was taking over the space to create a new incubator called Nursery.

More news from the food incubator space

Culinary consultant Hudson Kitchen is opening an 8,000-square-foot commercial kitchen in New Jersey dedicated to food entrepreneurs and independent vendors. The space — located at 9 Basin Drive in Kearny, inside Kearny Point, an industrial yard that’s being revitalized — will include commercial kitchen equipment; individual prep stations; dry, cold, and freezer storage; co-working areas with WiFi; and a test kitchen. It’s expected to open in spring 2019.

The Flatiron Lounge is selling its bar for $35,000

Fans of the soon-to-close Flatiron Lounge can take a piece of the place home with them — if they’re willing to dish out $35,000. The influential cocktail lounge is selling its historic 27-foot bar on eBay “in case anyone can’t bear to be away from it!” co-owner Kristina Kossi tells Eater. Flatiron Lounge, around since 2003, will close its doors Saturday, December 22.

An opening, closing, and coming attraction

The owners of Lower East Side-Chinatown diner Cup & Saucer, which closed in 2017, are back with a new fast-casual Greek spot next door to their previous venue at 89 Canal St., Bowery Boogie reports. The new shop is called Greek Shack and serves hot sandwiches, pastries, and more. Over in the East Village, a small sushi counter appears underway at 75 East Fourth St., a long-vacant retail space between Second Avenue and the Bowery, according to EV Grieve. And it’s the final week for Casa Neta, a Gramercy mezcal and tequila bar that opened in 2016 at 40 East 20th St., between Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue South. The Mexican lounge closes Saturday, December 22, and blames a rent hike for the closure.

Restaurant quiz for Tribeca experts

Tribeca Citizen has released a “Dead Restaurant” quiz in which readers have to guess the names of 12 now-shuttered establishments described in each blurb. All of the restaurants are located in Tribeca.