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Poke Restaurants Are Definitely Starting to Die, Industry Says

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Plus, Peta calls for vegan slices at the Museum of Pizza — and more intel

Poke Village
Some poke from Poke Village
Photo via Poke Village/Yelp

Battle of the poke chains

Two years after NYC’s poke boom, new poke spots are still popping up and chains continue to expand. Sweetcatch Poke added three new locations in April, and California-based companies continue to move east, as with North Shore Poké Co., which opened in Murray Hill in February. Now, a shakeout of the crowded poke scene is likely on the horizon according to Nation’s Restaurant News. Yoon Ju, the co-founder of Poké Bar, which has 53 locations from San Francisco to New York, says that the industry has “maxed out.” “Eventually, the small mom-and-pop stores will die down,” Ju says.

NYC dining stalwart retires from restaurants once again

Just months after jumping back into the restaurant game, Stephen Hanson is no longer running his restaurant Henry or cocktail bar Gibson + Luce, both at Life Hotel. The restaurateur, who founded monster hospitality group BR Guest before selling it off, had not been in the restaurant industry since 2013 when he opened Henry in December. He’s a partner in the Life Hotel and decided to get back into things since the hotel was the landlord, but he now tells Eater that restaurants are “too much work” after being retired for a few years. Both the restaurant and the cocktail bar remain open. “Everyone at this point is still in place — I’m just not involved,” he says.

The caviar sandwich is back at Oyster Bar

The indulgent sandwich slathered in 1.3 ounces of caviar, shredded hard-boiled egg, and sour cream has returned to Grand Central’s Oyster Bar. Exec chef Sandy Ingber stopped serving the sandwich last year due to increasing costs of the Louisiana bowfin caviar used, but it’s back. The sandwich goes for $13.95 at lunch and dinner.

Openings, closings, and coming attractions

Lower East Side pie shop Petee’s Pie opened its first Brooklyn location at 505 Myrtle Ave. in Clinton Hill. The cafe is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. In the East Village, applicants have applied for a liquor license at 2 St. Mark’s Pl. The applicants are also involved with six-year-old beer spot Draught 55 Bar & Kitchen, which offers more than 40 craft beers. The new East Village spot will serve classic pub fare and “contemporary American offerings,” according to the application, and will accommodate 65 guests.

Meanwhile, also in East Village, ice cream and rice and noodle shop Pink Bear Ice Cream has closed.

Peta pens open letter to the pizza “museum”

Not everyone is thrilled about the upcoming cheesy Instagram funhouse The Museum of Pizza. The president of Peta has issued a letter to the museum’s CEO asking that vegan pizza be served at the museum, arguing that vegans should be able to enjoy the experience, too. Few details have been released about what kind of pizza the museum will serve. All that’s known is that the ticket price supposedly includes “a slice of pizza,” so Peta seems to be jumping the gun a bit. “If you truly want to unite everyone with a passion for pizza, please consider featuring vegan pies and slices for a menu that can’t be topped,” the letter reads. Yeah, there are multiple pizza puns.