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Brooklyn’s Yemen Cafe Was Targeted in a $14,000 Scam

Plus, East Village live music venue and restaurant the Sidewalk has closed after 34 years — and more intel

Yemen Cafe Yemen Cafe/Facebook

Chef swindles $14,000 out of Brooklyn restaurant

A shady chef-turned-consultant scammed Bay Ridge restaurant Yemen Cafe into paying over $14,000 of fake fines that supposedly went to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. But Vincent Tropepe had created fake documents to convince the restaurant owners that hefty fines were being levied against their business, telling them he negotiated down the fees on their behalf and forcing them to pay him thousands of dollars. When the restaurant checked in with the city’s Department of Buildings, though, they discovered that no violations existed. Tropepe now faces a 41-count indictment for grand larceny and falsifying business records. Yemen Cafe serves Yemeni dishes at at 7130 Fifth Ave., near 72nd Street.

Openings, closings, and coming attractions

Nomad gains a new sports bar next week with Gold Bear, opening March 4 at 377 Park Avenue South, between 26th and 27th streets. Whiskey, beer, and cocktails like a rosemary-infused vodka one with fresh strawberry, lemon, and Prosecco will be on tap, and a dinner menu will include poutine with duck confit and a burger. Over in the East Village, Ravagh Persian Grill has reopened after a months-long hiatus. The chain was renovating its interior at 125 First Ave., between Seventh Street and St. Mark’s Place. Meanwhile in Long Island City, chef Mina Stone will open a Mediterranean restaurant called Mina’s inside of MoMA PS1, following the departure of M. Wells Dinette. Mina’s is set to open in April with a menu that draws inspiration from the chef’s Greek heritage.

The East Village lost restaurant and live music venue the Sidewalk at 94 Avenue A, on Sixth Street, following a 34-year run in the neighborhood.

Restaurant updates for the former Montauk Yacht Club

Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina — previously known as the Montauk Yacht Club — has a new owner, meaning changes are coming for the restaurants housed there. Executive chef Jeremy Blustein (Almond in Bridgehampton) has been charged with running the flagship restaurant known as Showfish, which serves seafood caught daily, steak, and roasted pig, plus a raw bar at brunch. The chef will also oversee the Pool Club, an outdoor bar that fits 80 diners, and Il Forno, an outdoor to-go spot with room for 30.

Queens global food bazaar World’s Fare returns on May 18

The World’s Fare food festival returns this year with over 100 vendors, including Arepa Lady and Joey Bat’s Cafe, and a beer garden. This year, the event will be hosted by food critic Gael Greene, chef Anita Lo of now-closed Annisa, and chef Alex Raij of La Vara and Saint Julivert. The festival runs from May 18 to 19 at Citi Field stadium in Queens; tickets start at $19.

Restaurants will have to follow new sexual harassment laws

New sexual harassment laws are being put in place for NYC businesses, including restaurants. Employers are now required to train workers and post policies about harassment by October 9 — but some local business owners are fighting back. Business advocates are complaining that businesses haven’t been notified properly, saying that compliance may be challenging for both small and larger companies. For instance, Greg Biryla, who represents New York within small business advocacy group National Federation of Independent Business, says a “one-size-fits-all approach” is not the way to go. “The lack of adequate notification to employers, particularly to small business owners, is frustrating,” he says.