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Jean-Georges Alum’s Southern Restaurant in Crown Heights Opens Next Week

Plus, Grubhub wants to move the lawsuit claiming it ripped off restaurants behind closed doors — and more intel

The Ryerson
The Ryerson
The Ryerson [Official]

Southern restaurant from from a Jean-Georges Alum opens in Crown Heights

The Ryersona Southern-inspired restaurant from a team with experience at upscale restaurants like Jean-Georges, Olmsted, and Gramercy Tavern — will open at 698 Nostrand Ave., between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place on June 13. It comes from Matt Rudolph, Larry Glogau, Max Glogau, and executive chef Sean Underwood, and serves burgers, étouffée, and fried chicken for two or four. Drinks center on cocktails, though 15 wines by-the-glass, ranging from $9 to $14, are also available. It was previously called the Benjamin.

Grubhub makes moves to keep its restaurant-ripoff lawsuit private

Grubhub is trying to keep a lawsuit that claims the delivery service routinely rips off restaurants under wraps. The company has asked a Philadelphia federal judge to dismiss the suit, claiming that it belongs in arbitration — in which it’d be handled behind closed doors. The suit was filed by a Philadelphia restaurateur accusing Grubhub (which also owns Seamless) of slyly charging restaurants for customer phone calls even when orders are never placed, including businesses in New York City. The lawsuit is seeking class action status to include other restaurants targeted by the alleged scam.

Times critic finds Salvadoran delights in Queens

Ricas Pupusas & Mas, which opened less than a year ago in Sunnyside, specializes in El Salvador’s national dish known as pupusas, palm-size tortillas that are stuffed with cheese and pork and seasoned meats. Times Hungry City columnist Mahira Rivers digs the restaurant’s best selling dish; she writes, “the revueltas, a persuasive combination of silky refried beans, reliably molten mozzarella blended with a salt-rich hard cheese called queso duro, and garlicky shredded pork that Salvadorans call chicharrón.” The Queens restaurant, a family-run business started by Salvadoran native Irma Vargas, excels in other areas too, like the “juicy” carne asada (charred beef) and “pound cake-like” quesadillas.

Former Chinatown deliveryman was duped out of his $300,000-plus wage settlement

Former Canton Kitchen deliveryman Cai Shuang Chen is trying to claim the $328,000 he was awarded in a wage-theft settlement — but he’s having trouble collecting the money because the restaurant no longer exists. In 2017, the court sided with Chen in a lawsuit that claimed he worked 12-hour shifts every day of the week, yet only received $40 in daily wages and tips, plus two compensated meals. But Chen believes the restaurant owner closed Canton Kitchen and reopened it under a new name (House Special) and different owner (on paper) to avoid paying him. And under New York law, there’s no set legal way to collect money from a restaurant that is no longer in business, according to NY Daily News.

Openings and closings around town

The Upper West Side’s Sapphire Indian Cuisine at 1845 Broadway and 61st Street is closing at the end of the month because the building is being demolished. The restaurant opened 21 years ago and is now looking for a new home in the neighborhood. Meanwhile Van Leeuwen is opening an ice cream shop at 253 Columbus Ave., between 71st and 72nd streets. Latin American restaurant Calle Ocho has applied for a liquor license at 2756 Broadway, near 106th Street, in a space with a backyard garden. The restaurant currently has a location on 81st Street in the Excelsior Hotel. Further north in East Harlem, Spanish tapas bar Gaudir has opened at 251 East 110th St., between Second and Third avenues. In addition to tapas, paella and Spanish wines are also on offer.

Over in Brooklyn, Mugs Alehouse is closing in Williamsburg after 26 years at 125 Bedford Ave. The bar closes on June 22; co-owner Ed Berestecki says he no longer gas the energy to keep the bar up and running, citing a changing neighborhood and other factors. Over in Crown Heights, a new beer garden called Gruit Garden & Eatery is opening in the former Toomey’s Diner space at 252 Empire Blvd., at Rogers Avenue, with a kosher menu and plenty of brews.

Update: This post has been correct to reflect that the Benjamin won’t open until next week.