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Legendary Balthazar Restaurateur Keith McNally Is Writing a Memoir

Plus, watermelon is NYC’s hottest ingredient — and more intel

Keith McNally in 2016, wearing a black sweater with a white collar
Keith McNally in 2016
Nick Solares/Eater

Keith McNally is writing a memoir

One of New York City’s most successful restaurateurs is picking up the pen. Keith McNally, the man behind hits like Balthazar, Minetta Tavern, and Pastis, is writing a memoir. He told Graydon Carter’s new publication Air Mail that he writes for six hours a day, though five are “spent re-writing.”

McNally certainly has a lot to recount. His restaurants have been packed with celebrities over the years — from the likes of Prince Harry to Martha Stewart to Jake Gyllenhaal — and he’s opened and closed several other beloved places like Cherche Midi and Schiller’s Liquor Bar. Plus, there’s his life post-stroke, which McNally hasn’t opened up much about, besides to say that his wife and investors left him — “I had never felt so down in my life,” he said in the interview.

In other news

New York magazine critic Adam Platt finds a succession of good food at chef Greg Baxtrom’s French-Japanese yakitori restaurant Maison Yaki. He loves the “superb” croquette sando and “tender” frogs’ legs, but gripes at the cost adding up quickly, as well as the “cloying richness of the endless succession of butter- and cream-mounted sauces.”

— Apparently watermelon is the hottest new savory ingredient, with the Standard Grill, Ducks Eatery, and Mokbar all serving the fruit up in non-sweet ways.

— Looks like the owner of Greek restaurants Kyma and Elea is quietly becoming one of Montauk’s major property owners. Merkourios Angeliades, 77, has bought 14 waterfront acres in the Hamptons seaside town, to the tune of $52.5 million. He’s reportedly planning to build a luxury resort.

— New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is very busy helping this city at the Iowa State Fair, where he’s downing corn dogs and trying to climb the ladder.

— Australian cafe Ruby’s is the latest to be hit with a wage theft lawsuit. Workers allege that the restaurant didn’t hand out tips properly and didn’t pay the proper tipped minimum wage, and now they’re suing to get that money plus damages and attorney fees.

Sweetgreen is headed for the luxury building at 347 Bowery. The salad chain champ is also working on an experimental new location in Midtown East that will nix assembly line ordering and offer more options.

A new installation at World Trade Center is intended to highlight that rice — more than a fifth of the source of calories for humans worldwide — doesn’t just come from a bag. The actual rice paddy is growing each day, and signs around it highlight the meaning.

— Lol: