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José Andrés Pledges to Pay Back Underpaid Mercado Little Spain Employees [Updated]

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Plus, popular Penn Station commuter bar Tracks is relocating — and more intel

Food Bank For New York City Can-Do Awards Dinner - Arrivals Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Food Bank for New York City

José Andrés says Mercado Little Spain employees were underpaid because of a payroll glitch

Famed chef José Andrés says a payroll glitch at his Hudson Yards food hall Mercado Little Spain resulted in employees being underpaid. Earlier this week, a bartender accused his Spanish market of “systematically” paying its service employees below minimum wage in a new lawsuit.

The market denied the allegations Tuesday, but the chef tweeted Wednesday that a software glitch resulted in some employees being underpaid and overpaid, and he claims the issue was being fixed. The company is now pledging to pay the underpaid employees back wages plus a second check of equal amount to “offset any difficulties,” according to a statement from Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup. Those that were overpaid can keep extra funds, the statement says.

Prolific restaurant lawyer Maimon Kirschenbaum, who is representing the bartender, shot back: He called the chef “an American hero” and says he’s just trying to avoid the hefty fines that come with wage violations, the Washington Post reports. He’s since filed an amended complaint rejecting that the wage violations were a result of a “glitch” — and tacking on similar accusations from former bartender Cindy Martinez, who claims she didn’t receive any tips during the grand opening ceremony in March despite being paid a lower wage based on the collection of tips. The employee allegedly quit soon after the opening due to the wage issues. “This cannot be reasonably attributable to any glitch; it is plain underpayment of wages,” the lawsuit states.

The wage lawsuit is the second to hit Mercado Little Spain since it opened in March. A former pastry chef also recently sued claiming she was fired because she was a woman.

Update: August 29, 2019, 2:07 p.m.: This article was updated to include new information about the amended lawsuit against Mercado Little Spain.

Popular commuter bar Tracks is moving outside Penn Station

Penn Station’s adored commuter bar Tracks Raw Bar & Grill is moving across the station to 220 West 31st St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues, with plans to reopen this fall. The bar, known by its frequenters as Tracks Bar, is being booted from its location of 16 years due to a massive construction project at the station. The bar is still open for now.

Stefanie Tuder/Eater

In other news

— Rapper Nas visited Flatiron Korean steakhouse Cote’s basement bar Undercote.

— NYC Council may vote to ban foie gras as early as this fall.

— This man recreated a version of his favorite Soho dive bar Spring Lounge in his garage after moving to the New Jersey suburbs — and apparently others are doing the same.

Bill Clinton is still living his hot girl summer in the Hamptons, recently dropping by Bostwick’s Chowder House for a spicy margarita and fish tacos.

— A $300 omakase helmed by award-winning sushi chef Tadashi Yoshida is coming to the Bowery.

— WeWork’s parent company bought a startup called Spacious that allows freelancers to rent working space in restaurants when they’re not busy.

— If he can make it, so can we:

Mercado Little Spain

10 Hudson Yards, Manhattan, NY 10001 (646) 495-1242 Visit Website

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