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Celebrity Magnet Omar’s Reportedly Hosted a Party This Month Despite the Shutdown

Plus, Michelin-starred French restaurant Oxalis is now selling produce and meal kits — and more intel

A cocktail glass sits on a counter with a purple bar backdrop Alexey Andr Tkachenko/Shutterstock

This LES nightclub reportedly held a secret, invite-only party during the coronavirus lockdown

The Lower East Side’s swanky — and controversial — new nightclub, Omar’s La Boite, allegedly hosted an invite-only party earlier this month that violated social distancing rules, the New York Post reports. According to one party-goer, the Broome Street bar allegedly opened its doors on Friday, May 1 to more than a dozen people, many of whom were reportedly not wearing face masks or observing social distancing rules. The attendee likened the event to Prohibition-era New York City, with cocktails flowing and people reciting passwords at the door in order to be admitted entry.

Omar Hernandez, the personality at the helm of the club, has since denied that the party occurred. “I’m sheltering outside the city, certainly wasn’t there, and I had no knowledge of any social gathering onsite,” Hernandez said in a statement to the Post. The venue’s general manager also denied knowing about the event, though it wouldn’t be the first time that one of Hernandez’s bars had been at odds with local regulation. In June 2019, his Upper East Side nightclub, called Omar, was sued by the owners of a nearby housing co-op due to repeated noise complaints from residents. The bar, located inside of Michael White’s Vaucluse restaurant, is known as a haunt for celebrities like Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert De Niro.

While the alleged party at La Boite wasn’t busted, the NYPD has previously issued summons to a few NYC bars, including a hookah lounge in Bay Ridge, a juice bar in Queens, and a sports bar in Gravesend, Brooklyn, for serving people at the establishment during the shutdown.

In other news

— Bushwick has a new wine store focusing on family-owned wineries and natural wines. Starr Wines, named for its location at 321 Starr Street, between St. Nicholas and Cypress Avenues, is open daily from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. for pick-up. Orders can be placed by calling the store or through the wine store’s website.

— East Village fine dining vegan restaurant Avant Garden is offering free meals to anyone that needs them from Wednesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., owner Ravi Derossi tells Eater.

— The comeback of New York City restaurants will be difficult, but may also give the food industry a welcome opportunity to slow down, says New York Post critic Steve Cuozzo in a column for the City Journal.

— Nom Wah Tea Parlor owner Wilson Tang talked about keeping his restaurant open during the pandemic on a new podcast called the Window.

— Israeli chef Eyal Shani’s pita-focused Upper West Side restaurant Miznon North is now offering pantry staples like olive oil, chickpeas, spices, and more for delivery and takeout every Friday.

— Northern Tiger, the popular Brookfield Place-based dumpling shop is now offering a selection of meal kits including packages of frozen dumplings and char siu pork, for pickup and delivery.

— More than 15,000 unemployed Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers are now delivering groceries to at-risk individuals in the city. The New York City relief effort started on March 24 and has paid $3.5 million to drivers so far.

— Across the city, some New York City grocers still struggle to get oat milk, toilet paper, and instant ramen on their shelves.

— Michelin-starred French restaurant Oxalis is now offering weekend delivery of seasonal produce and meal kits through a new grocery delivery service called Pantry Box.

— Will confirm as soon as we can find some: