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NYC Restaurant to Host Mask-Burning Ceremony in Wake of Relaxed CDC Guidelines

Plus, chef Tom Colicchio’s Italian pop-up may transition into a permanent restaurant — and more intel

A stack of blue surgical face masks set against a white background Harry Wedzinga/Shutterstock
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Empire Steakhouse in Midtown set to host a mask-burning ceremony this afternoon

Curtis Sliwa, a Republican candidate for mayor, is orchestrating mask-burning ceremonies this afternoon at Midtown restaurant Empire Steakhouse and Southampton seafood spot Blu Mar to mark the state’s relaxation of mask regulations, the New York Post reports.

Attendees at the NYC event will be throwing their masks into a fire while disco group the Trammps performs ‘Disco Inferno,’ Sliwa tells the Post. A representative for the Trammps confirmed with Eater New York that the band would be performing at the event today. In Southampton, Blu Mar owner Zach Erdem will light another fire for attendees to toss their masks into, although he tells the Post that people can still wear their masks at the mask-burning ceremony if they so choose.

The events underscore differing restaurant responses to New York’s adoption of the CDC’s relaxed mask guidelines on Wednesday, which now puts the onus on individual businesses to determine their own mask policies during the pandemic. Some restaurants plan to keep requiring all customers to wear masks when not sitting and eating, while others like Tribeca spot Bubby’s are following current CDC guidance and letting fully vaccinated customers go maskless. Grocery stores are facing a similar conundrum, with some national chains in NYC following the CDC guidance while others are sticking to previous mask requirements.

Eater New York has reached out to Empire Steakhouse for further comment on today’s event.

In other news

— Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven has received a $40,000 grant from American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help the 191-year-old Queens institution stay afloat this year.

— Bushwick Daily asked around and found that many neighborhood businesses, including French spot Mominette, are not yet relaxing their mask-wearing requirements.

— This year, Brooklyn is close to overtaking Manhattan as the most popular borough for new restaurant openings, The City finds.

— Williamsburg cafe Gertie is hosting a Luxe Latkes and Acme Smoked Fish pop-up this Saturday, from 5 to 9 p.m. Pre-orders are open now for the latke menu, which includes a beet caraway latke with sour porcini mushroom gravy and Acme smoked salmon, and a paprika potato latke with labne and Acme whitefish. Gertie is supplying flights of vodka shots to pair with the latkes.

— Chef Tom Colicchio tells Resy that there’s “a good chance” that his Italian pop-up Vallata in Gramercy will transition into a permanent restaurant.

— Starbucks closed 49 of its 351 stores in New York City last year, and is now replacing some locations with much smaller stores geared toward mobile pick-up orders, Crain’s New York reports.

— Tofu legend Fong On joins in on outdoor dining: