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Chef Rick Bayless Makes His NYC Debut With Fast Casual Tortas Chain in Flatiron

Plus, Queens Night Market returns to Flushing — and more intel

Chef Rick Bayless backstage during a culinary event.
Chef Rick Bayless
Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Chicago chef Rick Bayless brings fast casual tortas chain to NYC

Well-known Chicago chef and restaurateur Rick Bayless is bringing Tortazo, his year-old fast casual tortas chain, to NYC. The chain, backed by fast food favorite Jolibee, will be opening a location in Flatiron — at 1123 Broadway, between West 25th and 26th streets — in September, according to a representative for the chain. Sam Lipp, a veteran of Daniel Humm’s restaurant group Make It Nice and Union Square Hospitality Group, has come on board to help lead the expansion, trade outlet Restaurant Hospitality reports.

At the new NYC spot, the menu will include Tortazo’s staples of tortas, chicken and bean bowls, and soups. It also may dabble in some new items exclusive to the upcoming location, like tlayudas, Lipp tells Restaurant Hospitality. Bayless has a history of launching successful upscale Mexican restaurants across Chicago, including Michelin-starred Topolobampo and cocktail spot Bar Sótano, but this will be his first crack at selling $10 chipotle chicken tortas to a town already teeming with exemplary versions of the Mexican sandwich.

In other news

— Media figure and Balthazar exile Graydon Carter is launching a mobile coffee pop-up, Airmail Express, in conjunction with his weekly news outlet Airmail. The pop-up is open today through June 13 at the Mark Hotel on the Upper East Side, and then it travels downtown to Pasquale Jones, where it will park from June 17 to 25, according to a representative. Former Blue Hill Stone Barns pastry chef Nicole del Pino is handling the baked goods.

— Mercer Street Hospitality chef and partner Josh Capon tells Eater that he has left the company to launch his own group with restaurateur David Rodolitz of Empellon, entrepreneur and Resy co-founder Gary Vaynerchuk, and former Noho Hospitality chef Conor Hanlon. No details were disclosed on upcoming projects yet.

— Former Legacy Records chef Henry Zamora has opened Tacos Güey, an upscale Mexican restaurant, in Flatiron, in the former home of cocktail bar Flatiron Lounge.

— Dante West Village has launched a new Cosmopolitan-centric menu at the bar, according to a representative, with eight variations on the Cocktail of Summer 2021.

— Important ice cream updates: Milk Bar has launched a line of ice creams in Whole Foods; while 16 Handles is collaborating with Oatly on a handful of oat milk ice creams available at all 31 NYC locations starting today.

— Popular orange wine subscription service Orange Glou has now become a permanent wine shop opening Friday on the Lower East Side.

— New York-based nonprofit Restaurant Opportunities Centers United has been sued by several former employees in Oakland, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C. over alleged discrimination in their workplaces.

— The Queens Night Market is officially returning to Flushing Meadows Corona Park after a yearlong hiatus, according to founder John Wang. The market’s 2021 season launches on June 19 and runs (almost) each Saturday through October 30, from 4 p.m. to midnight. Tickets for entry are $5 apiece. Newer vendors at the market include Sea Monster, selling Malaysian grilled skate wings, and Sudanese spot Sambuxa NYC.

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