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Salt Bae Slapped With Another Lawsuit Over Alleged Labor Violations at NYC Restaurants

Plus, Daniel Boulud’s UWS bistro Bar Boulud names a new executive chef — and more intel

A man in dark sunglasses in a signature salt-sprinkling post stands over a cutting board with sliced steak.
Nusret Gökçe
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Five employees sue Salt Bae over alleged unpaid overtime pay

Salt Bae and his chain of extravagant, critically-panned steakhouses have been sued — yet again — over alleged labor violations. Five grill staffers have sued founder Nusret Gökçe, otherwise known as Salt Bae, and the restaurant chain for allegedly stiffing the employees on overtime pay, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. The New York Post reports that the suit accuses Gökçe of misclassifying the workers as managers to avoid paying them overtime while they worked 70-plus hours per week in the chain’s steakhouse and burger shop in NYC. Each of the five employees were most recently paid a weekly salary of $1,125, regardless of time worked.

Salt Bae has attracted a number of lawsuits since the Internet meme first started opening up steakhouses in the U.S. In 2019, servers at the New York steakhouse sued Gökçe for allegedly stealing tips and shorting the staffers on pay. Earlier this year, Brooklyn-based artist William Hicks sued the chef for $5 million in damages over alleged artwork copyright infringement. In Texas, the chain allegedly shirked vendor payments during construction of its Dallas steakhouse that opened last March.

The restaurant chain did not immediately return a request for comment on the overtime pay lawsuit.

In other news

— Williamsburg brewery Talea has lined up multiple late summer pop-ups at the shop this weekend, including Mexican food truck El Toro Rojo, and Latusion, a food truck serving Peruvian and Latin fusion fare.

— Vincent Cortese has been named the new executive chef of Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud on the Upper West Side. The New Jersey native previously worked for years in various positions at the restaurant group’s two-Michelin-starred Daniel. Cortese was also formerly the chef de cuisine at now-closed Italian fine dining spot Del Posto.

— Baldor Specialty Foods, one of the city’s largest commercial food suppliers, tells Crain’s New York that, in its view, restaurants are now on steadier financial footing. Its monthly sales this summer are up compared to the same period in 2019, and the supplier’s restaurant clients have paid back 98 percent of their pandemic-related debt.

— Author Reggie Nadelson goes long on the pure nostalgic pleasure of a Nathan’s Famous hot dog.

— Harlem’s Sugar Hill Creamery has partnered up with Rāsheeda Purdie, owner of ramen pop-up Ramen by Ra, to debut the food item that this summer has been missing: ramen ice cream, made with a miso base and pickled ginger yuzu and black sesame tuile incorporated into the dessert.

— Always here for muffin discourse: