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An Unvaccinated Sarah Palin Dined Indoors Over the Weekend, Flouting NYC’s Vaccine Mandate

Plus, Kjun chef Jae Jung to compete on “Top Chef — and more intel

An exterior shot of a restaurant with dark green awnings and gold trim.
Elio’s on the Upper East Side.
Via Google Maps
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Controversial politician and former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who has publicly stated that she would only get vaccinated “over my dead body,” dined indoors at Upper East Side celebrity hangout Elio’s over the weekend — and then tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

Palin, who was in town for a court date over a libel lawsuit with the New York Times, appears to have flouted the ongoing vaccination mandate in NYC. Restaurant manager Luca Guaitolini told the New York Times that the staff “made a mistake” in seemingly letting Palin dine inside when she is not vaccinated, which is against city law. Guaitolini, who says he was not working that night, told the Times that the Italian restaurant checks proof of vaccination for first-time customers but not regulars, and Palin arrived with a longtime diner. “She probably just walked in and strolled over,” Guaitolini told the Times.

In a separate phone call with Eater on Monday, Guaitolini said that Elio’s is checking vaccination status in accordance with the city mandate, but managing a steady stream of paper cards, photos of cards, and apps, plus checking against ID cards, at the door for hundreds of customers can be an overwhelming task.

Decades-old steakhouse T-Bar returns to the Upper East Side

Elsewhere on the Upper East Side, longtime restaurateur Tony Fortuna is reopening his upscale steakhouse T-Bar at 116 East 60th Street, between Lexington and Park avenues. The original steakhouse, a mainstay in the same neighborhood, closed last year after a 27-year run.

New Jersey restaurants under fire over alleged review policy

A pair of New Jersey chain restaurants — Tio Taco and Tequila Bar; and Tommy’s Tavern and Tap — were ripped apart online after a memo from one of the restaurants was posted to Reddit claiming that every front-of-house employee was required to generate at least five, five-star Google reviews per month or be terminated. A director with the company tells the New York Post that the policy was not enforced and the employee who posted the memo has since been fired.

Chef Jae Jung, of NYC’s Korean-Cajun pop-up Kjun, to compete on Top Chef

Good luck!