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Following Outrage and a Petition, Cottage Fries Are Back at Two NY Institutions

Plus, a Brooklyn pizzeria owner is opening a new spot in Puerto Rico — and more intel

A burger and a cheeseburger at J.G. Melon sit on a green checkered tablecloth, while a plate of fries sits nearby.
Cottage fries are back on the menu at J.G. Melon and Roll N Roaster.
Eater NY

After a year-plus hiatus, cottage fries are back on the menu at places like burger haven J.G. Melon on the Upper East Side and retro-roast-beef spot Roll N Roaster in Sheepshead Bay. When supply chain issues took the pillowy, ridged potato disks off menus last year, outraged customers started a petition to bring them back. A spokesperson for J.G. Melon confirms they returned about a week ago. “It was pretty major for us,” she says, “just to get these fries back.” She says they tried different brands’ versions of cottage fries, but “none of them were like the originals” — until now. A spokesperson from the original supplier, Lamb Weston, confirms that they’re not the ones back to supplying New York restaurants; the new ones are supplied through Chef’s Warehouse. The $7.75 standalone fry order has restored its place among the most popular items on the J.G. Melon menu. The founder of the petition tells Eater they can finally rest easy, and shut down the campaign. — Melissa McCart, editor

A Brooklyn pizzeria owner is opening a new spot in Puerto Rico

Just as Lucia Pizza announced it would be expanding beyond Sheepshead Bay with a new location in Soho, there’s another project owner Salvatore Carlino has in the works — this time, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Malavita will be an alimentari (Italian provisions) shop located next to and in collaboration with Keith Pulitano and Amianka Suárez, behind one of San Juan’s hottest wine bar-restaurants El Vino Crudo. While the new venture will not be a pizzeria, it will feature Sicilian and Italian American tinned goods, cheeses, wine, and coffee, with sandwiches. It’s targeting a fall 2023 opening date, says Carlino, who will continue to live in Brooklyn.

A longtime Astoria pool hall abruptly shutters

Local website the City goes long on a report surrounding the closure of Steinway Cafe-Billiards, which has left longtime employees and regulars alike in a lurch with its abrupt notice. The Astoria pool hall first opened in 1990 and became a centerpiece of the Greek community, known beyond the games for its $3 coffee. A judge-ordered eviction over unpaid pandemic rent has been in the works for some time, according to the report.

Meanwhile, a Queens bowling alley is set to be demolished

It’s been a hard week for third spaces in Queens. Whitestone Lanes, a bowling alley and bar, is set to be demolished and turned into a nine-story apartment building, which may include 113 affordable units, according to the NY Daily News. As Eater reported in 2021, bowling alley bars, already vulnerable, have increasingly been on the brink of extinction throughout the pandemic.