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A ‘Top Chef’ Alum Is Opening a Greek Fine Dining Restaurant

Plus, Nobu is opening another location uptown — and more intel

A man, George Pagonis, stands with his arms crossed in a restaurant.
George Pagonis and his brother Nicholas Pagonis are opening a restaurant in Tribeca.

Top Chef contestant and current head chef at Kyma in Hudson Yards, George Pagonis, and his brother Nicholas Pagonis are opening a Greek fine dining restaurant at 211 West Broadway, at Franklin Street, in the fall. The restaurant will focus on seafood with seating for around 90 people in a dining room, with another 15 seats at the bar. The restaurant has yet to be named.

The brothers were in the inner circle of former Top Chef contestant and Washington, D.C., restaurateur, Mike Isabella, who was sued for “extraordinary” sexual harassment in 2018, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and closed all of his restaurants. George Pagonis was the corporate chef and Nicholas Pagonis was the director of operations for those restaurants, which included Graffiato, Kapnos, and G sandwich shop, one of which opened in Isabella’s home state of New Jersey. Pagonis also worked at Jose Andres’s Zaytinya in D.C., Aureole, and Le Cirque. He was a Top Chef finalist in 2014.

Nobu is opening on the Upper East Side

Nobu is opening a location uptown in the Plaza Athénée, where the hotel will don the name of the restaurant as the Nobu Hotel in Lenox Hill at 37 E. 64th Street, near Park Avenue, according to Upper East Site. Slated to open in 2026, the Plaza Athénée Nobu Hotel and Spa will be the third location for the restaurant in Manhattan — following the Downtown location in Tribeca and Nobu Fifty Seven in Midtown — and other locations worldwide. The Plaza Athénée closed during COVID and is currently being renovated in partnership with AWC Property. The location will include a bar and lounge, a wellness center, a spa, and even a Japanese onsen bath open to the public.

A West African restaurant leaves the Rockaways

The Cradle, one of a few West African restaurants in the Rockaways, is closing its storefront at 194 Beach 96th Street, near Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Owners Babajide Alao and Pesy Sikyala, who got their start selling food at the beach at 74th Street, announced the closure on Instagram. They say they are focusing on finding a new home for the restaurant, likely in Brooklyn. Since opening at this address in 2020, the Cradle became known for its vegan jollof and ewa oloyin, Nigerian sweet beans. The last day is July 16.

A cookbook written by New York’s Asian restaurant owners

The non-profit Send Chinatown Love has spent the last year collecting recipes and local histories for a new cookbook, Made Here: Recipes and Reflections from NYC’s Asian Communities. The book includes 60 recipes from more than 40 restaurant owners and food vendors in the city, including the popular Thai Diner in Nolita and the Korean rice wine brewery Hana Makgeolli in Greenpoint. It’s available for preorder for $49.