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Great Jones Cafe Reopens: ‘Reports of Our Demise Were Greatly Exaggerated’

We reported last week that beloved Cajun eatery and longtime Bowery hangout Great Jones Cafe was temporarily shutting down — and, according to cryptic information from an employee, would or would not return. Fearing that the Great Jones had become yet the latest victim of rising rents, New Yorkers swarmed onto social media to pay their respects and lament the loss of a neighborhood institution that has served as an indispensable cultural hub for local artists, musicians, and writers — some of whom, like Basquiat, have become quite famous.

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Summer Streets Hits Astor Place: Food, Mini-Golf, VR, and… a ‘Smell Walk’?

A waterslide at last year’s Summer Streets.

The city’s popular “Summer Streets” program — in which seven miles of New York streets are temporarily turned into pedestrian-only parks — returns the first three Saturdays of August.

Our fair city’s government — or the program’s sponsors, anyway — have spared no expense. The smorgasbord of activities announced at a Department of Transportation press conference on Astor Place this morning includes crowd favorites like waterslides and ziplines — as well as some eccentric new additions, including a “smell walk”; an event described as “a silent disco, but for your tongue”; and the opportunity to bathe in a “giant washing machine.” Yet riding our subways is like participating in the Stanford Prison Experiment. Remarkable.

Anyway: This year’s theme is “the Five Senses,” hence novelties like the smell walk. Created by artist and designer Kate McClean, who previously created “smellmaps” in cities like Amsterdam and Paris, it’s described as “45 minutes of walking slowly and sniffing followed by a 15-minute visualisation exercise to communicate your smell encounters to those who missed the opportunity.” You can RSVP to be one of the 30 lucky smellwalkers here.

In keeping with the sensuous new theme there will also be a greater emphasis on food this year, with “food sessions” organized by New York chef John Mooney of Bell Book & Candle in the Village (known for growing vegetables on its roof). During the culinary silent disco, designed by Daily Tous Les Jours, a Montreal-based “interaction design studio,” participants will dine at a banquet while wearing headphones so their experience can be complemented by a soundtrack and narrator.

The “giant washing machine” will apparently be that — a 30’ wide by 50’ long inflatable washing machine filled with giant plates and utensils that participants run through while being splashed by jets of water. For the more pedestrian among us there will also be mini-golf, a dog park, bouldering walls, and the aforementioned waterslide and zipline, among other attractions.

Astor Place is one of Summer Streets’ designated “rest stops,” and several of the activities — including the “smell walk,” the mini-golf, the interactive banquet/silent food disco, and a virtual-reality tour of Mt. Everest — will be located there.

This is the tenth year of the Summer Streets program, noted speakers at the press conference this morning, who described the program as part of a broader shift in New York toward a more pedestrian-friendly, environmentally-friendly, and creative city. As last year, the main sponsor is Citi.

Summer Streets will take place from 7am to 1pm on Aug. 5th, 12th, and 19th along Park Avenue, Lafayette, and Centre Streets from Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park. All activities are free; some require advance registration.

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Throwback Italian Deli Promises Food Just Like Nonna Used to Make

Credit: Nico Eyes.

Following on the recent news of Greenwich Village eatery Dante’s expansion to a second location in Little Italy comes another development of interest to fans of Italian cuisine.

Today is the grand opening of Regina’s Grocery, an Italian-American comfort-food joint at 27 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, next door to The Fat Radish.

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A Visit to DeKalb Market Hall, the Heathen Food Orgy and New Home of Katz’s

I like food; I dislike crowds. So it was with mixed feelings that I descended the escalator into DeKalb Market Hall, the Albee Square food-court-on-steroids that opened today in downtown Brooklyn.

I arrived on the earlier side of the lunch rush – actually right at the stroke of noon, when civilized people like myself take luncheon – but the market was already bustling with people eager to sample from some of the 40-odd food vendors.

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How Rahi Makes Two of Its Buzziest ‘Artisanal Indian’ Dishes

Rahi, a word meaning “traveler,” is the name of an upscale Indian restaurant that opened two weeks ago in the West Village. Its menu adapts locally sourced produce to explore the lesser known flavors and dishes from the Indian subcontinent. B+B sat down with owner Roni Mazumdar and chef Chintan Pandya to understand how the restaurant drills deeper into the cuisine, instead of resorting to fusion. Plus, Chef Pandya serves up two popular dishes from the menu: Banana Leaf Chicken and Inked Crab.

Rahi, open 5-11 pm, 60 Greenwich Ave

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After A Long Wait, Chuko Ramen’s Bushwick Location Is Open For Slurping

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

This past Monday, notable noodle purveyors Chuko Ramen began serving dinner in their Bushwick location at 144 Evergreen Avenue. Now, North Brooklynites will no longer have to make their way to Prospect Heights to enjoy a bowl of Chuko’s flavor-packed veggie miso ramen or their celebrated kale salad.
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Now You Can Have Your Liquid Dinner and Eat it Too, Food Returns to Tørst

(Photo courtesy of Tørst)

(Photo courtesy of Tørst)

When Tørst opened along Manhattan Avenue back in 2013, as the official bar but not exactly brew pub of Evil Twin brewery, the brewmaster Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø attracted a lot of attention for upping his beer game even more. Known for its extensive and ever-rotating selection of beers, some rarely seen in the States, and many made by the kind of high-end microbrews that Jeppe was experienced in making himself, Tørst topped itself shortly after with the addition of an in-house restaurant.

At first glance Luksus– an extension of the bar’s overly-lit, Nordic minimalist setting– inspired a lot of gaggy, knee-jerk, and not so glowing reactions. But like frowny Nordic people themselves and, say, Ikea furniture, the restaurant grew on critics and customers, who seemed to get used to the stiff, hardened outer layer. That is, until chef Daniel Burns peaced out and Luksus abruptly closed, Michelin star and all. But, as of this week, Tørst is back in the restaurant biz, and a new chef seems to have taken notice of the initial criticism.

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Fancy Food Court, Gotham Market, Plunks Down in Fort Greene

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

With the opening of Gotham Market in Fort Greene this weekend, Brooklyn gained yet another fancy food market, adding to our city’s ever-growing assortment of what are essentially upscale mall food courts catering toward fresh-obsessed gastrodorks, stoner-bro cooks, hipster foodies with mad money to blow on artisanal popsicles, and vulnerable hangover zombies. Gotham Market, for example, swaps out Sbarro for Apizza Regionale, serving brick oven pizza, “locally-sourced Italian fare,” and charcuterie. For once, this isn’t just another outpost for the Smorgasburg empire– actually, as the ground-floor tenant at The Ashland, one of the new luxury high-rise buildings sprouting all over the “Brooklyn Cultural District,” it is something else entirely.

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A Jarring Depiction of Hillary Clinton in Jennifer Rubell’s Housewife

(Photos: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

(Photos: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

On Wednesday night, two police officers stood outside the Chinatown gallery Sargent’s Daughters. Only, there was no law-breaking or so-called “suspicious activity” to be investigated. Rather, they wanted to know what all the hubbub was about. Particularly, why everyone seemed to be munching cookies from a large, bright orange pair of pants. And no ordinary pair of pants. These were a rendition of the lower half of Hillary Clinton’s pantsuit in motion. Keep Reading »

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Don’t Be a (Chili) Flake, Head on Over to Kimchipalooza 6

A previous kimchi eating contest winner, with trophy (image via Mama O's)

A previous kimchi eating contest winner, with trophy (image via Mama O’s)

What better way to spend your Sunday than spicin’ it up at Kimchipalooza 6? While this might sound like the latest edition of a concept-heavy music festival or B-movie, the truth is much tastier. It’s a kimchi festival happening for the 6th year in a row, celebrating jars full of the uber-healthy, probiotic, sometimes buried-underground, stinking-rotten cabbage native to Korean cuisine but that in the last several years has grown in popularity, transcending borders and spreading joy and a spicier, more complex approach to the blander sauerkraut more familiar to American tongues. They’re offering BBQ kimchi creations, live music, DJs, dranks, even a make-your-own kimchi station, and— brace yourself —a “super spicy” kimchi eating contest.

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Grand Street Restaurant Week: Gentrifier’s Grub, or Feeding Local Biz?

(via Grand Street Business Improvement District)

(via Grand Street Business Improvement District)

Yesterday a dozen restaurants along Grand Street in East Williamsburg kicked off their second-annual Grand Street Restaurant Week, the area’s very own location-specific version of the mammoth that is New York Restaurant Week, complete with prix-fixe lunch and dinner specials. Depending on your view, you might interpret the event as either an odd/scary fit for the neighborhood or a harbinger of good things to come.

It bears reminding that, usually in order to participate in Restaurant Week, you first need to feel financially able (or reckless enough) to drop $30 to $40 on a single meal. Regular NY Restaurant Week, also happening right now through August 19, offers $29 lunches and $42 dinners, and understands multiple courses as inherent to both meals. So it seems that, more than likely, people patronizing Grand Street Restaurant Week would fall squarely into the “gentrifier” category, the type of folk who want to prance around in luxury-dorm/playground buildings that are masquerading as apartments or pre-fab “artist communities” but are actually closer to cruise ships (the first-class decks, obviously).

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Bowery Gets a Nosh Nook That Brings Together Alidoro, Butcher’s Daughter and More

(Photo: John Ambrosio)

(Photo: John Ambrosio)

Glorified food courts keep sprouting up, from the new Gansevoort Market to the one at the forthcoming Whole Foods Williamsburg. The latest, from real estate developer Scott Marano, opened in Noho earlier today. The Bowery Market features stalls from several local vendors and restaurants, including Soho Italian sandwich spot Alidoro, “veggie slaughterhouse” The Butcher’s Daughter, taco joint Pulqueria, and upscale Brooklyn cafe Champion Coffee.

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