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Gourmet Gossip: July 2017

In this great dining city of ours, barely a day passes without news of an exciting restaurant opening, a devastating closing, a shocking chef shuffle, or a groundbreaking, must-try dish.  That’s why we’re keeping you apprised of the industry’s most noteworthy bits and bites — from a famous pizzaiolo expanding his reach to a game-changing eatery shutting its doors.

End of an Era: It seems no restaurant is safe nowadays, due to exorbitantly escalating rents, and the all-around prohibitive costs of doing business.  And while they didn’t directly allude to the above during the recent, rather stunning announcement of their closure, Brooklyn’s seminal local/seasonal, mom and pop-owned resto, Franny’s, has almost assuredly fallen victim to it.  Following a 15-year run, August 20th will be the last day at their now highly sought after, Barclay’s-adjacent Flatbush Avenue location, which will be taken over by none other than Joe Campanale, the star sommelier behind (and owner of) L’Artusi and Anfora.  We can only assume he’ll be bringing some major Manhattan star power (and big money backing) with him.

Wing-a-Ding-Ding: NYC may snag the lion’s share of praise when it comes to celebrated signature eats, but upstate still has bragging rights to an incredibly popular foodstuff: Wings.  Buffalo wings, to be exact, believed to have originated at beloved city dive, Anchor Bar.  Yet courtesy of an upcoming outpost of the aforementioned eatery in Hell’s Kitchen, the Big Apple and Buffalo will soon be engaged in a game of chicken over who truly has the best wings.

Di Fara Doubles Down: The “New Brooklyn” royalty behind Franny’s may be bowing out after 15 years, but one of the borough’s biggest, most enduring names, Di Fara, is still going strong.  Not only does the half century-old pizza parlor command 3-hour waits for pies (hand-tossed by octogenarian owner, Dom DeMarco) in their improbable Midwood location, but after all this time, they’re actually branching out to the food mecca of Williamsburg, as a vendor in an upcoming, 15,000-square foot food hall.

Basta Pasta: Taking on Mark Ladner’s Pasta Flyer, ESquared has debuted its own easily franchisable, fast-casual noodle counter, The Sosta.  Made fresh daily, the stable of pasta includes everything from a simple spaghetti pomodoro with tomato, garlic and basil, to the more complex paccheri bolognese with beef, pancetta, carrot and thyme, served in an on-trend, baby pink space that should act like a beacon for instagrammers.

Tavern to Go: Though Central Park’s iconic Tavern on the Green is hardly known for casual, affordable dining, a summertime to-go window provides a legitimately compelling option for fanny pack-toting tourists (or even sun-worshiping locals), seeking an impromptu picnic on the city’s most expansive lawn.  Raw bar items like oysters and poke are available now through Labor Day, as are swirls of birthday cake soft serve deposited in waffle cones for dessert.

Twice the Thai: In other hot takeout news, Michelin-rated Uncle Boons is spawning a to-go spot at the site of sister resto, Mr. Donohue.  According to owners Matt Danzer and Ann Redding, the tiny meat & three proved unsustainable, which is why they’re doubling down on the terrific Thai fare (think whiskey-glazed pig’s ears, rotisserie chicken over mango salad and crab fried rice) which proved so perennially popular at Uncle Boons instead.


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