Bei Jing Hits East 14th Street

photo(97)Daniel Maurer

Here’s something we noticed last week and are just getting around to posting: a new Chinese takeout joint is opening on 14th Street.

Bei Jing is currently under construction at 223A East 14th Street, between Second and Third Avenues. Surely the future tenants of The Jefferson, going in across the street, will appreciate the $6.29 lunch special.

Correction, April 16, 2013: This post has been revised to correct an error. The original version mistakenly reprinted a menu that did not belong to the restaurant, and referred to menu items in the text. The restaurant has now opened and you can see the correct menu here

Verizon On the Horizon? Praying For a Miracle On Seventh

pixHeather Dubin

Paging the owner of this Nissan Altima on East Seventh Street, near Avenue C.

Last week, Verizon posted “no parking” signs on the block, where installation of fiber optics for FiOS service continues this week.

Most vehicles complied with the request, except for this car with dents on its roof, plastic covering the rear window, and multiple parking tickets stuffed under its windshield wiper, dating back to Feb. 7.

Someone in the neighborhood has clearly had enough. “Dear Lord,” reads a message on the car’s window. “In case you didn’t receive the last message, we are still waiting for a miracle here on E. 7th St. (telephone and internet service after “Sandy,” preceded by removal of this abandoned car.)”

You Bring the LPs, Brindle Room Will Bring the PBRs

tumblr_mj5s2bglDI1rzeghuo1_500Jeremy Spector

So will DP Pizza return to Rockaway along with Caracas? Jeremy Spector, who also owns Brindle Room on East 10th Street, isn’t sure yet. “I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go back without the hurricane, just because it wasn’t completely my vibe,” he said. “That being said, it’s cool out there and all that.”

While he decides, the chef is focusing on a new night at Brindle Room, and it’s one you can get behind if you’re the type that frequents Academy Records. On Mondays from 9 p.m. to midnight you can bring your own vinyl and spin it on the house record player.

(Bring your own vinyl, build your own sushi — what’ll they think of next?)

This wasn’t the chef’s idea. “One of my waitstaff came up with the idea – one of the cool kids, not me,” he laughed. “I’m like the most uncool person ever. I don’t have a vinyl collection.”

Still, Mr. Spector bought a turntable at Best Buy and made a rare trek to a record store and you can now chose between James Brown, Dr. John, the “Shaft” soundtrack, Traffic, and others, or bring in your own wax (last week, customers contributed some Rolling Stones and punk). $15 gets you unlimited PBR and free hors d’oeuvres such as pizza slices or the Laos-style pork-sausage sliders that came out of the kitchen the other night.

Just don’t hog the turntable (30 minutes is just about the limit), and don’t drink too much of that bottomless beer or the record won’t be the only thing spinning.

Caracas Is Headed Back to the Beach

It’s a shore thing: Caracas Arepa Bar will return to the Rockaways this summer, as will its partners in the Rockaway Beach Club.

According to Maribel Araujo, owner of the Venezuelan spot on East Seventh Street, its oceanfront outpost took a $70,000 hit when Hurricane Sandy sent waves cascading into the concrete bunker at Beach 106th Street, destroying equipment and uprooting the boardwalk around it. But the Parks Department is currently making repairs and aims to hand over the keys on Memorial Day weekend. After that, said Ms. Araujo, she’ll sell beer and water during the two or three weeks it will take to get fully operational again.

Rippers, Rockaway Taco, and Motorboat and the Big Banana will also return to their respective stands this summer along with 20 mobile food vendors, said Ms. Araujo. Read more…

Relish This: Papaya King Hitting St. Marks Place


Hot dogPapaya King, the Upper East Side institution, is set to open on St. Marks Place.

And the mystery of the big box is solved: the storefront at 3 St. Marks Place will be the 80-year-old hotdog shop’s second Manhattan location, not including the 14th Street outpost that closed in 2009.

Workers said they had been building out the space between Second and Third Avenues for about two weeks but didn’t know when it would be completed.

The question now becomes: will Anthony Bourdain, a fan of both Japadog and Papaya King, opt for one, the other, or both?

East 12th Osteria: How It’s Looking, What It’s Cooking

Kelsey Kudak

“I think this is exactly what the East Village deserves,” said Roberto Deiaco, who opened East 12th Osterial last week. “There are all these beautiful people here, and they can be in a beautiful rustic, Italian-inspired place and eat the best quality food and wines.”

The former executive chef of Armani Ristoranate — a native of the Dolomites region of Italy who has spent the last 17 years in New York — designed that beautiful space himself, combining warm oranges with the building’s original tin ceiling and exposed brick. He added windows that will open onto outdoor seating in the summer, and imported Italian marble for the restaurant’s bar.

The food, of course, also reflects Mr. Deiaco’s heritage. He imports almost all of his ingredients — everything from unbleached flours to seafood — directly from the Mediterranean, he said.
See the menu…

Making It | Mike Davis of Academy Records

For every East Village business that’s opening or closing, dozens are quietly making it. Here’s one of them: Academy Records.

mike davis03Mel Bailey

The Village has lost a parade of record shops recently: Rockit Scientist, Norman’s Sound & Vision, Gimme Gimme, Tropicalia in Furs, and Big City have all shuttered in the past year, and the future of Bleecker Bob’s hangs in the balance. Today DNA Info reports the Greenwich Village mainstay may end up sharing space with a fro-yo store. But none of that gives Mike Davis, owner of Academy Records at 415 East 12th Street, the blues. He points out that record stores are still opening, though mainly in Brooklyn. “There are so many articles about the struggle of record stores,” he told The Local. “Honestly, I think it’s exaggerated. Records are still a thing; business is good.” In fact, Mr. Davis said that selling vinyl is the easy part. “My main worry is getting good record collections,” he said.

We needled him for information about how, exactly, he has managed to stay open since 2001 without gathering dust.


What’s your biggest challenge as a record store owner?


The main challenge is to constantly revise your approach and business model.  A lot of stores I’ve seen just stock the same records at the same prices year after year and don’t realize that their customer base is changing and evolving. The truths of the business change over time and you have to change with them. Read more…

You Know Who Doesn’t Mind Horse Meat? This Guy Right Here

Frank’s sidekick, Camilo.

So, horse meat sure has been in the news lately. Today, Grub Street posted a list of places where you can go tie on the proverbial feedbag, if curiosity has gotten the better of you.

None of them are anywhere near the East Village, but the neighborhood has at least one fan of cavallo, as it’s called in Italy: Frank Prisinzano, the man behind Frank, Lil’ Frankies, Supper, Sauce, and East Village Radio.

During a recent episode of his excellent Web show, Sauce’d, he visited the famous Bottega del Vino in Verona. If you want to get right to the action, skip to 3:25 where he pairs a “screamin'” wine with raw horse meat. “Do you have the coglioni to eat this?” he asks as he plops some onto his plate. “I did this on Twitter and I think I lost 50 followers as soon as I put it up.” Read more…

Anti-7-Eleven Group Calls For More Control Over Chain Stores

UntitledSuzanne Rozdeba At Tompkins Square Bagels

While U.S. senators debated the use of drones last night, members of the 11th Street A-B-C Block Association called for more oversight on that truly pernicious foe: 7-Elevens.

The group wants to make it harder for large franchises and chain stores to open shop in the East Village without prior community approval. Last night, it asked for the endorsement of Community Board 3’s Economic Development committee and was rebuffed — for now.

The request came as concern about the impending arrival of a 7-Eleven on the corner of East 11th Street and Avenue A (the chain’s fifth location in the neighborhood) hit an all-time high.

“Our concern is actually not just what’s happening on Avenue A,” said community activist and blogger Rob Hollander, who spoke for the block association and its offshoot, No 7-Eleven. “Our concern is five years from now, ten years from now, when there are nothing but corporate stores.”
Read more…

Mug Shot! Japadog Now Serving Beer

beerhereDaniel Maurer

The wind may have knocked out a door at The Bean, but Japadog’s inflatable beer mug is still holding on. Wait a minute: inflatable beer mug? That’s right! The Japanese hot-dog spot, which just added outdoor seats and celebrated its first anniversary (yep, there’s a lot going on at 30 St. Marks Place) just started serving beer. Pitchers are $13.27 and cups are $3.67. We’re talking Sapporo and Asahi here.

Add this to yesterday’s slew of Japanese restaurant news.

Military-Minded Brooklyn Clothier Storms East Village

cadetev5 Owner Brad Schmitt shows The Local his tuxedo stripe shorts.

A new store selling military-inspired clothing has marched onto East Ninth Street.

Cadet carries a line of menswear that’s hand-crafted by the owners along with four sewers in a Bushwick, Brooklyn factory. The brand launched with a Williamsburg store in April of last year and expanded into Manhattan last weekend.

“Our collection or sort of aesthetic is based on a post-war military academy styling,” said Brad Schmitt, 39. “It’s a modern twist on military academy, but we try to feed some basics, so slim cuts mixed with some fashion-forward elements.”

Mr. Schmitt runs the company with his life partner Raul Arevalo, a graduate of F.I.T. who has been in the fashion industry for over 17 years. The duo scouted Nolita a bit but eventually settled in the East Village, where they’re in familiar company: Meg, another locally-made clothing boutique, shares an entrance with Cadet’s Williamsburg store and has another location across from the East Ninth Street store. “We’re friends,” said Mr. Schmitt of proprietor Meg Kinney. “We talk all the time. She lives in Williamsburg, we live in Williamsburg, and she actually vetted this street for us.” Read more…

Here’s What to Feast On at Feast, Opening Tonight

A couple of weeks ago we took you inside Feast, a new restaurant from former Veritas chef Chris Meenan and Savoy Bakery owner Brian Ghaw. You know, the place with stuffed bobcat pouncing on a vintage typewriter. With the restaurant opening in less than an hour, it’s time to look at the menu.

One thing has changed since we spoke to co-owner George Chiang: the three feasts are now down to two. Other than that, check out the menu below. In addition, there are “handmade” sodas (lime basil, orange fennel, elderflower lemon, etc.) as well as sodas “by the man.” Presumably none of them are available in 44-ounce sizes. Plus, root beer (and regular beer!) on tap. Read more…

Rizzo’s Fine Pizza Bringing a Slice of Queens to LES

DSC00283Kavitha Team Rizzo’s

An Astoria favorite is aiming to expand into the space that held Frankies 17 and later Francesca’s. The Local spotted the owners of Rizzo’s Fine Pizza at 17 Clinton Street last night, drumming up signatures in support of a beer and wine license.

Rizzo’s is a popular family-run operation that specializes in thin-crust pies. The original location, opened in 1959, still stands at 30-13 Steinway Street and there’s an offshoot on the Upper East Side at 1426 Lexington Avenue.

When it opens in about two months, the 20-seat location will have a rustic vibe and be a bit more formal than the original. Read more…

Vintage Shop Closes With Blowout Sale

wgaca3 Inside What Goes Around Comes Around

Mel Bailey

Attention, fashionistas! What Goes Around Comes Around is closing its pop-up at 440 Lafayette Street and all merchandise is 70 percent off until March 9.

The store opened in September and was expected to close after three months (just like its previous Williamsburg pop-up), but customers have kept it running three months longer than expected, said Asher Fritz, an employee.

The brand claims to offer “the most sought-after vintage and antiques on earth,” and releases its own collections every fall, spring and summer.

Rest assured, its long-standing Soho location won’t be going anywhere soon. It’ll continue to stock newer and higher-end vintage quality items while merchandise from the pop-up — mostly past collections and surplus — will be sent to the brand’s warehouse in New Jersey.

Heart n’ Soul to Replace Mama’s Food Shop Next Week

UntitledDaniel Maurer

The mural that graced Mama’s Food Shop has been painted over and will be replaced when Heart n’ Soul opens on East Third Street next Thursday.

“We had mixed feelings about that,” said Richard Freedman, the landlord of Mama’s Food Shop who took over the space in July, to the chagrin of many East Villagers.

At the end of the day, the old artwork just didn’t click. “It’s a new place; it has a new identity,” he said.

That identity is “casual soul food with a chef,” said Mr. Freeman, and the chef is David Conn, who said his brand of “Southern coastal cuisine” aims to highlight the history of the Gullah population in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The slave descendents were the first creators of soul food, he said. Read more…

Holy Smokes! Lucky Cheng’s Space Getting BBQ Joint, Beer Garden, Honky Tonk Bar

Pride and Joy FB Pic 1(1)Courtesy Pride and Joy A 5,000-pound smoker is lowered into the space.

From tiki to honky tonk: the space that once housed Waikiki Wally’s, adjacent Lucky Cheng’s, will become a “rock-n’-roll honky tonk bar” when Pride and Joy BBQ opens in late April or May, according to an employee. And that’s not all: the barbecue joint also aims to have a rooftop beer garden.

After Lucky Cheng’s moved to midtown last year, its three-story home on First Avenue was snatched up by Myron Mixon, a highly decorated competition-barbecue champ and star of the show “BBQ Pitmasters.”

Last month, team Mixon crane-lifted a pair of 5,000-pound custom smokers into the barbecue joint’s “show kitchen,” in what will be the main-level dining room.

“They’re created to smoke 400 pounds of meat each,” said Executive Coordinator Gabriela Stanciu of the gigantic boxes.
Read more…

Bad Burger Closed By Health Department Despite ‘A’ Grade

UntitledDaniel Maurer

Bad Burger was closed by the health department late last night.

Unlike Maharlika and Yaffa Café, which were forced to shutter earlier this month and have since reopened, the restaurant did pretty well during its recent inspections. In fact, it scored an A just last month.

So what happened? “Pee Wee” Masco, an owner, told The Local, “It’s nothing in terms of the code or anything, or any conditions in the restaurant; it’s in regards to a past due balance that fell through a crack and we were unaware. We’ll be taking care of that this afternoon and the restaurant will be back open in a few hours.”

A sticker on the door cites the restaurant for “operating without a permit.”

Is Christmas Finally Over at Royal Bangladesh Indian Restaurant?


Royal Bangladesh Indian Restaurant will be closed until March 4, according to a sign posted on its shutter. Of course, the BYOB spot on First Avenue and East Sixth Street shares an address with two other Indian restaurants that have been battling for over 20 years. When The Local stopped by earlier today, the ground-floor space was stripped of its trademark Christmas lights and there wasn’t a sidewalk barker in sight.

An electrician confirmed that the restaurant is undergoing renovations. Maybe so it can better compete with the light shows upstairs? Heck, maybe it has finally caught on to the filament bulb trend…

You Won’t Be Seeing Cohen’s Fashion Optical On Second Avenue Anymore

UntitledDaniel Maurer

The imminent opening of Block Vision Care couldn’t be timelier: a couple of blocks up on Second Avenue, Cohen’s Fashion Optical has closed. An employee told us the shop moved to 106 East 23rd Street (between Park Avenue South and Lexington Avenue) about a week ago.

The “retro chic” outpost of the Cohen’s chain was across the way from Anthony Alden Opticians at 42 St. Marks Place, which also used to be a chain: it was an outpost of Myopics until it broke away and then changed its name in 2009. On its Website, Anthony Alden encourages customers to “shop locally” and notes that “glasses are easy to try on and doesn’t require removing your clothes!”

Breaking (Gluten-Free) Bread With Actress-Baker Jennifer Esposito

Jennifer Esposito BakingCourtesy Jennifer’s Way Jennifer Esposito baking.

Brooklyn-born actress Jennifer Esposito is no stranger to the East Village: the crime drama she starred in, “Blue Bloods,” has filmed in the neighborhood before. But she’ll become invested in a much bigger way when she opens Jennifer’s Way Bakery on East 10th Street this Friday. Ms. Esposito, who was diagnosed with celiac disease five years ago, plans to serve organic baked goods that are free of gluten, dairy, refined sugar, soy, and peanuts. Aside from offering gluten-free bagels on weekends, she’ll occasionally bring in a doctor to talk about celiac disease — “sort of like a support group for adults and kids,” said Ms. Esposito. “Because there are so many social elements that come along with this disease that having like-minded people come in and talk.”

We met Ms. Esposito at the bakery for a chat.


What made you choose the East Village to open Jennifer Way’s Bakery?


It seems to me the area is very health conscious. As you can see there are a lot of organic places around. I think being around like-minded individuals is important for this, so I thought this was a great area…it’s a great location. I have a lot of friends in the area, and a lot of friends who own restaurants in the area — and have been here for years. And my first apartment was over here on 11th Street, when I was 18 years old, so I really do like this area.  Read more…