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Borough Bouncers: 19 Restaurants That Have Crossed the East River



The Williamsburg pizzeria that expanded to the East Village in 2009 only to close its Brooklyn location last year is coming back to Williamsburg. According to The Times, Motorino will open at 139 Broadway, near Bedford Avenue, in January.

It’s not the first case of borough bouncing we’ve seen in recent days: last week DNAinfo reported that East Village taqueria Dos Toros plans to open in Williamsburg, and today an owner of Lobster Joint, a Greenpoint seafood shack, tells The Local that it will open its outpost at 201 East Houston Street in November or December.

Bobby Levitt said that on Monday, Community Board 3’s liquor licensing committee voted to support a liquor license at the location near Ludlow Street. The satellite will replicate the menu and look of the original, and Mr. Levitt expects it to attract a similar demographic: “We get hipsters and families with kids – all ages,” he said.

So why are restaurants that open in the East Village-Lower East Side increasingly eager to expand into the Williamsburg-Greenpoint-Bushwick area, and vice versa? Mathieu Palombino, the owner of Motorino, told The Local, “Williamsburg is to Brooklyn what the East Village is to Manhattan. What works there will work here. It’s a natural expansion from one direction or the other.” (Of course, it doesn’t always work out, hence yesterday’s story about Mama’s.)

In case you’ve lost track, here’s The Local’s rundown of restaurants with locations on either side of the bridge. Read more…

Five Ways Nicoletta Can Respond to Those Not-So-Hot Reviews

photo(304)Melvin Felix Nicoletta got handed lemons and is
making lemonade.

Michael White has yet to respond to the harsh reviews of Nicoletta that have been the talk of the food world (and the cat world) for the past 24 hours. The star chef was unavailable for comment when we tried him yesterday, though he has now retweeted a few messages from supporters, including this one: “@pete_wells A bitter note seeped into your review. Ambitious owners? Long lines? Well-designed tables? Thick crust? Fine by me.”  

It remains to be seen what, if anything, Mr. White will say for himself. But looking at how East Village restaurateurs have responded to criticism in the past, it’s clear he has some options.

1. Respond in the comments
In March, Tompkins Square Bagels owner Christopher Pugliese replied to a none-too-positive assessment of his “bagel burger” special by saying the joke was on the reviewer, Josh Ozersky: “I probably put more thought into what color chalk to use on the special board than to that burger,” he wrote in the comments. During the ensuing exchange with Mr. Ozersky, the bagelsmith conceded, “I should not have responded so strongly because this fellow Josh was just doing his job,” going on to explain, “I am very passionate about my bagels. To call them light, airy confections and poke fun at my clientele, got me riled up.” Read more…

Keith Masco Will Try Again at C.B. 3

BAD_BURGER_NF023Noah Fecks B.A.D. Burger

Keith Masco, the owner of B.A.D. Burger and once an outspoken critic of Community Board 3, will try to get approval for a beer and wine license at his restaurant at next month’s meetings. Mr. Masco’s reappearance before the board comes over a year after he tried to obtain a liquor license for a seafood restaurant and fishmonger at the same location. The board’s denial of his efforts resulted in Mr. Masco colorfully writing to EV Grieve, “I see no reason to bow to the communists at the community board.”

Other burger joints are on the just-released agenda, as well. BareBurger, which has been under construction for several months on Second Avenue will also push for a beer-wine license. Lastly, Five Napkin Burger on 14th Street will seek approval for a sidewalk cafe. The yet-to-open chain joint was previously a bodega.

And there’s one more location with a rocky history with the community board. Goat Town will ask the board for approval of an upgrade to its space on Fifth Street. The previous restaurant there, Butcher Bay, sued the board for denying an upgrade to its liquor license.

Lastly, new owners are apparently getting involved in the nightclub La Vie under undesirable circumstances: there was a knife-fight there on Thanksgiving.