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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…

Making It | Zoe Hansen of Manitoba’s

For every East Village business that’s opening or closing, dozens are quietly — or not so quietly — making it. Here’s one of them: Manitoba’s.

Zoe Hansen of Manitoba'sShira Levine Zoe Hansen

Since shutting down her two brothels in 2002, Zoe Hansen has refocused her hustle, using her entrepreneurial skills to bring some semblance of order to the punk rock bar Manitoba’s on Avenue B. Her husband, Richard “Handsome Dick” Manitoba, may be the public face of the dive (he recently told The Local, “I’ve got to keep it going if just for one thing: I can’t let another Subway move in here”) but the husband and wife are very much a team. So much so that they’re shopping a reality show about their life in the East Village. We spoke with Ms. Hansen about sex, drugs, rock and roll, and… management?


You used to be a sex worker and ran a brothel. How did that prepare you for tending and running a bar?


I ran and owned a brothel on Park Avenue and 23rd Street and another on Second Avenue and 22nd Street. It’s all good material for me now that I am a writer. It’s just business, so it wasn’t any different. It was about being there all the time to make sure things are happening and flowing. It was really an office environment. We had to keep up, creatively, with advertising and marketing. Read more…

Is Jimmy Fallon Right? Does Manitoba’s Have the Best Jukebox in the City?

Handsome Dick Manitoba, the owner of Manitoba’s bar on Avenue B, appeared on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” last week to promote his Throbblehead doll, his upcoming reunion show with the Dictators, and his radio program. Mr. Fallon is a big fan of the jukebox at Manitoba’s, which he calls the “best in any bar in New York City.” A bold claim considering The Library, Double Down, Mona’s, Sophie’s, Doc Holliday’s, B-Side, International Bar, and Mars Bar all have fine jukes (to name just a few). What’s your favorite in the neighborhood?

Stocking Stuffer Alert: The Dick Manitoba Bobblehead

Local punk rocker and bar owner Dick Manitoba has truly entered the realm of the immortals: he now has his own bobblehead. “This figure, capturing Richard’s signature modern-day look is limited to 1000 numbered units,” according to a post on Mr. Manitoba’s Maniblog. “Don’t mess with Manitoba as he stands proudly representing the Lower East Side. He’s accurately sculpted right down to the weathered Dictators leather jacket and searing glare.” Mr. Manitoba was last heard from talking trash about his former bandmate in the Dictators, Andy Shernoff. Despite the drama, a Dictators reunion is still in the works, sans Mr. Shernoff.