UWS SHAKE SHACK
The Shake Shack, the Madison Square Park institution serving up hamburgers, hot dogs, and ice cream drinks that have diners braving long lines, is opening a new location on the Upper West Side, the restaurateur Danny Meyer confirmed yesterday. Slated to be serving up treats before the end of the year, the new shop will be situated at 366 Columbus Avenue at 77th Street — supplanting the now-shuttered restaurant Jacques-Imo NYC. "We fell in love with this location which is across the street from the American Museum of Natural History, close to Central Park, and adjacent to one of the greatest family neighborhoods in all of Manhattan," Mr. Meyer said in a statement. "It's going to be a lot of fun to introduce Shake Shack to this community."
BETTER THAN A CAKEWALK
On Friday, Patrick Watson and Michele Pravda, the people behind the wine store Smith & Vine, and the cheese shop Stinky Brooklyn, are opening a 50-seat bar and café. The Jake Walk (282 Smith St. at Sackett Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, 347-599-0294), named for a Prohibition-era illness caused by drinking bad alcohol, will feature traditional cocktails, more than 50 wines by the glass, and 120-plus whiskeys. A variety of cheeses will be on hand, too, as well as American caviar, fondue, and cured meats, including jamon Iberico.
Joining Mr. Watson and Ms. Pravda as a partner is Smith & Vine manager Ari Form, who spent four years with Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group and is in charge of the Jake Walk's spirits program. Smith & Vine manager Matt DeVriendt is also a partner in the new venture.
UP THE LINE
Michael Vernon has left his post as executive chef at Geisha (33 E. 61st St., between Park and Madison avenues, 212-813-1113). Richard Lee, who has been cooking at Geisha since September 2003, replaces him. New menu items planned for the spring include a Kumamoto oyster shot with honeydew water, melon relish, and freshly grated wasabi, as well as pan-roasted filet of striped bass with sunchokes and osetra caviar butter. Mr. Lee is also planning a boneless rack of lamb with ginger-braised red cabbage and fingerling potatoes.
Kerin Doran, who has worked in management at Café Gray and Grayz, is now the general manager of chef Sam DeMarco's Fireside Cocktail Cuisine (19 E. 52nd St. at Madison Avenue, 212-753-5800).
Cercle Rouge chef Pierre Landet is now also executive chef at sister restaurant Jules Bistro (65 St. Marks Place, between First and Second avenues, 212-477-5560). He is in the process of reworking the menu.
SOUTH ASIAN SENSATION
Elettaria (33 W. 8th St. at Macdougal Street, 212-677-3833), a partnership between former E.U. executive chef Akhtar Nawab and former Dani operating partner Noel Cruz, is open and serving Indian fusion fare.
Upper West Side institution Cafe La Fortuna (69 W. 71st St., between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue) has closed its doors after 32 years. The closing comes shortly after the death of owner Vincent Urwand's wife, Alice, whom he refers to in his goodbye message as "the heart and soul of Cafe La Fortuna."
"Times have changed … business has slowed, rents have risen, and life moves on," the message states.
The Subway restaurant at 28 Water St. (between Broad Street and Coenties Slip East, 212-269-0390) is slated to be certified Glatt kosher by the Orthodox Union today. The Union's rabbinic coordinator, Rabbi Leonard Steinberg, was in charge of the process. Pork products are no longer available at the location, which now uses nondairy soy cheese, as the combination of dairy and meat products is forbidden, according to Jewish dietary law.
COFFEE IN MY CHOCOLATE
Starbucks has launched a retail line of chocolates flavored with the chain's coffee, tea, and other products. Bars come in dark, mocha, and milk chocolate flavors. Tasting squares are available in those flavors as well as Tazo Chai, "passion," and citron tea. The truffles come in mocha, chai, espresso, and vanilla bean flavors. The chocolates are being sold at mass retailers, grocery, and drugstores for $2.99, but not at Starbucks coffeehouses.
Mr. Thorn is food editor of Nation's Restaurant News. He maintains nrnfoodwriter.blogspot.com.