Wendy’s Decides It’s Time to Get Out of Russia

Cold War season for Frosties.Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Wendy's announced yesterday it will close the handful of locations it currently operates in Russia, less than a week after a watchdog group essentially declared war on McDonald's burgers and Filets-O-Fish and called for the fast-food company to shut down. Four Wendy's have already closed, and the remainder will follow in a matter of weeks. The company cites problems with its Russian franchisee Wenrus, which "has not expressed interest in growing Wendy's business in Russia, nor have they shown the resources to successfully operate the existing restaurants on a long-term basis," according to a spokesperson who adds that the decision "had nothing to do with politics." Wendy's came to Russia in 2010 with big plans to establish 180 locations; it ultimately opened eight. [Bloomberg, Related]

Dogfish Head Makes Chocolate-Lobster Beer — and It’s Really Good

Now just add some cocoa ...Photo: Keri Oberly/Aurora Open/Corbis

The thing about Choc Lobster beer is that it sounds like a joke. But in 2012, Dogfish Head has brewed this creation each summer with whole lobsters from Maine and a healthy dose of cocoa powder. According to the official description, basil tea is in the brew, too. It sounds ... strange. In truth, it is sort of strange, but Grub Street recently tried some, and it turns out it's not nearly as odd as the name, or ingredients, would make you think. In fact, it's really good.

Read more »

Pastis Will Likely Be Forced to Relocate

Keith McNally's French restaurant was originally slated to reopen in 2015.Photo: Shanna Ravindra

Industry types have been saying as much for months now, and today a representative of Keith McNally tells Fork in the Road that his famed brasserie Pastis won't likely reopen at its old Ninth Avenue address in 2015, as originally planned. "At the moment, it doesn't look like Pastis will go back into that building," a spokesperson for the restaurateur says.

Is Pastis headed downtown? »


Former Cooks Sue Barclays Center Over Alleged Discrimination and Racial Slurs

The Calvin Klein Courtside Club.

Five Barclays food-service workers have filed a lawsuit claiming that employees at the venue's restaurants inflicted discrimination, name-calling, and other abuse, including banishing them at posh venues like the Calvin Klein Courtside Club and the Jay Z-owned 40/40 Club "to ensure that they remain out of the sight of customers." Anthony Peterkin, a cook who's blind in one eye, says two managers gave him names like "Cyclops" and "one-eyed guy," while Erick Silverman, who has both cerebral palsy and a disorder called rhinophyma, claims in the $5 million suit that a manager mocked his hand tremors and insulted him in other, even more tasteless ways.

It gets worse. »

New ChickaLicious Location Will Serve As Prototype for Nationwide Expansion

Dough'Ssants for miles and miles.

Chika Tillman and Don Tillman say their forthcoming West Village ChikaLicious Dessert Club will open in the old Café Henri on October 1. It will be open seven days a week and have separate bakery sections and a sitdown bar, and the format will serve as the "prototype" for the "national rollout of ChikaLicious," says Don Tillman. With international stores already in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Jakarta, and Tokyo, Tillman says, "We started small, and now it is time to let it fly." The home of the Cronut-esque "Dough'Ssant" and Speculoos cinnamon-butter buns is also planning a Williamsburg location, set to open November 1, 2015, in an as-yet-unidentified boutique hotel. [Bedford + Bowery, Related]

Pi Bakerie Brings Astoria-Worthy Baklava and Spanakopita to Soho

The baklava and koulouri and pretty much everything else is "totally made by hand on premises."Photo: Rob Patronite

Brooklyn-born Regina Katopodis has been a co-owner of Astoria's excellent Artopolis Bakery for 11 years, but she's always wanted to return to Manhattan, where she ran several food stores during the '80s, to open a pastry shop. "It was my dream," she says. "I love the energy." Now, with the opening of Pi Bakerie, a lovely, lofty, sky-lit space that's part counter-service café, part production facility, her dream has come to fruition (hard by the circle of hell known as Holland Tunnel traffic though it may be). The Underground Gourmet, whose headquarters is within traffic-dodging distance of the place, is pretty happy about it too.

Bagel-like kouloúria with cream cheese and salmon ... »

Here’s the Handsome Cover for Lucky Peach’s ‘Seashore’ Issue

It's a real coast-to-coast thing.Photo: Lucky Peach

Following its "Street Food" and "All You Can Eat" theme issues, the food magazine next tackles "The Seashore" and follows Robert Sietsema out to Long Island, where he eats a mess of clams; Anthony Bourdain reminiscences about time on the beach; sea squirts make an appearance; and there are separate looks at California abalone and Indonesian farmed shrimp. There's also a 16-page detachable comic book that promises to make for some late summer beach reading. The new Lucky Peach is out August 19; check out all the details here. [Official site, Related]

McDonald’s Japan Unveils Tofu McNuggets

Fewer calories; also, 100 percent chicken-free.

Because of ongoing nastiness related to the expired meat scandal, McDonald's stores in Japan have mostly stopped serving chicken altogether, and to get customers through the doors, it's now offering four-piece packs of what it calls Tofu Shinjo Nuggets, vegetable-studded patties concocted from a mix of soybeans, onions, carrots, and shinjo, a sort of starch–fish paste concoction. The nuggets are produced in Japanese factories and come with a subtle ginger-flavored dipping sauce. "Because it isn't meat, it tastes a bit different. It's a bit softer," a spokesperson says. The Shinjo Nuggets were in the works, the company adds, long before allegations that a major fast-food supplier mixed expired meat with fresher meat, plus other unsavory things. This presumably just sped things up a bit. [WSJ, Related]

Berg’n Beer Hall Opens August 27

Asia Dog's crunchy-crispy fried-chicken sandwich.Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

After a few delays, the immense brick-walled space helmed by the Brooklyn Flea guys in a former Crown Heights garage will open on August 27. Mighty Quinn's, Pizza Moto Slice Shop, Asia Dog, and Ramen Burger make up the roster of food vendors and will serve everything from clams-casino pizza to ramen churros to kimchi macaroni and cheese. Berg'n is also home to a 40-foot antique bar that will dispense local brews as well as pints of Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, and there will be Dough doughnuts and Brooklyn-­roasted Parlor coffee in the mornings. [Related]


Culturefix Closes; Bistango Expands

Bodega Negra Café now hosts Taco Tuesdays: buy one set of tacos, get the second set free all day and night. [Grub Street]

Culturefix on the Lower East Side closed last night. [Bedford + Bowery]

Bistango will open at a third location on August 6 at the Kimberly Hotel, at 145 East 50th Street. [Grub Street]

Bacchanal will begin offering Sunday dinner service starting this weekend, August 3. [Grub Street]


Cheeburger Cheeburger Shutters Its Only Brooklyn Location

Cheeburger no more.

A note taped to the front window indicates it's curtains for the lone Brooklyn outpost of Florida-based chain Cheeburger Cheeburger, which opened at Seventh Avenue and Third Street in Park Slope in the pre-Fulton Mall Shake Shack days of 2011, when it was generally thought the borough's neighborhoods could sustain a burger chain on pretty much every corner. More Cheeburger Cheeburgers were promised but never arrived, and, meanwhile, the restaurant "never really developed a following among locals," Here's Park Slope notes. [HPS, Related]

Red Lobster Will Try to Get Fancier by Plating the Same Menu in New Ways

See this? This is what the tilapia with broccoli and rice pilaf looks like at the old Red Lobster, which is ceasing to be as we know it, now that the chain has officially changed hands. Get ready for tilapia plated "more like you'd see at a fine-dining restaurant."

See what they did there? »

Gordon Ramsay Forbids His Daughter to Swear on Her New Cooking Show

Tilly Ramsay.

Twelve-year-old Tilly Ramsay, the youngest of the Kitchen Nightmares chef's four progeny, will join the world of precocious grade-school chefs with a still-unnamed cooking show for CBBC. (That first C stands for Children's.) The newest Ramsay to wield a sauté pan is surely getting pointers from Dad, who seems to need a new hobby anyway, but one thing he absolutely won't teach her is how to craft perfect on-air profanities. He says, "I have told her that they are not clever words but sometimes they just slip out." Good news is the show isn't supposed to air for two more years, plenty of time for young Tilly to compile a master list of profanity-free ways to say "You f--king donkey." [Daily Mail UK]

The Cleveland’s Guest-Chef Dinners Only Cost $25

The chefs will join Max Sussman in the garden.

The Cleveland is making good use of its newly reopened garden by hosting a series of alfresco Sunday night guest-chef dinners. Each meal will cost just $25, which includes one plate of food and one beer or glass of wine — and the beer is a custom collaboration with Finback Brewery in Astoria. The roster includes Fritzl's Lunchbox's Dan Ross (August 3), Pok Pok's Alicia Parter (August 10), the Meat Hook's Brent Young (August 17), King Noodle's Nick Subic (August 24), and chef Max Sussman's brother, Eli, of Mile End (August 31). Even better: Tickets will be available at the door, as well as online, so you can be spontaneous.

This 71-Ingredient Cocktail Looks Fantastically Gross

But how does it taste?Photo: People Make Glasgow/Twitter

We're going to guess that the bright-pink drink you see in the coupe here, which is made with figs, eggplant, saffron, bitter cress, okra, potatoes, pumpkin seeds, coffee, sour cherries, lemongrass, and 61 other plant-world things, is probably the strongest-ever contender for a round of "Stump the Bartender." The Commonwealth Cocktail was designed to commemorate the XX Commonwealth Games, taking place right now in Glasgow, and its ingredient list encompasses just one thing carefully sourced from each of the 71 Commonwealth countries, meaning that it likely just edges out that eight-drink megacockatil at the NoMad in terms of labor-intensiveness. On the plus side, though, anyone who orders this monstrosity can claim they detect notes of wild Welsh cotoneaster or a slight Tongan avocado nose and be entirely correct.

Logan berry from Canada, star anise from Malta. »

Careless Johnny Rockets Employee Disses the Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, along with her entourage, was riding on the freeway that presumably goes by the Ontario side of Niagara Falls, when she asked the tour bus to pull over so she could get a Cherry Coke and a cheeseburger from Johnny Rockets. Apparently this is something the 72-year-old Queen of Soul does often, which is why she says she was all the more insulted when told she couldn't sit at a table to enjoy her meal because she hadn't been rung up as a dine-in customer, and was rudely instructed to wait "in the perimeter."

Uh-oh. »

Black Seed Rolls Out Breakfast Bagels

Oh, hello.Photo: Courtesy of Black Seed

A few exciting additions to Black Seed's menu that will surely help your hangover: Starting today, the bagel shop will sell sandwiches with a wood-fired baked egg (over medium), Cheddar, and Mile End bacon. Other new options include house-smoked turkey with honey mustard, pickled-belly-lox spread, and a tuna melt with Swiss cheese. Each is available on your choice of a bagel — check out the full menu here.

Some McDonald’s in China Now Only Sell Fries and Soda

No thank you.

Fast-food meat, like the kind that didn't go rotten a year ago, is a hot commodity at Chinese McDonald's right now, apparently enough that stores in Shanghai, Beijing, and at least four other cities have now resorted to serving entirely meatless menus consisting of just fries and drinks. "We are so sorry that we only have these choices for you," one Beijing location said in a posted message, while some others are burning through their Filet-o-Fish reserves until new supplies arrive from OSI Group, the Illinois-based owner of Husi Food Co. Ltd. that McDonald's has opted sworn to stand by while it finishes up overhaul its food-safety protocols.

Total recall. »

Picholine Closes for Repairs and Vacation


Terrance Brennan's fine-dining restaurant Picholine on the Upper West Side is closed until September 4, according to a sign posted in its front window. "Building repairs" and summer vacation are the reasons given for Picholine's most recent temporary shutter, echoing a similar turn of events in 2012, when Brennan took the opportunity to renovate the 20-year-old restaurant's dining room. A subsequent change in partners and a filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection delayed the opening at the time, but Picholine ultimately bounced back. The restaurant is already accepting OpenTable reservations for September this time out, so that's a good sign. [Eater, Related]


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