Emily Launches Lunch; Easter Brunch at M. Wells Steakhouse

• To celebrate Easter, M.Wells Steakhouse is offering a traditional brunch on April 20, with reservations available online. The spring kitchen will provide take-home options that include rabbit royale and maple pie. [Grub Street]

Emily launched lunch service today, which means a slew of new menu items. [Grub Street]

Il Buco Alimentari has launched a Greenmarket prix fixe lunch menu that will change daily. For $35, you can eat green asparagus with fried egg, housemade pappardelle, and gelato. [Grub Street]

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Washington, D.C., Restaurant Says ‘at Least Half’ of Its Customers Use Phones at the Table

"The gentleman, throughout the entire meal did not acknowledge me," says a server at the Red Hen in Bloomingdale, of a customer who wouldn't look up from his screen. "And I'm like, I'm here for you, I want to talk to you, I want to engage. But you won't even look up at me. What are you doing? Why are you here?" Remember back in 2010, when our biggest concern was diners who stored their mobile phones on the table itself because it took away space for the servers to set down food? Things seem to have gotten worse. [All Tech Considered/NPR]

Watch a Ridiculous Commercial for Mister Donut’s Cronut Knockoffs

As "Crumbnuts" prepare to invade BJ's Wholesale Club shelves in the U.S., Osaka-based chain Mister Donut, which has more than 1,250 stores throughout Japan, has apparently finally figured out how to mass-produce their own version of Dominique Ansel's Cronut. Eataku notes that three flavors — including maple and "angel" whipped cream — are being sold through June 1, a longer offer period than the one Dunkin' Donuts Korea gave to its limited-edition "New York Pie Doughnuts" last year. This seems to be something of a sign that large chains will soon make fake Cronuts a permanent menu item.

"The newest craze from New York!" »

New York Now Has Glow-Stick Club Parties for 12-Year-Olds

But they're playing his favorite song.

It's the next logical step after baby DJ school, which actually happened in Brooklyn: CNNMoney reports that an enterprising outfit called Fuzipop is trying hard to make daytime dance parties for the under-12 set happen at exclusive New York nightclubs. Fake tattoos, "What Does the Fox Say" glow-stick raves, VIP tables with Champagne glasses and juice boxes, 9-year-old DJ Kai — surely this is actually just the first sign of the grand return of Bill Hader's Stefon?

Juice boxes! »

Boston’s O Ya Team Opening Roof at Park South

The rumor floated by Eater yesterday suggesting Boston restaurateurs Tim and Nancy Cushman are headed to New York for their next project is at least partly true: Food & Wine finds out the O Ya owners, along with barman Ted Kilpatrick, will indeed open a rooftop bar and restaurant atop Gramercy's Park South Hotel. The venue, called the Roof at Park South, will serve cocktails and "Mediterranean-inspired bar bites," such as crudos and grilled skewers, amidst of setting of palm trees and fireplaces. The Cushmans have not yet confirmed or denied they are also planning to open a branch of their acclaimed Japanese restaurant in the same hotel. [F&W, Related]

No Más: What It’s (Probably) Like Inside Taco Bell HQ Right Now

Is there trouble in Taco town?Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Time was, Taco Bell introduced a new product and the world went crazy. Then Taco Bell would go on to sell hundreds of millions of units. But this week, some other chains have stolen the Bell's social-media thunder (such as Domino's and its questionable new chicken hunk "pizza" and the return of the KFC Double Down). How could this happen? And what's Taco Bell going to do about it? Here now is a look at what is most likely happening inside the chain's Irvine, California, headquarters right this second.

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Watch a Trailer for the Upcoming Malört Documentary

Drinking Jeppson's Malört is one of those Chicago "things," a perverse tavern rite of passage compared — favorably — to "swallowing a burnt condom full of gas." This Story Will Never End, a new documentary by Fire Engine Red Films, a Windy City studio specializing in Chicagoana, explores the city and horrendous wormwood liquor's 80-plus years together. At the very least, it'll likely be more fact-based than last year's short film positing that a subterranean, trash-filled kingdom was secretly responsible for the liquor.

"There's so much more to it than just a bitter shot." »

Seamless Will Make It Harder for Restaurants to Steal Delivery Workers’ Tips

Good news for the city's hardworking deliverypeople: While it took some arm-twisting by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office, Seamless has agreed to exclude tips from the bill total when figuring its commission, which typically averages 10 to 15 percent. Up until now, the GrubHub-Seamless share has come off every cent on the check — food, sales tax, any fees, tips — which Schneiderman said is a billing formula that encourages restaurants to "cheat workers out of their hard-earned tips," similar to the tip-skimming controversy that made headlines last year at the Upper West Side's Indus Valley.

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What to Eat at Tavern on the Green, Finally Opening Next Week

Faroe Island salmon with sautéed greens, cumin-roasted carrot puree, and horseradish crème fraiche.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev

Last week, chef Katy Sparks told Grub that she wanted to serve "accessible food — the kind you want to eat regularly" at the reboot of Tavern on the Green, which opens to the public on April 24. The menu relies heavily on high-quality ingredients sourced from local purveyors, like La Quercia speck and Finnish Ruis bread. Take a look at a few of the dishes, straight ahead.

Ice-box cake. »

Mission Chinese Food Pops Up Tonight in Brooklyn at Frankies 457

The salt-cod fried rice is back, for a night.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev

Danny Bowien's world has recently seeming been all about Mission Cantinadouble-decker tacos and all — but now some great news has arrived that the chef's shuttered Mission Chinese Food will return from 5-11 p.m. tonight, for one night only at Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli's Frankies 457. The menu includes the restaurant's salt-cod fried rice, kung pao pastrami, and mapo tofu, and more, such as Benton's bacon-and-rice cakes. It's most likely going to be a mob scene, but those missing the old Mission Chinese should give it a try: In other news, Bowien has now confirmed his former LES restaurant, which closed at 154 Orchard Street last fall after nearby construction sent mice teeming into the restaurant's basement, will not reopen in the same address. [James Daniel Bowien/Twitter, Related]

KFC’s Double Down Returns April 21

But did it ever really leave?

Kentucky Fried Chicken is bringing back its sensational bun-less wonder, a.k.a. the Double Down, a.k.a. the OG fast-food mashup-scourge that deploys two planks of fried chicken in place of the bleach-white bread that might otherwise sandwich its bacon, Monterey and Pepper Jack cheeses, and special-glow sauce. As a bonus, maybe, the relaunch will be accompanied by something called the "Double Down Dare," perhaps because peer-pressure-based eating stunts are now essential to compete in an age when a new chain restaurant mashup food launches every 15 minutes. [Gothamist]

Wahlburgers Expanding to Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto

Team Wahlburgers has announced its first Canadian location will open this summer at 46 Blue Jay Way, just down the street from the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Last year, you may remember, illustrious brothers Mark, Donnie, and Paul Wahlberg promised the city its own Wahlburgers, their restaurant chain-in-the-making that serves a blue-collar menu of beef hot dogs, frappés, tots, and burgers. (The restaurant helpfully has its own network television reality show to help spread its true-grit origin story.)

Feel it, feel it. »

Memorial for d.b.a. Co-founder Dennis Zentek Today

Zentek, who opened the East Village beer bar with Ray Deter in 1994, died last month after a fall. D.b.a. will open today, as usual, at 1 p.m., with the memorial service beginning at 4 p.m. at the nearby New York City Marble Cemetery. A New Orleans-style second-line parade will follow, as well as a celebration of Zentek's life back at the bar. EV Grieve has the full details. [EV Grieve, Related]

Spread It: 13 New York Restaurants That Take Butter Very Seriously

The uni-butter toast at Navy is rich and lovely.Photo: Nicole Franzen

The best breaking food news in the last few weeks is that butter is back, and better for you than ever (or something — we're not totally convinced it's health food, only that it's delicious). It's great timing: There are plenty of New York restaurants making saturated fat worth your while, offering next-level butter made with bonito flakes, roe, lavender, seaweed, and, of course, uni. To celebrate butter's big comeback, Grub rounded up 13 rich, excellent butters around town.

Off-menu bone-marrow butter is a real thing. »

The Other Critics: Pete Wells Tries Peter Chang’s Virginia Restaurants; Ryan Sutton Writes a Love Letter to Roberta’s

Roberta's: much more than just pizza.

This week, while Adam Platt wrote about why much in Chinatown is underwhelming, the other critics spread out across the city and beyond: Ryan Sutton sang high praises of Roberta's, Pete Wells took a road trip to Peter Chang's places in Virginia, and Michael Kaminer greatly enjoyed Bunna Cafe. All that and more, straight ahead.

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First Look at Huertas, a New Spanish Restaurant Run by Union Square Hospitality Alums

"Huevos Rotos": potato strands, chorizo vinaigrette, egg.Photo: Liz Clayman

A Basque-inspired restaurant in the East Village has brought together a talented team of young up-and-comers: executive chef Jonah Miller, who just spent three years cooking at Maialino; Nate Adler, former Blue Smoke beverage director, and Luke Momo, mostly recently of Sirio Ristorante. By offering two distinctly different dining experiences within one restaurant (and no à la carte menu), these three aren't afraid to take chances.

Churros, straight ahead. »

04/15/14

Double Happy Hour at the Writing Room; Taste of the Lower East Side Tickets

• On April 24, restaurants like Beauty & Essex, L'Apicio, and wd~50 will join forces for the annual Taste of the Lower East Side. General admission tickets cost $195, and a VIP tasting preview costs $300. [Grub Street]

• Shake Shack announced today that it's opening its first location in Baltimore. [Baltimore Sun]

The Writing Room now offers a double happy hour, with 20 percent off everything daily from 4 to 6 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. The same offer extends to diners visiting after 10 p.m. [Grub Street]

Blue Hill bartender Weisi Li has created a series of farm-to-table cocktails to celebrate the upcoming Earth Day. His off-menu concoctions include the Spring Suite (vodka, pea puree, Meyer lemon marmalade, lemon juice, and mint) and the Freshly Pick(l)ed (vodka, green garlic juice, and beet juice). [Grub Street]

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Donatella Replacement Heartwood Opens Next Week

Donatella's signature gold oven is now red.

Restaurateur Nick Mautone, former Daniel baker Mark Fiorentino, and chef Bradford Thompson tell the New York Times not to expect red sauce or mozzarella cheese on the pizzas served at Heartwood, which opens Monday in the former Donatella space in Chelsea. What's more is that the flashy gold oven in the center of the open kitchen is now red, and the partners say the menu will more often be "more American than Italian." Mautone told Grub last month that he planned to serve a selection of whole-roasted meats, as well as seasonal vegetables and breads. [NYT, Related]

Hawaii Legislators Learn Their Charity Bake Sale Runs Afoul of Health Department Rules

Lawmakers from the state House have been plastering elevator walls with flyers offering food for sale — everything from $8 Filipino plate lunches to root beer floats to brownies à la mode — as part of a traditional weeklong sale that doubles as a benefit for the Hawaii Food Bank fund-raiser. But the health department is now warning the group that they may become sick, or sicken their constituents, if they consume food that wasn't prepared in inspected kitchens. Worse still, legislators selling food without permits can be hit with fines of $1,000 per day, but that's obviously not going to happen. "We will send a courtesy letter to the Senate president and the speaker of the House, just to let them know that all the lawmakers are affected by this law also," a DOH official tells KITV News. [KITV]

‘Ultra Low Fat Gourmet Doughnut Shop’ Opening in the West Village

The upstart.

No doubt in response to the collective full-fat awesomeness represented by America's greatest doughnut shops, a decade-old online company called Holey Donuts! will open its first brick-and-mortar store on May 4 at 101 Seventh Avenue South. Owner Frank Dilullo refuses talk about his patented 22-step process in detail, except to say that his 26 doughnut varieties, which contain a mere 3 to 5 grams of fat each and will retail for $3.85 a pop, will be kept in "four special chambers" maintained at 105 degrees and 95 percent humidity. In other words, part of the secret recipe is hot air. Future locations are already in the works. [Official Site, Related]

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