New Chickpea Owners Plan to Open in Penn Station, on LESWe’ve learned that the Chickpea brand has been purchased, although its original owners are holding on to the Second Avenue location (hence the competition to rename their restaurant). Chickpea’s new operators, Ashish Kapoor and his partner Mike Himani, also own All About Food, Seattle Coffee Roasters, and Nan King, the Chinese-Thai chain that, incidentally, will open a new location on Broadway and 53rd Street in the next couple of weeks. Kapoor tells us he plans to open new Chickpeas with slightly trendier décor in Penn Station (within three months), on the corner of Houston and Allen (within a month), and in Journal Square. The chef will still be Alex Schindler, but the new stores will not be kosher. “We want to bring the food to a wider audience,” says Kapoor, and with the new location in the LIRR terminal, we have no doubt they will.
Name a Falafel Joint for $3,000Yesterday, another shawarma-and-falafel joint with a similar menu took the place of Chickpea on Third Avenue. Since the words “shawarma” and “falafel” are, after all, painted down the side of the building, the restaurant isn’t in a hurry to name itself, and, like Chickpea before it, it’s holding a contest that will award $3,000 ($500 more than Chickpea offered) to the person who comes up with something snappy. As you might guess from their URL, www.name-our-glatt-kosher.com, the place is under Orthodox Union supervision; it closes two hours before Shabbat on Friday and opens an hour after it ends on Saturday (lucky for anyone getting tanked on cheap drinks at Continental next door — it’s open until 4 a.m. on Thursday, 5 a.m. on Saturday, and 1 a.m. all other days). Anyone have signage suggestions other than the painfully obvious — a rabbi saying, “Not-So-Awful Falafels”?
Name Our Glatt Kosher, 23 Third Ave., nr. St. Marks Pl. (212-254-9500)
Related: Falafel Innovations Power Chickpea’s Expansion Plans
Falafel Innovations Power Chickpea’s Expansion Plans
Chickpea’s decision to give up frying their falafel filled us with sadness. Even if, as Eater suggested in their item on the subject, it was as a prelude to expansion, was this really the direction we wanted to see falafel go? The only good thing about these “nosh puppies,” for our money, was their oil-fried goodness. But Chickpea is expanding, executive chef Alex Schindler tells us, with locations planned for the Upper West Side, the meatpacking district, and Times Square, in the next year alone, and with the expansion must come plans to diversify and modernize the Chickpea trinity of falafel, hummus, and shawarma.
Chefs Descend on Madison Square Park in Flatiron Food FestEast Village: All falafel at Chickpea is now baked, not fried. Is this the first move toward franchise status? [Eater]
Financial District: Celebrate Bastille Day this Saturday at the Les Halles Waiter’s Race on John Street at 2 p.m. [Les Halles]
Flatiron: Madison Square Park Conservancy hosts its other annual food extravaganza next Tuesday with bites from the nabe’s chefs including Seamus Mullen, Patricia Yeo, Daniel Humm, and Floyd Cardoz, plus Brooklyn Brewery suds, wine and Champagne. [Madison Square Park]
Flushing: The celebrated Chinese “food court” at J&L Mall, has been closed, and Con Ed, not the Department of Health, is the culprit. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Park Slope: Newly opened American restaurant Sidecar is BYO for now. [NYS]
Prospect Heights: Seasoning does not a good cheesesteak make; High Stakes on Flatbush would do better to call its signature item a sandwich. [Daily Heights]
Upper East Side: Stefani Jackenthal hosts a tasting of Pinot varieties at the 92nd Street Y tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. [92nd Street Y]
Upper West Side: Lincoln Center’s Summer Benefit starts at 6:30 p.m. tonight, but by 9 p.m. you can start sampling from restaurants including Anthos, Chanterelle, and Yolato at Damrosch Park. [NYS]
The Other Critics
Nobody Truly Loves Varietal; Pera and Dennis Foy Only Marginally AppealingBruni one-stars two restaurants, damning both with the faintest of praise: “Pera is a restaurant good enough at what it does best to argue for at least a moment’s consideration,” he says, carefully calibrating the knocks everyone else has given the place. Dennis Foy is too,” he throws in. [NYT]
Meehan is downright enthusiastic in his praise for East Village mini-chain Chickpea, which he considers the epitome of cheap eats, if not the final word in falafel and shawarma. [NYT]
Alan Richman reviews a more or less random steakhouse, Harry’s in the financial district, and delivers the news that the sides are lame, the steaks are fair to good, and that the place isn’t especially pretty or pleasant. Who’d have thought? [Bloomberg]