Hallowed Slice Location Now in the Hands of Grom GelatoThis week we solved one of the great mysteries of Carmine Street — when will Beard Papa reopen? (This week!) Now it’s time to solve another: What’s going into the space on the corner of Bleecker that used to be the beloved Joe’s Pizza and then Abitino’s? Not another slice joint, it turns out. Nicolo de Rienzo, co-owner of Italian gelato chain Grom, tells us he just started construction on a new store that could open there by the end of April. Grom is also in talks to team with Eataly, the Italian supermarket that plans to install its first U.S. store in the Rock Center area at 18 West 48th Street. Cones of Bleecker, you’re on notice!
Cha Cha, Maker of World’s No. 1 Cannoli, in Juicing ShockerWe’ve been known to stop into Cha Cha’s In Bocca Al Lupo for a Leonardo DiCaprio Frozen Titanic in a souvenir glass, though we’ve never actually seen Leo as the Website says we might. We do often see proprietor Cha Cha — friend of the Sopranos, former promoter of Tony Danza’s boxing career, and the “Unofficial Mayor of Little Italy.” In addition to the “#1 cannoli in the world” (natch), Cha Cha peddles gutbusters like a Mt. Vesuvius Tort consisting of three layers of brownies, cheesecake, and chocolate mousse — which is why we were shocked to hear, on WOR’s Joey Reynolds Show, that Cha Cha has become a health nut and a juicing fanatic and takes most of his meals through a straw. Basta! This is way more disheartening than yesterday’s revelations that Clemens juiced — Cha Cha, say it ain’t so!
Cha Cha’s In Bocca Al Lupo [Official site]
Milk and Honey Owner to Do Beer and Wine — and Queens!Sasha Petraske, owner of Milk and Honey and Little Branch, not to mention one of the city’s most revered mixologists, plans on expanding his mini-empire. Shockingly — for those who aren’t aware that Petraske worked at Von before conquering the cocktail world — the new venture will be a wine-and-Belgian-beer bar; he’s calling it the Mighty Ocelot (“I really like cats,” he tells us). Petraske first applied for a beer-and-wine license at 226 Broome Street, around the corner from Milk and Honey, but the rent would’ve busted his “shoe-string budget.” So in January he’ll taking over the former Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar space in the East Village; come March, he’ll be offering cheese plates and light food. Not only this, but a project in Long Island City is also in the works. —Daniel Maurer