Alicia Keys Takes Over Rayuela for a Couple of Afternoons
No way it’ll be quite as awesome as Justin Timberlake getting blasted out of Southern Hospitality in Pepsi’s Super Bowl ad, but we have intel that songstress Alicia Keys is shooting a commercial at Rayuela today and tomorrow. We’re not sure what the ad will be for, but chances are Rayuela’s dining-room olive tree will play into it. Between this and R.E.M.’s wine crawl, location scouts are all over the LES.
Related: Pepsi’s Super Bowl Ad Drags Justin Through NYC
R.E.M. Goes on Lower East Side Wine Crawl, Performs for Lucky Few
Ask a Waiter
Allison McDaniel Keeps Southern Hospitality Diners’ Hopes Up for Justin
Arkansas native Allison McDaniel felt right at home when she started work at Justin Timberlake’s buzzy barbecue joint Southern Hospitality. Not only did she join a wait staff of fellow southern belles, but she was right across the street from Brother Jimmy’s, where she waited tables for three years. “There was a vibe of rivalry when we first opened,” McDaniel tells us in her southern drawl, but these days her former co-workers at Jimmy’s happily spill in to gawk at celebrities like Tommy Lee. We asked McDaniel about serving the man himself, and how to thwart the haters.
The Other Critics
Monkey Bar Gets Hit; Three Stars for Café BouludPaul Adams liked some things about Monkey Bar, but it’s never a good sign if you hire a famous Chinese chef (Patricia Yeo) and the review includes the words “My neighborhood Chinese takeout does better dumplings.” [NYS]
Café Boulud, in an important rereview, gets three stars — enough to add momentum to Daniel Boulud’s empire building. [NYT]
Insieme looks dull, observes Lauren Collins in The New Yorker, but “profligate flavor and spirited service” show themselves once the food starts coming. [NYer]
Southern Hospitality Not So Hospitable on Opening NightIt looks like we were lucky to slip into Justin Timberlake’s Southern Hospitality ahead of the opening party, which Jada Yuan reveals was messier than a pulled-pork sandwich. The hickory-smoking heartthrob didn’t show up for three hours and then didn’t really go out of his way to play with the press. Was he in a hurry to throw down with NVIPs Al Sharpton and Lance Bass? Or was he worried Jada would quiz him on how to make “mom’s meatloaf”?
At JT’s Restaurant Opening, Long Waits, Bad PR, and a Gratuitous Insult to Our Intrepid Party Reporter [Daily Intel]
Earlier: More Top-Secret Timberlake: The Menu, the VIP Alley, the Back Room
Justin Timberlake Eats Barbecue, Just Like Us!
Catherine Zeta-Jones Waitressed at Fiamma; Great New Pizzeria DiscoveredIf Catherine Zeta-Jones had just stuck with it, she could have succeeded as a waitress, or even a line cook, at Fiamma. [NYP]
There’s a new top pizzeria in town, Isabella’s Oven on Grand Street — and it even has a garden. [Slice NY]
The copyright carousel goes round and round: First Daniel Boulud lays it on humble DB Bistro in Forest Hills, then gets laid into by CBGB. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
More Top-Secret Timberlake: The Menu, the VIP Alley, the Back RoomCrashers like Shaggy and Steve Sands — not to mention token entertainer the Singing Cowboy — may have thought the place to be last night was the opening party for Johnny Utah’s (where the bull overheated halfway through, kicking up a stench that caused us to wonder whether someone’s hair had caught on fire), but as we mentioned earlier, we were more excited about crashing a secret dinner at another barbecue spot, Justin Timberlake’s decidedly lower-key Southern Hospitality.
Justin Timberlake Eats Barbecue, Just Like Us!
Last night we sneaked into a friends and family dinner, ahead of today’s glitzy opening party, at Southern Hospitality, Justin Timberlake’s restaurant that we broke news of back when Sir James Famularo brokered the deal in April. We can confirm that the barbecue is at least good enough for JT, who, as our amateur paparazzi work shows, was tucked into a booth with his partner Eytan Sugarman, owner of Suede and Cherry Lounge. From behind our margarita glass, we couldn’t tell whether he was devouring the fried “pickle-sicles” or the haystack onion rings — a plate of fried onions piled higher than Marge Simpson’s hair. But we’ll post the menu and another exclusive interior shot later today so you can use your imagination.
Justin Timberlake to Bring BBQ Back (As If It Ever Left)
A couple of weeks ago we informed you that a mystery Grammy performer had just closed a deal to open a restaurant in the former home of Il Monello. Now we can tell you that man is none other than Justin Timberlake. According to the exclusive broker for both sides, James Famularo of NYCRS, the Tennessee boy plans to open what’s described as a laid-back, festive barbecue joint called Southern Hospitality. As with his first restaurant Destino, the shaved showman will partner with Eytan Sugarman, owner of bygone clubs Suede and producer Timbaland’s Harlem venture Cherry Lounge. Famularo says that Timberlake will have a larger stake in the new place: “I heard a lot of people with Tennessee accents,” he said of a recent drop-in. “Justin is bringing a lot of his group up to be a part of this.” If all goes as planned, the opening will coincide with the conclusion of the FutureSex/LoveSounds tour in late April. — Daniel Maurer
Earlier: Mystery Grammy Performer Set to Rock the Upper East Side
Mystery Grammy Performer Set to Rock the Upper East SideIt seems that Justin Timberlake’s restaurant Destino won’t be the only joint owned by one of last night’s Grammy performers. Broker James Famularo of New York Commercial Real Estate Services says he has inked a deal to bring one of the ceremony’s marquee names into a 3,000-square-foot Upper East Side space that will open as a loungy restaurant as early as mid-April. We’re thinking it’s the sole Upper East Side location advertised in the broker’s online listings, the former home of Il Monello. Famularo himself isn’t spilling specifics beyond saying a major interior designer is aboard and construction under way. NYC-rooted songsters besides Timberlake (a possibility) include Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jean, and (long shots) Danger Mouse of Gnarls Barkley and John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Or maybe the Dixie Chicks are partnering in Tim Love’s next one? —Daniel Maurer