Park Avenue Winter Does Some Spring Cleaning, Lets Go of GMAfter hearing a rumor that GM Santiago Pasentez was dismissed from Park Avenue Café after he was accused of discriminating against South Asian waiters, we called the restaurant and were told that indeed he no longer works there. Owner Mike Stillman clarifies, “It was sort of a mutual thing — not a firing in any sort of way.” A new GM has yet to be hired to oversee Park Avenue Winter’s transformation into Park Avenue Spring, so dust off those résumés.
Earlier: Park Avenue Café Waiter Says He Was Discriminated Against for Not Drinking Wine
Park Avenue Café Waiter Says He Was Discriminated Against for NotA little over a week ago, we broke the news that Park Avenue Café (currently Park Avenue Winter) is being sued by employees who claim they were forced to participate in illegal tip-pooling and discriminated against because they were South Asian. The Sun now reports that a court has allowed former employee Mohammed Rahman to bring a suit on behalf of nonwhite employees at Park Avenue Café, but stopped short of allowing a class-action suit against parent chain Smith & Wollensky. One of the reasons Rahman claims he was given a hard time, and eventually fired, is that he didn’t drink alcohol and so couldn’t taste wine — which has to be the first time someone has been canned for not drinking on the job.
Related: Park Avenue Winter Experiences Legal Discontent
Park Avenue Winter Experiences Legal DiscontentUh-oh.The Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group is in legal trouble again, this time thanks to a lawsuit filed against Park Avenue Café. The class-action suit filed by two captains and a waiter claims the restaurant — currently known as Park Avenue Winter — violated wage laws by forcing them to pool their tips with non-tipped employees like dishwashers, expediters, and coffee makers. Attorney Maimon Kirschenbaum tells us that the plaintiffs are expected to be joined by others in the next few days and will soon bring a separate complaint accusing assistant manager Santiago Pasentez of discriminating against the restaurant’s Bengali and Bangladeshi employees.
Back of the House
Brits Get No Tips at the London?; Lower Eastpacking District OpeningFlo chart: Guy Martin snubs N.Y. for Boston, the scoop on Tía Pol’s new place, and more. [NYT]
Ramsay’s non-union Brits getting stripped of tips? [Eater]
Marco Moreira to open a Japanese-y restaurant in his old Tocqueville space. [NYS]
The shutter comes down on Park Ave. Cafe. [Crain’s]
The Beard House steps up its game for the celebrity-chef era. [WSJ]
A thirteen-pound sausage belonging to Batali goes missing. [LAT]
Mr. Chow celebrates his new flick with Sharon Stone and Sidney Poitier. [NYP]
Prepare for yet another food festival, this one care of Food Network. [NYP]
Another bar in the Lower Eastpacking District [NYP]
Wagyu import restrictions have eased; Cuozzo explores the “mouth-filling, artery-busting glory” of it all. [NYP]
Dos Caminos, numero tres. [NYP]
In the Magazine
This Week, Your Cup Runneth OverSay what you want about the Smith & Wollensky Group — that their restaurants (Smith & Wollensky, Quality Meats, the Post House, et al) are sometimes hard to tell apart, or that their steaks are less than life-changing. But no one claims that the company doesn’t deliver the goods when it comes to nicely priced wine. The $69 prix-fixe dinner at Cité, for example, comes with a bottomless glass of four different types. And this week, Rob and Robin tell us, all the Wollensky restaurants are offering $10 tastings of ten good wines at lunch. The selections change each day, so the committed oenophile can end up trying 50 different wines over the course of the week. [100 Bottles of Wine on the Wall]