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40/40 Club

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Joe the Plumber, John Legend, and Mario Batali

By Daniel Maurer

Provence Chef Pink-Slipped; Pichet Ong to Open Cupcake Shop

Chef Lynn McNeely has been handed a pink slip after mixed reviews at the new Provence; no word on who the next chef might be. [Eater] Related: Provence Redux [NYM] Pichet Ong is opening a cupcake store next to P*ONG. “Vanilla, chocolate, yuzu and cinnamon will be my staples,” he says. “I want to add a little salt & spice to my take on them.” [Restaurant Girl] A tale of two bakeries under Health Department scrutiny: one, Magnolia, plays nice; the other, Delices de Paris in Park Slope, kicks back. Guess which one ends up closing. [NYO]

Jock Bait Coming to Heart of Lower Eastpacking District

Rumors that Libation was going to become an outpost of 40/40 Club haven’t come to fruition, but now Natasha Navidad, a former manager-barkeep from Bull’s Head Tavern and the Black Bear Lodge is bringing 72 high-definition TVs to the space that was formerly Tenement— an ESPNcroachment the likes of which haven’t been seen since Bounce Deuce put its plasmas all up in the East Village’s face. The sports bar will be called the Blue Seats, after the seats in Madison Square Garden, but the food should be a step up from concession-stand grub: raw oysters and Philly-cheesesteak sliders for dinner (with a “twilight menu” served till 4 a.m.) and French toast for brunch. Have there been liquor-license delays? Yes, of course, but the place expects to open, serving blueberry mojitos, on July 30. The Blue Seats menu The Blue Seats, 157 Ludlow St., nr. Stanton St.; 212-614-1494.

Chodorow and Tom Valenti Team Up; Rum Renaissance

Jeffrey Chodorow is opening a restaurant with Tom Valenti right next to his new restaurant with Zak Pelaccio; also, a new Rickshaw will open in the Village. [Eater] Related: Chodorow and Pelaccio Planning a ‘Malaysian Coffeehouse’ [Grub Street] We’re in the middle of a rum renaissance, with “heavy, thick and funky” British varieties and “smooth and sugary” Spanish-Caribbean ones. [NYDN] Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club defends itself against charges of unfair labor practices: “Everyone makes the minimum wage at the club.” [NYDN]

Jay-Z Now Has 100 Problems; Beef Prices Through the Roof

Jay-Z now has 100 problems: He’s being sued by the staff of the 40/40 Club for withholding tips and paying less than the minimum wage. [NYP] Beef prices are getting higher, and the supply of the best stuff getting shorter. Guess what that means for your next steakhouse bill. [NYT] There is a slew of new restaurants opening in the Hamptons, although none are what you would call world-shaking. [Newsday]