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Stewart O'Nan Writes the Great American Red Lobster Novel

Red Lobster
Acclaimed writer Stewart O’Nan’s latest novel, Last Night at the Lobster, isn’t about a couple who hits the motel after one too many gargantuan Lobsteritas — instead it follows a hard-working general manager, Manny DeLeon, through his last night at a Red Lobster in New Briton, Connecticut, that has been closed by parent corporation Darden Restaurants. O’Nan got the idea after a Red Lobster near his home in Avon suffered a similar fate. “I knew how it fit into the community and started thinking about how every restaurant is a world onto itself,” he tells us. “I thought of that suddenly going away.” We asked him what he learned about the chain while doing research so obsessive that it involved poaching the Lob’s menus and coasters.

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Pete Wentz Wishes Everybody Were Gone So He Could Just Be Naked

Pete
Will Smith plays the last man on Earth in I Am Legend, and at the premiere at the Wamu Theater at Madison Square Garden, when we asked the predictable "what if it were you" question, there were lots of predictable answers — living in mansions, driving other people's sports cars, wearing diamonds, finding food, etc. But rocker Pete Wentz had a refreshing outlook on the whole scenario: "I'd probably just go everywhere naked," Wentz figures. "I like being alone a lot," the Fall Out Boy front man told us. "I turn off my phone. That's my best way to do it." Based on trailers of I Am Legend, however, Wentz questions the premise. "From the preview, it looks like he's got his dog in the movie. And that's not really like being alone. That's like … a dog buddy flick, you know." And Wentz never quite feels alone with his English bulldog, Hemingway, around. "He looks like an alien," Wentz says. "He looks like Stitch, and he behaves like Stitch, actually. Prime mission: to destroy everything I have in my house. He's like, is this an antique book? Delicious!" What a bummer. Now we can't name our dog Hemingway. —Bennett Marcus Hear more about I Am Legend from Will Smith, Alice Braga, and others at our complete coverage of last night's premiere.

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Rat-Infested Taco Bell to Become T-Mobile Store

Taco Bell
And here’s the Taco Bell on Sixth Avenue that spurred the Department of Health to strap on its boots and go to war. When we peeked in this morning, it looked rodent-free; according to construction workers, it will soon be a T-Mobile store. Meanwhile, down the block, the Beard Papa store, which was supposed to reopen in mid-October, is still closed for renovations. We have a call in to Papa himself to see what’s up, though his side project, Santa Claus, might be keeping him a little busy these days. Related: Beard Papa Returning Downtown, May Hit the Slope

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Artist Kehinde Wiley Will Keep You Dry at the Beach

If you joined the jet set down in Miami last week, you might have seen these towels floating around Art Basel (they were the official towels at Balazs's posh Raleigh Hotel, meaning guests likely scored on the stolen-amenities front), but if you, like us, were stuck here in the ambiguously seasonal weather, amid sinus-infected friends and co-workers, fear not: They're available online for a pretty reasonable $50.

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Bradley and Freitag Planning a ‘Lusty’ Menu for the Harrison; Hot Chestnut Pancakes in Midtown West

Astoria: Bar 36 at 36-05 30th Avenue hosts Martini Thursdays, where it’s "$2 off every martini on their menu (or create your own). Can’t beat the free snacks, too!" [Joey in Astoria] East Village: You’d be hard-pressed find a better, more satisfying "fantastic when it was hot but … made for a mean late night snack as well" deal than bär-bo-ne’s nightly five-course fresh pasta tasting menu. [Gluttoness] Flatiron: Eisenberg’s has been serving tater tots as latkes, but "the owner talked about getting in some big latkes soon. Let’s hope so … A place like Eisenberg’s deserves to have the best latkes." [Lost City] Midtown West: Norma’s has added new breakfast items to its menu, including hot chestnut pancakes and a chocolate waffle with peanut-butter-toffee-crunch filling, but don’t expect to get in and try them until the tourist exodus in January. [Eater] Tribeca: With chef Amanda Freitag at the helm, Jimmy Bradley plans to strive "for a bold, lusty, soulful menu at the Harrison." Saucy! [Restaurant Girl] Upper East Side: On weekdays through December, Zoë Townhouse at 135 East 62nd Street is offering a 15 percent discount off bottles of wine from noon to 7 p.m. [Grub Street] Williamsburg: From these pictures, the opening of the Peter Luger annex, which would significantly expand the restaurant, seems imminent. [Eater]

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Exclusive Comics Excerpt: ‘The Goon’

Today on the Comics Page, we're proud to present an excerpt from The Goon: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker, another gorgeously drawn volume in the continuing over-the-top noir by Eric Powell, on sale now from Dark Horse.

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Jenna Jameson Does Chinatown; Nobu's Fish Not That Exclusive

Jenna “ex-porn honey-turned-businesswoman” Jameson and Heatherette designer Richie Rich plan to open a nightclub/clothing shop in Chinatown next year called the General Store. [NYP] Part-owner of the Waverly Inn and Maritime Hotel Eric Goode enjoys retreating to small-town Ojai in California. [NYT] Nobu executive chef Mark Edwards reveals not only that the restaurant’s infamous black cod is actually sablefish (which is so not endangered), but also that he can’t stand the dish anymore after tasting it day after day. [Bloomberg]

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Brooke Astor's Dogs Were in Danger!

Boysie
Not only did Brooke Astor's son, Anthony Marshall, allegedly steal $132 million from his mom's estate, but he also wanted to kill her dogs. The latest issue of Vanity Fair chronicles Governor Spitzer's "troubling, tantrum-filled" first year in office. A week after her kidney infection, Mary-Kate Olsen is back to partying around town. Tony Bennett is giving a "special performance" on behalf of Hillary Clinton in New Jersey in December. Jenna Jameson and Richie Rich are opening a bar together in Chinatown. Chelsea Clinton ate at Veritas with a "very handsome, dark, Indian male companion." David Mamet is a fan of the New York Post.

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Shock: Ghostface Killah in eBay-Nonpayment Drama

Last month the Wu-Tang emcee announced intentions to sell a hat on eBay. When the bidding ended on November 4, the lucky winner of said hat — a fitted "Atlanta Backwoods" cap which, we'd like to remind you, has "been in front of Halle Berry" — agreed to deposit $355 in the PayPal account of Ghostface's intermediary seller. At least that was the plan.

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Red Mango to Open December 6 With a Veritable ‘Free-Fro-All’

Official word has come that Red Mango’s first NYC location at 182 Bleecker — long a source of fascination — will open at 4 p.m. on December 6 with “FREE FROZEN YOGURT, GIFT CARDS, GIFT BAGS, MUSIC PRIZES” (emphasis theirs). Obviously they’re trying to trump Yolato which promised free fro-yo at their recent opening only to dole out sample sizes. So will Red Mango be fudging it, too? The publicist assures us “free frozen yogurt” means an honest-to-God half-cup (small-size) serving. We have this on tape (kidding). Gifts, meanwhile, will go to the first 50 people in line and will also be given to people throughout the day, especially people who can answer trivia questions like, “How many calories are in Red Mango?” That we’re not kidding about — so study up! Earlier: Cold War: Yolato Now, Red Mango in December, and MySpace Forever

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Mike and Barack in Controversial Coffee Klatch

Mike Barack
Hey, while you were standing on the subway this morning with your genitals squashed up against a dude who smells like Gouda, other people were actually doing something important. Like Barack Obama and Mayor Bloomberg, who quietly had a power summit over coffee this morning. CBS reports that the meeting is about "their mutual interest." Bloomberg has long said he'd like to insert himself into the national debate this election season (BUT HE IS NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT), and he met with Chuck Hagel. We have no idea what they talked about, but we imagine topics of conversation included:
• Hillary Clinton is kind of a bitch
• Rudy Giuliani is kind of a bitch
Al Sharpton is kind of a bitch
• Matt Drudge is kind of a bitch
• Is Hayden Panettiere too young to want to bone?
• George Bush is kind of a bitch
Or maybe they're in better moods in the morning than we are? Obama, Bloomberg to Hold Mystery Meeting [CBS]

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Singer-Songwriter Vanessa Carlton Indeed Loves Ruby's in the Afternoon

Vanessa Carlton
In her single “Nolita Fairytale,” Vanessa Carlton sings about her love of “Ruby's in the afternoon”— a reference to her favorite neighborhood hang. “It’s the best people-watching,” she says of Ruby’s. “Everyone looks like they’re out of an editorial shoot for some hip magazine. But it’s not posey.” Other favorites near the “Nolita flat on rent control” she famously exalts? La Esquina (“I love to get takeout or to just sit at the front taco bar”), Freemans (“I think it wins the devils-on-horseback competition with the Spotted Pig”), and N (“the best chorizo I’ve ever had”). We asked her whether this week found her at any of the above.

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