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Gnocco

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East Village Italian Empire Expands

Having already established a wildly successful Roman restaurant in Gnocco and an equally successful Italian wine bar in Perbacco, Modena native Gian Luca Giovanetti now wants to take on the East Village breakfast business. His Caffè Emilia, announced in this week’s Openings, is a narrow space (85 feet long and 9-and-a-half feet wide) filled with the kind of casual Emilia-Romagnan foods that Giovanetti thinks the neighborhood needs. The highlight of the menu is tramezzini, a kind of Italian club sandwich. “I never find it in New York,” he says. “It’s a sandwich with three layers of white bread, and we stuff it with original ingredients: caramelized onion with balsamic vinegar, tuna, shrimp, ham, artichokes, Fontina cheese.” The place will open at 8 a.m. and serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner — that last one becoming more important once Giovanetti gets his grill going. Restaurant Openings: Hill Country, Caffè Emilia, and Park Avenue Summer [NYM] Caffè Emilia menu

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Summer Brings Hot Dogs, Barbecue, and Department-Store Salads

Summer is upon us at last, and with it come the inevitable summer foods: hot dogs, barbecue, snap peas, salad … and pappardelle with truffles and butter. Well, not every food consumed in the hot months is inevitable. But this issue comes packed with hot-weather options. The Underground Gourmet reviews Willie’s Dawgs and PDT, the new chic cocktail lounge attached to Crif Dogs (you’ll have to read to understand). The city’s most ambitious barbecue opening yet happens this week; Gael Greene is very taken with Aurora Soho’s reverse commute; Pichet Ong takes off from the dessert business to create a killer sugar-snap-pea recipe; and Rob and Robin offer both a guide to the city’s top department-store salads and a quiz to determine your green-eats quotient, a test which only the most narrowly focused carnivore could possibly fail.

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Spirito Helps Complete the Trattorization of Park Slope

At one time, the number of good Italian restaurants in Park Slope could be counted on one hand. But as the neighborhood has boomed, so has the number of trattorias with Manhattan bona fides. Rob and Robin, in this week’s Openings, introduce one of them: Fifth Avenue’s Spirito, a product of the collaboration between the owner of Gnocco, the former co-owner of Gradisca, another friend, and the executive chef of Downtown Cipriani, Claudio Cristofoli. A look at the menu, just added to our database, reveals a tweaked traditional roundup of classic Italian dishes, including proscuitto di Parma with mango subbing in for melon, and oven-roasted veal cheeks served with risotto. There’s also a pretty extensive selection of antipasti and specials every night of the week. Openings: Spirito Ristorante, Perilla, Casellula Cheese & Wine Café, and Sandro’s [NYM] Spirito Menu

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A Voce’s Alfresco Slurpees Come to Flatiron

Brooklyn Heights: Mike's Knife Sharpener, operating out of a truck, is back, spotted on Willow Street. [Brooklyn Heights Blog] Dumbo: South Beach Wine & Food Festival may be re-created in this hood by next year, with help from the Food Network and Food & Wine. [Dumbo NYC] East Village: Gnocco's fine Roman-style pizza will now be available by the slice from noon to 4 p.m. [Grub Street] And the Italian restaurant Gemma, coming to the Bowery Hotel, looks to be on its way to an opening. [Down by the Hipster] Le Souk loses its liquor license, albeit temporarily. [Eater] Financial District: Gold St. debuts a menu of original cocktails including herbaceous recipes like a Lavender Martini and the Rosemary Cream. [Grub Street] Flatiron: A Voce to debut its new alfresco section, where you can repose in the sun and drink alcoholic Italian slurpees, among other things. [The Strong Buzz] Fort Greene: A new batch of local Devil's Doodad organic hot sauce is now available at the farmer's market. [Clinton Hill Blog] Harlem: Citarella's 125th Street branch now accepting food stamps. [NYM] Tickets now available for A Taste of Harlem held at City College's Great Hall on Wednesday, May 16. [Uptown Flavor] Park Slope: Unnamed market selling $22 chickens. [Dope on the Slope] Soho: To celebrate the arrival of new chef Wen Chen, Lucky Strike is offering a bizarre lottery that incorporates a Champagne bucket filled with table numbers, praying, and free meals for your entire party. [Gawker] Lure Fishbar will open for lunch and brunch starting Mother's Day weekend. [Grub Street]

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Restaurateur Donatella Arpaia Binges on Oysters and Snacks on Hot Pockets

There's no other restaurateur quite like Donatella Arpaia of Dona and davidburke & donatella: She was the first to zip around town on a Vespa ("Everyone else copied me") and, leaving aside her discerning palate, we're quite certain she's the only one food writers have characterized as "comely." Between Friday, September 29, and Wednesday, October 4, she indulged in a singular combination of sea urchin, fat-free yogurt, and black-and-white cookies.

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