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Gramercy Park Hotel

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Frankie Marshall of Wakiya Wouldn't Dare Replace Anna Wintour's Napkin

Wakiya
Frankie Marshall was a bartender (and a singer) for years before she became a server at Wakiya in the Gramercy Park Hotel. And what a place to serve! She waited on Adam Platt before he panned the restaurant in New York, and Frank Bruni, who hit it off with her and quoted her making a racy “tung” joke in his takedown of the restaurant. Now that the reviewers have moved on, she’s left to serve folks like Ron Wood of the Stones, who let her feel his cashmere sweater. “Jimmy Fallon kissed me [good-bye],” she says. “I was hoping for tongue, but he wouldn’t deliver.” Anna Wintour, on the other hand? Not quite as friendly.

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Ian Schrager Is Kind of ‘Meh’ on the New Royalton Lobby

Ian Schrager
We're kind of falling in love with Lloyd Grove's rambling, sprawled interviews with business celebrities on Portfolio.com. This week, he sits down with Ian Schrager, who is two years into his massive partnership with Bill Marriot, the hospitality king, to build 100 chic hotels worldwide. Below, we've selected some of our favorite moments with the man who brought you the Delano, the Hudson, the Royalton, the Shore Club, the new Gramercy Park Hotel, 40 Bond Street, and that little club he used to run in the late seventies… • On the destruction of his legendary Philippe Starck lobby in the Royalton Hotel by his Morgans successors, who replaced it with a dark-amber jewel box this year: Uh, you know, I think it's nice. Um, I can't second-guess what those guys had in mind. I had no emotional attachment to it, quite frankly. But I think from a business point of view, I would've done something different. But I don't know what criteria they were using and why they did it. And I think it was a very risky move … But basically we liked to think that what we did was classic and timeless and would stay, even though it was incredibly provocative. I mean, I've never changed any of my other lobbies.

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Wakiya’s Only Slightly Japanese Bang Bang Chicken

Although Wakiya, the new high-end Chinese restaurant in Ian Schrager’s Gramercy Park Hotel, is staffed almost entirely by Japanese chefs, the food is traditional Chinese, only slightly modernized. A good example is this “Bang Bang Chicken,” a classic Szechuan recipe in which, historically, a stick was used to soften the meat (hence the name). As prepared by Yuji Wakiya’s able chef de cuisine, Koji Hagihara, there are some hidden Japanese elements as well, but none that the eye can easily detect. As always, mouse over the different elements to see them described in Hagihara’s own words. Related: We Catch Wakiya’s First Guests on the Street

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LeNell’s Looking to Open a Bar, In or Out of Red Hook

Astoria: Ovens being removed from Le Petit Prince sparks fears that the bakery will be closed permanently. [Joey in Astoria] Gramercy: The rooms at the Gramercy Park Hotel might start at $750 per night, but for the remainder of the summer, the third day is free and includes breakfast on the magically exclusive roof deck. [NewYorkology] Harlem: Doughnuts and dogs will both be present at St. Nick’s Dog Park Coffee Bark this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. [Uptown Flavor] Red Hook: LeNell Smothers is not only hunting for a new space for her bourbon-heavy liquor store, she also plans to open a (bourbon-heavy) bar right next to it. [Eat for Victory/VV] Meatpacking District: No word on the fate of Socialista now that its backers, the Cipriani boys, have pleaded guilty to evading $10 million in taxes. [NYT] Soho: A boutique hotel being raised at Broome and Thompson will feature a glass elevator that whisks guests from the street to an elevated lobby while simultaneously allowing them to point and laugh at nearby 60 Thompson. [Down by the Hipster]

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Latin Flavor to Bring Spice Back to the Porn Emporium in Clinton Hill

Clinton Hill: Residents glad to see Tamboril Latin restaurant replacing a porn emporium, assuming the space is properly sanitized. [Clinton Hill Blog] An Italian restaurant with an exposed-brick interior will open in the space next to Joseph Tyler Salon on Myrtle Avenue. [Clinton Hill Blog] Coney Island: Not all attendees of Nathan’s hot-dog binge yesterday were there to bask in the gluttony of the contest; costumed protesters encouraged meat eaters to “Give Peas a Chance.” [Gowanus Lounge] Flatiron: Pixar’s latest film got you hungry? Borough Food & Drink is among the city’s restaurants now serving ratatouille, and its version is topped with cheese from Joe’s Dairy. [NYDN] Gowanus: The 60-year-old Italian-foods market on President Street has closed and may make way for a café from the owners of neighboring Canal Bar. [Gowanus Lounge] Gramercy: Ian Schrager’s high-end Asian restaurant Wakiya in the Gramercy Park Hotel is now taking reservations from July 24 onward. [Eater] Harlem: From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Uptown Vets will host this month’s man-and-beast coffee mingle at St. Nick’s Dog Park. [Uptown Flavor] Prospect Park: The Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket accepts credit cards. [NYT]

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Former Clinton Hill Porn Store to Become Euro Eatery

Clinton Hill: A former porn shop on Myrtle Avenue will become a European-style cafe, a term open to interpretation. The only notable physical change to the space is an exterior paint job. [Clinton Hill Blog] East Village: Ramen Setagaya at 141 First Avenue will be ready to open when Con Edison turns the gas on. [VV] Former captain at Gramercy Tavern and Picholine Rob Ziser has opened his own restaurant out of a subleased kitchen at Company bar. [The Strong Buzz] Gramercy: Delayed high-end Asian restaurant Wakiya in the Gramercy Park Hotel is coming and hiring. [Eater] Harlem: A Coldstone Creamery on 125th Street could give Mister Softee an ice-cream headache. [Uptown Flavor] Park Slope: Michael Hearst recorded Songs for Ice Cream Trucks in his converted one-bedroom, but it looks like his jingles won’t make it to the big time. [Brooklyn Record] Tribeca: Brandy Library is hosting a free cognac tasting tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. And afterward begin the piano stylings of Joel Forrester. [Brandy Library]

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Morandi Breaks Out the Breakfast Menu in the West Village

Chelsea: Markt your calendars: New location set to open ahead of previous expectations — early this week, in fact. [Eater] Dumbo: Things not looking so good for Bubby’s Brooklyn: “kids overran the joint.” [Brooklyn Record] Gramercy: Yow! Gramercy Hotel’s rooftop bar opening soon? [Down by the Hipster] Tribeca: Robert De Niro’s hotel, which will house an outpost of L.A. hot spot Ago, now has a name. Take note: “It will make the Bowery Hotel look like a Red Roof Inn.” [Down by the Hipster] West Village: Perhaps trying to deflect attention away from that Times review of Balthazar, Morandi tells us it will roll out breakfast in a couple of weeks. [Grub Street]

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Gramercy Park Room Service: “This Next One Is a Nobu Cover”

Craving Balthazar at 5 a.m.? Come spring, all that will be required to get your late-night Cobb on is a room at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Once the beleaguered Park Chinois restaurant is up and running (in April or May, we’re told; Alan Yau’s still on board), a new 24-hour room-service menu will feature renditions of signature dishes from celebrated NYC restaurants and chefs.

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Heads Up: Park Chinois's Restrooms, Ready in January or February

Alan Yau's restaurant-to-be in the Gramercy Park Hotel is now poised to open in late January or early February, or so a beleaguered manager told us. In the meantime, private-partygoers have gotten a look at the surprisingly demure and loungy L-shaped room where the eatery will be located (provided the Chinese chefs' visas come through). At the Svedka-sponsored event featuring "erotic readers" Jay McInerney and Candace Bushnell, we scoped out the one area that probably won't change much before the place opens: the restrooms.

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