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Vongerichten’s Soba Plans Back On; Japanese Food Superstore Coming Too?

Though a deal is not yet signed, we can report that Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s partnership with Japanese restaurateurs the Matsushita brothers is back on. The building that used to house 66will become a long-awaited soba restaurant and maybe something even better: a three-story Japanese megamarket. The soba restaurant, Matsu Gen, is envisioned as the anchor to what one source familiar with the project described as a “Japanese Zabar’s.” (A similar Japanese megamart, the Mitsuwa Marketplace, exists in Edgewater, New Jersey, and is a mecca for Japanese cooks and aficianados from all over the greater New York area.) It’s not definite that the full three-floor bazaar will come to pass, but the restaurant, at any rate, seems to be coming into focus. Earlier: Vongerichten's Soba Plans May Be in the Soup Vongerichten May Deep-Six 66, Serve Sushi and Soba Instead

Pret a Manger Set for Huge Expansion Here; Ramsay Bans Bluefin

British sandwich chain Pret a Manger is launching an expansion of Starbucks-like proportions, announcing plans to open 33 more locations in New York — four times the current number. “If New York could support one on every corner, we’d love that,” the company’s head says. [NYS] Related: Out to Lunch [NYM] Urged by the Marine Conservation Society, Gordon Ramsay pulls endangered bluefin tuna from all his restaurants. [NRN] The Department of Health’s current closure rampage continues with Union Picnic in Williamsburg, Café Angelique, and J’adore in Manhattan. [Eater]