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Matt Hamilton

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Matt Hamilton Returns to Belcourt

If you thought it was strange that chef Matt Hamilton planned to leave Belcourt for Choice Market in Clinton Hill, you were right.

By Daniel Maurer

Puglian Restaurant Coming to East Village

The corner of Avenue B and 11th Street has a troubled history for restaurants. Paolina, despite fresh, authentic, inexpensive Italian food, went out of business there, and then Matt Hamilton’s Uovo, despite favorable reception, also closed, thanks to its lack of a liquor license. Now comes a third try, La Scarpetta, a traditional Puglian restaurant from Pasquale Martinelli. Martinelli was the chef at Bellavitae, a restaurant beloved by Adam Platt, so there’s some hope, but at the current East Village rents, and with the presence of something approaching a curse, we have to wonder if it will play. Fate has to be kind, but if we were Martinelli, we’d be more worried about the community board. They’re throwing liquor licenses around these days like they were manhole covers.

Prune Alum Doesn't Fall Far From the East Village Tree

Clinton Hill: The construction workers who opened Il Torchio have created an intimate space serving elegantly constructed Italian tapas but can’t resist sporting baseball caps and — beer in hand — approaching customers to say what’s up. [Clinton Hill Blog] East Village: Prune alum Matt Hamilton will run the kitchen at Belcourt when it opens next month. [NYS] Harlem: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que offers up a Labor Day-weekend recipe: really salty potatoes (yes, that’s 2:1 spuds to salt). [NYS] Midtown West: The London Times picks the Burger Joint in the Parker Meridian as the best burger in New York. [A Hamburger Today] North Fork: A foodie farm tour featuring tastings and cooking demonstrations on September 9 will make a stop at Garden of Eve, a supplier to Flatbush Farm. [Brooklyn Based] West Village: Anita Lo always has a vegetarian entrée available at Annisa in addition to the one listed on the menu. [Restaurant Girl]

Liquor Task Force Giving Restaurateurs the Shakes

Alcohol is the lifeblood of the restaurant business. (We would liked to have said wine, which sounds less vulgar, but you can't charge a 400 percent markup on that.) In light of the city's recent nightclub murders, and with a growing number of protests over bar-generated noise, the State Liquor Authority is taking a verrry close look at who's getting liquor licenses these days, and the hospitality business as a whole is getting nervous — morning-shakes nervous. This fear seems increasingly well founded. Crain's reports that the SLA is now forming a "task force" to look into how licenses are issued. (Registration's required to read the article.) Even in areas like Queens, local politicians are calling for a tightening, if not an outright ban, on new permits. "The blockade of issuing licenses to bars has hurt the restaurant business too," Uovo owner Matt Hamilton told Eater in September, after his restaurant closed about a year into a license-less existence. The board is already so restrictive that before chocolate entrepreneur Richard Perl could open the Chocolat Michel Cluizel store in ABC Carpet & Home, he was forced to get a full liquor license in order to sell Kirsch-filled chocolate-covered cherries. Poor restaurateurs! They're as alcohol-dependent, in their own way, as a red-eyed grill man the morning after.