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Smith & Wollensky

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The Box Back in Action; Smith & Wollensky Sold at Last

The Box is back in action and even hosted a corporate event last night for Virgin America airline, clearly meant to bring the venue one step closer to becoming a "cultural institution." [Down by the Hipster] The $94.7 million sale of New York–based Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, which includes Quality Meats and Park Avenue Summer, to the national corporation Patina has been finalized, but there's still no word on a timetable for Park Avenue's fall makeover. [Nation's Restaurant News] Related: The Secrets of Steakhouse Riches Is Top Chef’s Brian into threesomes? Of the kind less celebrated in popular culture? [Amuse Biatch]

Food-Labor Discord Spreads to Laborers

Voice
If our recent coverage of the deliveryman revolt caused you to imagine a Utopia in which once lowly restaurant workers pour bubbly on their bikinied yacht passengers while singing “I’m a go-getter,” think again: A feature in today’s Village Voice indicates that all is not well within the Restaurant Opportunity Center of New York (ROC-NY), the group that protests alleged labor-law-flaunting restaurants like Daniel, Smith & Wollensky, and the Fireman Hospitality Group’s eateries. The nonprofit is being sued by former members who allege that they were cheated out of a fair share of the ROC’s pioneering co-op restaurant, Colors. And that’s just the start of the beef. Fork Off [VV] Related: Deliveryman Revolt Continues With No Check in Sight [Grub Street] The Delivery Man’s Uprising [NYM]

Mr. Chow Sued for $5 Million; Loans Crush Wannabe Chefs

Michael Chow of Mr. Chow is hit with a $5 million lawsuit for skimming tips, demanding “cult-like attention” from staff, and utilizing “degradation as a management technique.” [NYP] Cooking-school graduates are being crushed by their student-loan debts: “The story is always the same. The school convinces the student they are going to be the next Julia Child or Wolfgang Puck, and the student will sign anything.” [NYT] The Smith and Wollensky Restaurant Group finally agrees to be bought out by Patina Restaurant Group [NYT] Related: The Secrets of Steakhouse Riches [Grub Street]

De Marco’s May Close Forever; Let Them Make Foie Gras!

The Department of Health rampage claims its most eminent victim yet: the venerable Brasserie LCB (formerly known as La Cote Basque). Apparently chef Jean-Jacques Rachou had a few things to say to the inspectors when they arrived. [NYP] According to the owner’s father, DiFara legend Dom De Marco, De Marco’s Pizza may close permanently in the wake of the recent shooting. [NYP] A more palatable way of making foie gras: Let the geese gorge themselves. [BBC via Chow]

Ilan Hall Gets His Bling On; Chodorow Seeks His White Whale

Top Chef winner Ilan Hall is seen walking in the airport with paired Louis Vuitton bag and belt, white Nikes with pink laces, and a $12,000 Patek Philippe diamond watch. [Snack] Jeffrey Chodorow offers an Ahab-like reward for the first employee who spots Frank Bruni, promising him a Caribbean vacation. [NYP] Related: We Ask Jeffrey Chodorow If He’s Been Feeling Well Lately The Gobbler Responds to Mr. Chodorow’s Broadside [Grub Street] The social scene at Morandi is predictably exclusive: “When Keith McNally opens a restaurant, the famous will come. The fabulous will follow. The walk-ins will wait.” [Bloomberg] Related: Keith McNally on Why Morandi Will Be His Last Restaurant Ever

This Week, Your Cup Runneth Over

Say what you want about the Smith & Wollensky Group — that their restaurants (Smith & Wollensky, Quality Meats, the Post House, et al) are sometimes hard to tell apart, or that their steaks are less than life-changing. But no one claims that the company doesn't deliver the goods when it comes to nicely priced wine. The $69 prix-fixe dinner at Cité, for example, comes with a bottomless glass of four different types. And this week, Rob and Robin tell us, all the Wollensky restaurants are offering $10 tastings of ten good wines at lunch. The selections change each day, so the committed oenophile can end up trying 50 different wines over the course of the week. [100 Bottles of Wine on the Wall]