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Soda Shop

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Ben Stiller Crashes a Party at Fiamma, Penélope Cruz Makes Out at Socialista

Claire Danes
Every Friday a notable New Yorker tells us where they’ve been eating, but where are the rest of them chowing down? Starting this week we’ll sort through the gossip columns à la Ils Vont (RIP) to tell you who’s been seen where (casual sightings only — boring galas, vodka launches, and pluggy appearances don’t count). We’ll eventually compile a ranking of restaurants most often visited by celebs. Not that you care about that sort of thing! Oh, but if you do, won’t you please leave your own sightings in the comments?

Danny Meyer Appoints Female Sommelier at the Modern; Pichet Ong Will Show You His Moves in the West Village

Brighton Beach: Brooklyn firefighter Jeffrey Scotto won the sixth-annual World Cares Center Iron Skillet Cook Off this week with this recipe for boneless rib-eye braciola and escarole salad. [NYDN] Chinatown: Zagat might recommend the soup dumplings at Goodies, but you’re in for a treat if you opt for something the staff is eating like “winter melon soup and a plate of stir-fried pork liver and stomach.” [VV] Midtown West: Danny Meyer has appointed a new executive sommelier, Belinda Chang, to oversee the wine program at the Modern and his restaurants in the Met. [NYS] Tribeca: Apparently Craig Béro has opened a Tribeca Time Machine called the Cosmopolitan Cafe around the corner from his other restaurant, the Soda Shop. [NYT] Union Square: From Quattro’s Game Farm’s stand at the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturdays, “you can place an order, leave a deposit, and pick up your fresh bird on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.” [NYS] Upper West Side: Danny Abrams's second outlet of the East Village’s Mermaid Inn has opened on 568 Amsterdam Avenue near 88th Street, and you get a free cup of puddin’ with dinner. [NYT] West Village: Pichet Ong will give a demonstration at the next 4foodies, tasting on November 19. [4foodies]

Tribeca Time Machine Opens for Dinner Next Week

Lower Manhattan seems to have found a one-man preservation crew in Soda Shop co-owner Craig Béro. Not long after refurbishing that restaurant’s eerie addition, Béro lent his restorative mojo to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and began renovating a space that what was once a ladies' lunch counter in the 1800s, and which has just opened as Cosmopolitan Café. Béro’s plan for instituting single-dish dinner service next week is as pleasantly anachronistic as the place itself.

The Soda Shop's Blast From the Past

Craig Béro and Linda Donahue, the egg-cream aficionados behind The Soda Shop, have just opened a private dining space that's perfect for small holiday parties — and getting a taste of Tribeca's history. After breaking through to a decaying, walled-off space next door, the duo was inspired to decorate the room with artifacts salvaged from the surrounding ten blocks, many from construction-site dumpsters. Twisted cedar branches climbing up the brick allude to the horse stable that was probably once there, and Béro believes that the original, rustic-style fireplace was used by members of a small community of freed slaves in the late 1700s. The space is almost eerie, especially when Béro, a brooding foodie historian, begins telling you that he's currently reading The Murder of Helen Jewett, the story of an eighteenth-century prostitute bludgeoned to death less than three blocks away. But fear not: Cheeriness returns in one sip of a strawberry milk shake. — Alexandra Vallis