July 8, 2002

Photo: Photograph by AP/Wide World Photos

Justin Booted From Britney’s Bar
Even the menu at Britney Spears’s new restaurant in the Dylan Hotel suffered a loss when the pop princess and her longtime beau, Justin Timberlake, broke up. We hear she was all set to offer a drink called a Justini but changed her mind after the two split. That wasn’t the first change she made. The place was originally going to be called Pinky’s, after Timberlake’s pet name for the pop princess, but after the breakup, she quickly changed it to NYLA, an homage to New York, Spears’s native Louisiana, and her favorite hometown eatery – Nyla’s Burger Basket.

Bush Twin Joins New York City Fashion Flock
We know what the First Twin Daughters are doing this summer. Jenna and Barbara Bush were overheard talking about their plans after yoga class at the Sports Club/LA in Washington. Barbara said she’s set to hit New York any day now to intern with Lela Rose, the fashion designer and longtime First Family friend who designed the twins’ outfits for their dad’s inauguration. “Fashion has always been something that has interested her,” an insider says. “She enjoys seeing how the industry works.” (Rose has also dressed Ashley Judd, Sharon Stone, Rita Wilson, and Jenna Elfman.) Barbara made her New York fashionista debut when she attended Zac Posen’s show in February. First cousin Lauren Bush is a top model and a face for Tommy Hilfiger. As for Jenna, we hear she’s taking a trip to Prague.

Spielberg’s Close Encounter of the Cartoon Kind
Steven Spielberg must have been pretty surprised to see how close Lilo & Stitch, the animated children’s flick, came to beating out his Minority Report as last weekend’s top-grossing movie. While waiting on line at Barefoot Contessa in East Hampton on Saturday morning, Spielberg was approached by a fan who remarked that the sci-fi thriller starring Tom Cruise was sure to “slay” the competition. Spielberg quickly agreed. A spy reports that he boasted, “Yeah, we should have a very solid weekend. There’s not a lot of competition.” He must have forgotten about Lilo & Stitch, which, it turned out, grossed about $35.7 million, just a mere $416,913 less than Minority Report. Spielberg’s rep insists he was talking about movies in the same sci-fi genre: “If, let’s say, Men in Black II was opening the same weekend, then that would be direct competition for Minority Report.”

Drew Nieporent Eyeing WTC Site
There’s been no decision yet on what will be developed at ground zero, but Drew Nieporent definitely wants a restaurant there. At Gourmet editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl’s late-night party for food-industry VIPs last week at Tribeca Grill, Nieporent – the mastermind behind fifteen hot spots, including Nobu and Montrachet – told us he’s spoken to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation advisory committee, of which he’s a member, about opening up a place on the site. And he’s already talked to Michael Lomonaco about a potential partnership. Lomonaco, former chef at Windows on the World, is currently at David Emil’s Noche, which hired many ex-Windows workers. During Reichl’s bash, Nieporent and Lomonaco proved they work quite well together when their band, Hi-Way 13, took the stage. Nieporent sang, Lomonaco played guitar, and Reichl’s documentary-filmmaker hubby, Michael Singer, played the harmonica.

Pacino Plays the Name Game
Attention, maître d’s: Don’t be surprised if Al Pacino shows up under a reservation made by a “Mr. Smith.” That’s the name the Oscar winner used for a late-night dinner at Elmo in Chelsea last week when he attended a party there for the Absolute Theater Company. Three days before, someone called to say that a Mr. Smith would be joining the bash but didn’t want to be seated with the other guests. At 11 p.m., a black SUV pulled up, and out popped a man who asked a host if Mr. Smith’s table was ready. It was. Pacino jumped out with another friend, and the three quietly walked to a corner table and ate dinner.

Bachelor Party: Hunky Men’s Health editor-in-chief David Zinczenko got a big surprise on his first day back in the office after being named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Eligible Bachelors.” He arrived to find sixteen models in black cocktail dresses waiting for him, phone numbers in hand, as a Barry White album played in the background – all compliments of publisher Mary Ann Bekkedahl. Zinczenko says he’s still single despite all the publicity. “People has forwarded e-mails from all these random women,” he told us, “but frankly, I’ve been a little scared to open them.”

With Catherine Townsend.

July 8, 2002