Category Archives: Restaurant
Fancy NYC Indian Restaurant Slapped With Lawsuit

An attorney known as a prolific defender of servers and kitchen staff in New York City has struck again, and the respondent this time is a trendy provider of Indian cuisine located in the East Village.


The plaintiffs in question are two former employees of Babu Ji, a small restaurant that gets great reviews in terms of flavor, presentation and ambiance. The servers suing Babu Ji claim that they often worked more than 40 hours per week without the benefit of overtime. Instead of being paid an hourly wage plus time and a half for each overtime hour, the plaintiffs alleged that they were paid a flat $600 per week fee as if they were on a salary. Moreover, the servers complain that the proprietors scooped cash and credit card tips left behind by diners.


The NYC Restaurant Killer


New York labor laws do not allow restaurant servers to be paid on an exempt basis, which means that they have to receive overtime pay whenever they exceed eight hours per day or forty hours per week.


The owners of Babu Ji have previously settled a similar lawsuit handled by D. Maimon Kirschenbaum, an employee rights attorney who is known as a persistent defender of the hospitality industry. The last time Babu Ji was sued by Mr. Kirschenbaum, the owners settled for more than $90,000. Other fancy NYC restaurants that have faced lawsuits handled by the law firm of Joseph & Kirschenbaum, LLP include The 21 Club and Le Bernardin.


In a Palm Beach magazine profile, Mr. Kirschenbaum was nicknamed the “restaurant killer” of the NYC gastronomical scene due to his determined and tireless approach to representing the best interests of his clients.

Celebrate Freedom at ‘Merica

‘Merica,a new restaurant at 320 East Sixth Street in the East Village, celebrates (and spoofs) the good ol’ U.S. of A. in ways you have never seen. The space opens October 15 and is owned and operated by Zach Neil and Radouane Eljaouhari, the team that brought New York such spectacles as Beetle House, a bar themed around Tim Burton, and Stay Classy, a Will Ferrel-themed bar.


The restaurant’s decor includes stereotypically American pieces like huge guns, huge flags, and huge portions of unhealthy food favorites. The menu of course includes burgers inspired by each presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton’s version, “The 100 Calorie Lie” is a triple cheeseburger featuring bacon and a layer of mac and cheese, advertised as being just 100 calories (get it?). Then there is the “T-Rump Mexican Burger.” This treat has American and Mexican pepper jack cheese separated with a “wall” of grilled mushrooms, peppers, and onions, all on a patty made with beef from the butt of the cow. The bar at ‘Merica will just serve wine and beer for now.


In addition to serving up kitschy food and decor, the restaurant will also host weekly debate nights on Thursdays where customers can battle it out over a variety of topics from the silly to the serious. The debate losers will be punished with a food-related penalty, like paying for the winner’s dinner. ‘Merica is also planning a “Chuck Norris week” where patrons who wear camo will get a discount and Chuck Norris movies will play on screens around the restaurant.

Carnegie Deli Taking Its Final Bow

A midtown Manhattan institution is entering its last few months, with crowds of people figuring to jam Carnegie Deli every day before it closes for good at the end of 2016. Even though there are two licensed versions of the restaurant that will remain open, the original that first opened in 1937 will shut its doors for reasons that really have nothing to do with the quality of the food served.


Marian Harper Levine, the 65-year-old owner, is claiming fatigue when asked why she was closing the restaurant. Since she owns the building and has no interest in selling it to many interested buyers, there are really no options for someone to simply take over daily operations.


One of the criticisms of the Deli is that it’s been surviving on its reputation for the past few decades, with plenty of visiting tourists to pick up the slack on any local dropoff. The problem locally is that awareness among the growing millennial population appears to have dropped off considerably. That type of demographic component may have been seen as a litmus test for success down the road. Finally, increased prices have also been cited by some, yet the overall quality of the food remains.


People in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Las Vegas, the two locations that remain open, will still be able to sample some of those classic foods. These include one-pound sandwiches made up of either corned beef, pastrami or a variety of other meats. A number of Jewish foods have helped ingrain the restaurant in the American psyche, including potato pancakes, lox, chopped chicken livers and matzoh ball soup.


One of the restaurant’s marketing lines is that they’ve made a mistake if a customer can finish such sandwiches. The cheesecake pieces would also fit into the mammoth category, tipping the scales at a full pound.


Meanwhile, one other marketing gimmick tends to be more performance art that connected to culinary aspects. The restaurant’s waiters that are dressed up as if going to a wedding deliberately offer an abrasive approach to all those tourists, who fully expect it.


Kitschy Americana on the Menu at ‘Merica

Having tongue planted firmly in cheek and with an eye on the change in political discourse over the past few decades, two veteran restauranteurs have decided to have some fun while offering comfort food in the East Village. The opening of‘Merica is set for October 15, with the marketing gimmick something that can result in a chuckle or some anger, depending on the person.


The restaurant, located at 320 East 6th Street, is the brainchild of Radouane Eljaouhari and Zach Neil. It seeks to skewer both sides of the political aisle as it fills the stomach of its patrons. Much of the food that will dot its menu is likely to be considered unhealthy by any breathing nutritionist. Of course, many state fairs across the country come up with popular new concoctions every year that are considered death on a plate.


Part of the appeal of eating at ‘Merica will be the opportunity to see much of what stereotypical America looks like in the minds of its most self-patriotic people. Antique guns and some assault weapons, both presumably unloaded, will be scattered about with standard sports memorabilia and tributes to icons like John Wayne and Chuck Norris.


The two current presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, will have their own signature foods on the menu, each a jab at their past actions. The T-Rump Mexican burger, in tribute to the candidate’s controversial immigration proposals will use beef coming from the rump of a cow. On top will be pepperjack cheese and a collection of onions, peppers and grilled mushrooms that effectively build a wall of offerings.


Clinton’s penchant for skirting the truth is the basis for the 100 Calorie Lie triple bacon cheeseburger. The untruth in this case is that the burger comes anywhere near 100 calories, especially when it’s topped by macaroni and cheese.


Thursdays should be interesting since the restaurant plans to have a weekly debate night between patrons. Also, when tributes to Norris are held, diners wearing camouflage will be able to get a discount for food while his movies are shown.