Here's a Little Defonte's Sandwich Shop History Lesson From Nick Defonte

Categories: Chatting With

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Adam Robb
Nick Defonte on opening day at Defonte's latest Staten Island location

On Saturday afternoon, a crowd on Staten Island formed the happy, hungry line stretching down Water Street, outside the latest outpost of Defonte's (95 Water Street, Staten Island; 718-285-4310). This is the 92-year-old Red Hook sandwich shop's second attempt at opening across the Verrazano.

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Autumn and Eve: How the State's Cider Industry Has Changed Over the Last Decade

Categories: Chatting With

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Kayt Mathers
When Autumn Stoscheck received her cidery license in 2002, she was just 21 years old -- and the State Liquor Authority told her she was the youngest person in New York State to hold a license. So, unlike many of the producers now jumping into the game, this is the only career she's ever known.

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Why Boilermaker Bartender Erick Castro Makes The Cocktails He Wants to Drink

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Gabe Fonseca
With the recent opening of Boilermaker (13 First Avenue), bartender Erick Castro is getting comfortable with New York -- but it's still the West Coast he calls home. It was at San Francisco's Bourbon & Branch and Rickhouse where he developed his bartending style, and in San Diego where he opened Polite Provisions, where soda fountain digs meet serious libations and service.

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Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop on the Burgeoning Restaurant Industry Across the Hudson

Categories: Chatting With

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All photos by Adam Robb
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop cutting the ribbon outside Park & Sixth Gastropub earlier this year.

It's been several years since politics hindered Jersey City's success as a dining destination. The last major scandal was in 2009, when a crackdown on a thriving downtown food-truck scene, which included the Taco Truck and Cinnamon Snail, uncovered outdated ordinances and led to the investigation of a health department official accused of selling more than 100 bogus permits. At the same time, new brick-and-mortar businesses attracted to the vacant storefronts surrounding the Grove Street PATH station faced countless delays for construction and inspection.

Now, though, business is booming on the sidewalk and curbside.

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Why Donna Bartender Jeremy Oertel Just Wants to Make Daiquiris All Night Long

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Anyone who builds a career around a craft can likely recall the exact moment when basic encounters turned into hopeless appreciation, and for Donna (27 Broadway, Brooklyn; 646-568-6622) bartender Jeremy Oertel, it was a properly made Manhattan. "It was eye-opening," he remembers. "I hadn't realized how amazing a properly made cocktail could be until then."


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Really Cooking Now: Mark Bittman on Food Politics, the Importance of Cooking, and His New Book

Categories: Chatting With

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©Fred Conrad -- The New York Times
If you dabble even casually in the food world, you likely need no introduction to Mark Bittman, the New York Times op-ed columnist who covers both cooking and food policy -- he's one of the best-known and most prolific food writers of our time. He landed his first regular gig with the Gray Lady when he was asked to write a cooking column called "The Minimalist" in the mid-'90s; he now contributes recipes to the Times magazine, and he's published a raft of cookbooks, including the How to Cook Everything series. A few years ago, fueled by a desire to write about food in a deeper way, he also picked up a spot tackling the political ramifications of how we eat, discussing everything from childhood obesity to global warming to the farm bill.

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Scale Ale: How a Home-Brew Hobby Launched Third Rail Beer

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Third Rail Beer
Third Rail founders Larry Koestler, left; Loren Taylor-Raymond, and Kaitlyn Haubrich
New York City is not exactly a friendly place to launch a brewery. Space that's large enough to hold equipment is scarce, and what exists is expensive. But for Larry Koestler, Loren Taylor-Raymond, and Kaitlyn Haubrich, opening elsewhere was not an option -- all three of them were born and raised in New York City, and they wanted to sell their beer in their hometown.

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Why Bartender Joaquín Simó Still Loves Working a 12-Hour Shift Behind the Bar

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Bartender Joaquin Simo

Bartender Joaquín Simó received his first lesson in hospitality as a teenager while working as a parish secretary at his church. "The very first thing that Father Gerrardo taught me was not how to answer the phone or where the CCD registration forms were, but rather, how to prepare Cuban coffee for a parishioner if they accepted my offer to come inside," he explains. Since then, Simó has upheld a "customer comes first" mentality in every role he has taken on -- from opening shop at Death & Company to becoming a partner in both national beverage consulting group Alchemy Consulting and in East Village cocktail den Pouring Ribbons (225 Avenue B, 917-656-6788). "You can't say, 'I'm doing the mixology thing now, I'll get to the customer service later,' " he says. Here, we spoke with Simó about the beauty of a Cartesian plane, the satisfaction that comes with serving up a proper daiquiri, and why he wants his staff to read the sports page -- every darn day.


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How Mike Hauke's Tony Boloney's Thrives in Troubled Atlantic City and Hoboken

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All photos by Adam Robb
Mike Hauke inside the original Tony Boloney's in Atlantic City.

More than a dozen successful restaurants -- including Marc Forgione's American Cut, four Jose Garces concepts, and the House of Blues -- shuttered on the Atlantic City boardwalk last weekend as Revel and Showboat casinos closed their doors. But, in their shadow, Tony Boloney's has only thrived over the last five years, drawing casino employees, construction crews, and savvy tourists to his beach shack-like BYO pizzeria on an undeveloped stretch of Oriental Avenue, where he serves a Shopsin's-sized menu of eclectic subs, pies smothered with toppings like fried chicken and waffles, and truffle-buttered Brussels sprouts.

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The Skylark's Johnny Swet on Why Ice Is More Than a Chilling Tool

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The Fort Knox

It was art that brought The Skylark's (200 West 39th Street, 212-257-4577) consulting mixologist Johnny Swet to New York, but it was the bar scene that kept him here. Upon discovering his affinity for oil painting at Arizona State, Swet headed to New York to pursue his passion while maintaining the menagerie of bill-paying restaurant roles he had solidified out west. Where his eye for aesthetics led, his behind-the-bar talents followed -- from The Bowery Bar to Balthazar, and from Pastis to Freemans. When he's not curating the décor at top nightlife destinations (he's outfitted Miami's Marlin Hotel and Rex Restaurant), he's creating the cocktail lists at them, including Rogue & Canon, JIMMY, The Elm at King & Grove, and, most recently, The Skylark. Here, we chatted with Swet about his favorite at-work acronym, his flavorful approach to ice, and why his cocktails benefit from his time in the kitchen.


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