Welcome back to AM Intel, a round-up of mini news bites to kick off the day.
Salt Bae’s New Steakhouse Is in Hot Water
Nusret Gökçe — the Turkish butcher, restaurateur, and internet meme better known as Salt Bae — opened a Boston branch of his steakhouse, Nusr-et, on September 18 (100 Arlington St., Back Bay). On Saturday, September 26, Boston shut down the restaurant in order to address a number of alleged violations. Both the Licensing Board and Inspectional Services Department are on the case, with allegations involving “the ongoing and repeated failure to adhere to COVID-19 public safety standards,” not to mention opening without a health permit and having two blocked fire exits. Nusr-et management will attend a virtual hearing with the Licensing Board on September 29. (The ISD issues have already been addressed.)
Footage of opening weekend posted to social media and a variety of complaints to the city’s 311 service paint an alleged picture of overcrowding, poor social distancing, and lax mask-wearing on the part of employees and customers.
It’s a shaky start for a restaurant group that has also run into trouble at several of its other United States locations: Gökçe has allegedly left a trail of labor violations in his wake, reportedly paying a $230,000 out-of-court settlement to several former New York staffers. (Gökçe did ultimately win a lawsuit brought by servers from the Miami location, alleging illegal tip pooling and other violations.)
Gökçe has also stirred up controversy for posting a photo of himself dressed as Fidel Castro and for posting about feeding Venezuelan authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro.
When Nusr-et reopens, it will resume indoor dining as well as takeout and delivery, for those who want to drop $600 on a gold leaf-wrapped steak dinner in the privacy of their own home.
In Other News...
- Growing local doughnut chain Blackbird Doughnuts has a new location in the works at 175 Cambridge St., Boston, around the Beacon Hill/West End border (not far from the Charles/MGH MBTA stop).
- Somerville restaurant Sarma is now serving weekend breakfast takeout, featuring ultra-thick hot chocolate, latke hash browns, baklava parfait, egg and cheese shawarma, and more.
- Here’s what you missed from the 2020 James Beard Awards “ceremony.”
- New York City has decided to make its outdoor dining program a permanent, year-round fixture. Will Boston follow suit?
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