Editor’s Note

Just a note to our readers to clarify a story we wrote in August about two LES pizzerias that drew criticism from the city health department: Va Bene Pizza at 201 Clinton St., which was shut down after an inspection (and  later reopened) is not affiliated with the pizza chain owned by Hakki Akdeniz, which was covered in the same article. Akdeniz tells us that a website showing a joint menu for Va Bene and his Famous Hakki Pizza outlet at 170 Rivington St. is incorrect.

Two LES Pizza Ventures Cited for Sanitation Problems; One Shuttered

Va Bene Pizza, 201 Clinton Street.

Va Bene Pizza, at 201 E. Clinton St. near East Broadway, was shut down by health inspectors Tuesday after receiving 81 points for sanitary violations.

Va Bene was cited for eight violations, six of them rated critical. The critical violations included not providing a toilet for either either employees or patrons, the presence of mice, improper holding temperatures for cold foods, and food that was “adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated or not discarded” appropriately.

Hakki Pizza, LES Entrepreneurs, La Newyorkina, Anne Saxelby

It’s been a big week in restaurant and bar news on the LES. In addition to our stories about APL earlier today and Melt Bakery coming up later, here’s a roundup of other food happenings:

  • Late last night as we passed by with our camera, pizza maestro Hakki Akdeniz and a colleague were hard at work in Hakki’s new shop at 123 Essex Street, getting ready for today’s opening.
  • Babycakes bakery maven Erin McKenna joins the founders of other local success stories (Jon Snyder of Il Laboratorio del Gelato and Luke Holden of Luke’s Lobster) tomorrow for a panel discussion on food entrepreneurship at the James Beard Foundation.
  • Hester Street Fair and New Amsterdam Market paleta peddler La Newyorkina has landed a slightly more permanent spot in Cobble Hill, in a partnership with the Van Horn Sandwich Shop.
  • The Jewish Daily Forward’s blog takes a long view of the Essex Street Market’s future, through the eyes of cheesemonger Anne Saxelby.

Food Wire: Hakki Pizza, Sorella, Octavia’s Porch

Coming soon to the corner of Essex and Rivington: Hakki Pizza

There’s lots of food news around the neighborhood this week:

  • On the pizza front: Hakki Pizza has taken over the Visco discount clothing store space at 123 Essex, at the intersection with Rivington; this week, the former corner store is gutted, Hakki’s signs are up over the doorway, and construction work continues apace. New pizza options are springing up all over the LES; Fork in the Road reported last week that Goodfellas Brick Oven Pizza is scheduled to open in about two weeks in the former Kebab House at 144 Orchard. St.
  • Sorella has put together a sumptuous-sounding menu for Easter brunch on Sunday. From noon to 5 p.m., choose an appetizer, entree and dessert for $48 per person. The duck fat English muffin with chicken liver mousse and coconut-cream filled bomboloni with chocolate passion fruit sauce are not to be missed. Know of other Easter specials in local restaurants? Email us here.
  • Time Out magazine is really (really!) unimpressed by Octavia’s Porch, the 2nd Street creation of Top Chef alum Nikki Cascone.
  • Dora, the coffee shop at 221 East Broadway, continues its weekly cuppings (tastings) this Saturday at 2pm. More info on their web site.