Salt Bae Boston Restaurant Shut Down ... Violated COVID Regulations

Salt Bae is endangering his customers when it comes to COVID-19 -- at least according to Boston authorities, who just shut down his restaurant there.

City officials ordered Nusret Gokce's signature steakhouse shut its doors this weekend after finding the joint was allowing patrons to pack in without social distancing, and not wear masks.

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The proof is partly up on the restaurant's own Instagram ... there's at least one clip of people flocking back to the establishment -- which had re-opened about a week ago. Massachusetts had recently announced it would start letting more people dine-in and even stand at the bar for foodservice in groups of 10.

So, what's the smoking gun of alleged wrongdoing that the city's got on Salt Bae and co.? Welp, it might be the video's that got him trending right now ... which looks a little wild.

A TikTok video shows a woman twerking inside what appears to be the lobby of Nusr-Et -- with none other than SB himself recording from afar. On its own, it's a pretty funny clip ... unless you're Boston public health officials.

In any case, Bostonians are gonna have to hold the Himalayan salt 'til they get this sorted out. The restaurant will have a couple hearings this week to respond to the alleged violations.

Portland Protest Uber Delivery Man Knocked Off Bike ... Hogtied By Cops

EATING IT

An Uber delivery man was riding his bike in Portland Saturday night when he was swarmed by cops and taken to the ground.

The man was riding along and passed a patrol van when 2 cops got off the vehicle and took him down with considerable force.

The guy pleaded with cops -- he was a delivery guy just passing through -- but his words fell on deaf ears. The cops pinned the guy on the ground and tied his hands behind his back.

A woman nearby implored the cops ... the guy was not an agitator.

It's unclear if the guy was arrested.

Portland has been gripped by protest since May, after the killing of George Floyd.

Lasagna Fat Cat Adopted ... Stouffer's Sweetens the Pot!!!

Lasagna, the fat cat that was abandoned last weekend, has a new home, and Stouffer's has some delicious gifts for the new owners!!!

The 29 pound -- that's right -- was dumped at a Philadelphia animal shelter in a dog crate. The shelter posted the humongous feline's pic, hoping someone would find it in their heart to adopt Lasagna. They posted they're looking for "someone who can help her lose the #quarantine15 and become a healthy and happy cat."

Stoffer's sweetened the pot, saying, "We hope she finds a home!" ... adding, "To the family who adopts Lasagna: we will send you a bunch of lasagna!"

The post did the trick. Thousands of folks liked the photo and it only took a day but Lasagna now has a place to call home with the Hammer family in New Jersey. Suggestion ... if Stoffer's comes through, don't feed the cat.

We're thinking ... maybe its name should be changed -- you know, for inspiration -- to Kale.

'Cake Boss' Star Buddy Valastro Impales Hand in Gnarly Accident While Bowling at Home!!!

"Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro is recovering following a horrific bowling accident where his right hand was impaled ... and required multiple surgeries.

The famous baker suffered the gruesome injury Sunday while spending some QT with his family in the bowling alley in their home. A rep tells us there was a malfunction with the bowling pinsetter -- a problem the family's had in the past and usually a common fix, but not this time around.

We're told Buddy tried to release a bowling pin from the cage mechanism, but his right hand got lodged and compressed inside the unit. His rep described what happened next this way -- "Unable to remove his hand, [Buddy] can see a 1 1/2" metal rod slowly and repeatedly impale his hand three times between his ring finger and middle finger."

After more than 5 minutes, Buddy still couldn't get his hand free from the metal rod jammed through it. His rep says his sons, Buddy Jr. and Marco, "rushed to the garage for a reciprocating saw to cut through the metal rod" and finally got Buddy's hand free.

Buddy was rushed to a hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to remove the rod and stabilize the wound. A second surgery followed ... performed by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michelle Carlson in Manhattan.

The rep says Buddy will have an uphill battle given it's his dominant right hand. He faces a long road to recovery and therapy. Buddy's not exactly ready to call this a pinhead move ... but he's definitely kept his sense of humor through this painful ordeal.

He posted a pic Wednesday from his hospital bed with the caption, "I was involved in a terrible accident a few days ago... 😔 What do you think of my new accessory?"

Sending positive vibes, boss!!!

Uncle Ben's Rice Drops Racist Imagery ... Unveils Name!!!

Breaking News

Uncle Ben of Uncle Ben's rice is no more -- the parent company of the food brand ditched its logo, rooted in racism, and even whittled down the name as well to something much more kosher.

Mars Inc. revealed the changes Wednesday after getting called out for its logo back in June -- like several other brands like Aunt Jemima syrup. So, ya ready for it??? Uncle Ben's is now ... Ben's Original. That's it, nice and simple.

The company also did away with the photo of an older African-American man in a bow tie as their logo -- which some felt conjured up the idea of Black servitude. Now, it's just the lettering that remains -- same font and color scheme, really. Just no image attached.

The global president of Mars Inc., Fiona Dawson, said it was the right thing to do -- even though it might not be the easiest, and knowing they weren't going to please everyone. Big picture ... she says they listened to their customers and associates and felt it was time.

A lot of food brands committed to retiring their dated logos -- including Jemima and even Cream of Wheat, which features another Black man in a chef hat ... same issue as with Ben here.

So far though, it looks like rice is in the lead as far as actually implementing change.

Charli D'Amelio America's Running On 'The Charli' ... Dunkin' Feels TikTok Effect

Exclusive

TikTok stars could be the next cash cow for fast-food chains ... Charli D'Amelia is doing for Dunkin' what Travis Scott is doing for McDonald's.

Charli, TikTok’s most-followed star, has a new partnership with Dunkin' and we've learned it's already doing wonders for the company's bottom line ... much like the Travis Scott meal at Mickey D's.

Dunkin' started selling "The Charli" -- a cold brew with whole milk and three pumps of caramel swirl -- Sept. 2 and immediately saw a huge boost in sales and interest ... Drayton Martin, vice president of brand stewardship at Dunkin', tells TMZ.

We're told Dunkin set a record for daily users on its app the day "The Charli" launched, thanks to a 57% increase in app downloads, and within 5 days the coffee giant sold hundreds of thousands of Charli's signature drink. That's a lotta caffeinated kids on their phones.

Sounds like Charli made cold brews even cooler ... Dunkin' says they saw a 20% sales boost for all cold brews the day her drink debuted, and a 45% surge the next day.

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Dunkin's chalking it up to the excitement the drink stirred up among Charli's massive social media following -- 88.3 million followers and over 6.7 billion likes on her TikTok videos. Call it the TikTok effect.

The numbers are in ... and it looks like companies are figuring out how to use celeb's massive followings as advertising tools.

Sizzler Stick a Fork in Us!!! Files for Chapter 11

Breaking News

5:32 PM PT -- 9/23 -- Sizzler says they are not closing their doors despite filing for bankruptcy.

The casual restaurant chain says their goal is to keep all locations open for biz while renegotiating leases, which they estimate will take about 4 months.

Sizzler's fallen victim to COVID-19 -- the pandemic is forcing the joint to file for bankruptcy in what could be a bad omen for lots of chain restaurants.

One of the country's first casual restaurant chains has filed for Chapter 11 ... forcing 14 company-owned restaurants to close their doors as they struggle to pay rent during the pandemic. Dozens of other locations -- including more than 90 franchised restaurants in America -- are not part of the bankruptcy plan.

Chris Perkins, Sizzler USA's president, said, "Our current financial state is a direct consequence of the pandemic's economic impact due to long-term indoor dining closures and landlords' refusal to provide necessary rent abatements. The hope, Perkins added, is for the company to exit bankruptcy in about 120 days and re-open the locations.

Sizzler started 62 years ago in Culver City, CA with $50 in the cash register. Del and Helen Johnson opened it as "Sizzler Family Steak House." Back then ... Sizzler's steak ran you a cool 99 cents. The good 'ol days, eh?

Sizzler is one of many large companies that have been forced into bankruptcy during the pandemic. J.C. Penny and Neiman Marcus have previously filed for Chapter 11.

Originally Published -- 9/22 3:31 PM PT

Halloween Zipline Ghost ... Socially Distanced Treats!!!

NIFTY TRICK FOR TREATS
@MIwoodworks/Twitter

Folks are coming up with super creative ways to have a safe and socially distanced Halloween ... like this zipline ghost that's giving out candy, and beers!!!

Ya gotta see this contraption and how it all works ... there's a homemade ghost on a hangar, attached to a zipline and powered by a little bit of gravity and some fishing equipment, and it ferries candy from the front porch to the sidewalk.

No doorbells, no knocks, and no close-quarters contact needed!

Matt Thompson at Thompson Woodworks in Garden City, MI is the man who made it all happen ... and we gotta say, his contraption is pretty ingenious.

It looks like a fun way to get those cute trick-or-treaters some candy, and special props to Matt for hooking up parents up with some light beers -- great use of the DIY Halloween tech!

Add in the rod and reel to bring the ghost back to base for a refill, and you get this reel-y good idea.

Sylvester Stallone Warns Roy Jones Jr. ... 'Mike Tyson Is A Wrecking Ball!!!'

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ROCKY'S PREDICTION
TMZSports.com

Roy Jones Jr., listen up ... here's some sage boxing advice from Rocky himself -- DON'T GET HIT BY MIKE TYSON!!!!

TMZ Sports got Sylvester Stallone leaving Fia in Santa Monica this week ... and when we asked about RJJ's chances in his November exhibition with Iron Mike -- Sly didn't love them.

In fact, Stallone seemed straight-up concerned for Roy!!!

"Well, let's put it this way," Stallone said. "What do you think is going to work? A 22 against a 45???"

Sly added, "Roy Jones is a great, great fighter, but it's just a matter of physics."

Stallone says his advice for Roy when it comes to hanging with Mike in the ring is simple ... "Keep moving!"

TIP-TOP SHAPE
TMZSports.com

"You're talking about, I mean -- everyone knows it. Mike Tyson is a wrecking ball."

The fight is scheduled for Nov. 28 ... and, if you're listening to Sly, that means there's still plenty of time for Roy to not go through with this!!

By the way, when it comes to the rumored Logan Paul vs. Floyd Mayweather fight ... Stallone says he loves LP's guts -- but he clearly doesn't think that scrap should happen either.

'Even Stevens' Ren and Beans Reunite!!!

Here's the "Even Stevens" reunion we've all been waiting for ... Ren Stevens is back, and she's bringing along her trusty sidekick Beans!!!

The "Even Stevens" reunion 17 years in the making went down on Christy Carlson Romano's YouTube series, "Christy's Kitchen Throwback," and she's got a lot of catching up to do with Steven Anthony Lawrence.

Steven, best known for playing fan-favorite and Shia LaBeouf's on-screen pal Beans, has largely remained out of the public eye since the hit Disney Channel show ended way back in 2003, and ya gotta see how Beans looks these days!

As you know, Steven's character was famous for his love of bacon on the show ... but he tells Christy he didn't eat bacon for 3 months after filming wrapped, and he even dealt with nightmares, cold sweats and traumatic experiences just from swine.

Fortunately, Steven's gotten over his bacon issues and is back to eating the best part of the pig. This is Beans we're talking about, after all!!!

It's pretty cool ... Steven also explains how Beans went from a potential one-episode guest star to a series regular and cult favorite ... who Christy credits with saving the show!

Christy and Steven also chop it up in the kitchen on potential future projects ... how does an "Even Stevens" spinoff sound?!?

If that's not enough ... wait till you hear Steven's pitch for Beans on 'The Bachelor.'

National Cheeseburger Day Where's the Beef? In These Stars' Mouths!!!

Holy cow, it's National Cheeseburger Day!!!

No matter how rich, famous, popular or attractive celebrities are, they still like to chow down like the rest of us ... just maybe not as much as the rest of us.

From actors like Sarah Hyland, Tyler Posey, Debby Ryan, Jesse Metcalfe, Tara Reid and Zoe Kravitz to supermodels like Josephine Skriver and Olivia Culpo -- and even a world-famous crooner like John Legend -- these celebs have no problem getting cheesy.

This might not be the kind of celebrity beef that fuels the headlines ... but it'll certainly fuel your appetite.

Enjoy, everyone!

Pizza Delivery Man Fired Over 'BLM' Mask On-the-Job ... Calls Cops, Gets Himself a Ticket

FIRED OVER "POLICY"

A pizza delivery man got a double whammy -- getting fired over his Black Lives Matter mask and then getting cited by cops over what happened when he was fired.

The incident went down in Milwaukee, where Patrick McVey says he got fired for wearing his BLM mask while delivering for Rosati's. Patrick, who is white, got pulled outside for a chat with the joint's owner, who told him the rules -- no politics, no religion and no cursing.

In the video, the owner says, for him, the BLM mask intersects with politics -- and he tells Patrick it's far too controversial to wear while making deliveries.

The September 10 exchange was actually pretty calm up until the owner asked Patrick, "Will you adhere to my rules or not?" When Patrick replied, "No," the owner said he's fired and turned to walk back inside. That's when he realized Patrick was recording him with his phone ... and the owner wasn't having it.

He lunged at Patrick and grabbed his phone -- but you can hear Patrick get pissed off, saying call the cops.

We reached out to law enforcement ... and we're told cops were dispatched to a battery call at the pizza joint. They say cops subsequently issued disorderly conduct citations to both guys. Patrick told FOX6 Milwaukee he plans to fight the ticket.

Travis Scott McDonald's Fine Gets Paid ... And Meal is Still Hugely Popular

Exclusive

3:03 PM PT -- A rep for McDonald's tells us they've taken care of the fine with the city of Downey. As for how the whole thing went down ... we're told all employees working that day wore face masks. Once the crowd grew to a large number and social distancing could no longer be practiced, security safely escorted Travis away and the fans dispersed.

Travis' meal has been extremely popular at McD's locations across the country, and we're told some locations have even run low on ingredients since its launch. Travis also released a hugely popular merch line with everything from t-shirts to chicken nugget-shaped pillows.

7:02 AM PT -- A source close to Travis tells us the visit was supposed to be low-key, as he didn't post it anywhere, but his fans found out before he arrived and flooded the location.

Travis Scott's getting dinged for the rowdy gathering at a Mickey D's over his new $6 meal ... but he won't have to pay much more than that to get out of trouble.

Both the rapper and the McDonald's location in Downey, CA have been cited by the city over a whole slew of fans showing up at the fast-food joint last week for the launch of his new meal ... because they didn't have permits.

According to the tickets, obtained by TMZ, Travis failed to obtain an event permit for a crowd over 200 people before he showed up to greet fans who were waiting in line to try his Cactus Jack meal. He also allegedly failed to get a permit to film.

Both citations come with $100 fines, so he's gotta pony up $200 to Downey to square up ... same goes for McDonald's.

As we reported ... Travis showed up to celebrate the launch of his new meal and got mobbed by fans -- many who were maskless and not social distancing -- and had to run for cover.

A spokesperson for Downey tells us cops reported about 500 people in attendance, and the PD dispatched several units to make sure the large crowd stayed safe.

We're told there were no injuries and it doesn't seem like any arrests either, so the only McDamage is to Travis' and Ronald McDonald's wallet ... but it ain't much.

McMOBBED

BTW -- Scott getting his very own McDonald's meal is a pretty big deal ... he's the first celeb to have one since Michael Jordan back in 1992.

Order the Cactus Jack $6 deal and you'll get a Quarter Pounder with cheese, bacon, lettuce, pickles, ketchup and mustard ... medium fries with BBQ sauce ... and a Sprite.

No need for any permits either.

NBA's Lou Williams Call Me 'Lemon Pepper Lou!!!' Gunning for Trademark After Strip Club Debacle

Breaking News

It's the nickname born from a strip club chicken wing scandal -- "Lemon Pepper Lou" -- and now Lou Williams says he's trying to lock up the trademark.

The L.A. Clippers star says he's already tasked his lawyer to file for the rights to the nickname ... claiming if anyone should profit from the scandal, it should be him!!!

Remember, Lou was busted at the legendary Magic City strip club in ATL back in July while on an approved leave from the NBA Bubble to attend a memorial service.

He was specifically instructed to stay out of crowded areas due to the COVID pandemic -- but Lou had a hankering for MC's famous lemon pepper wings ... and made a pit stop at the club for some takeout.

Williams tried to keep a low profile, but rapper Jack Harlow accidentally dimed Williams out on IG ... which led to a mandatory 10-day quarantine when Lou finally returned to the bubble.

Social media went crazy over the story -- with everyone referring to Williams as "Lemon Pepper Lou."

But, Williams ain't mad about the jokes -- he's trying to MONETIZE! He immediately called his lawyer and ordered him to try and lock up the trademark for LPL, stat!

The whole trademark process can take a while -- but Lou says it's already begun ... and he's already cracking jokes about it.

"Ya'll make jokes and t shirts but it's gonna cost ya lol," Williams said on IG ... "Yep. First time I've owned a joke lol."

Gotta love the business savvy -- maybe a line of chicken wings next?

Who wouldn't buy from a dude named "Lemon Pepper Lou?!"

Mahomes, Watson Send Meals To Frontline Workers ... Before NFL Kickoff

Breaking News

Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson just came through in the clutch for each other's cities ... by donating meals to frontline workers in KC and Houston before facing off in the NFL season opener.

The Chiefs and Texans are set to kick-off the 2020 campaign Thursday night ... and the 2 quarterbacks decided to help their opposing team's city by sending some local grub to those battling the pandemic.

The reigning Super Bowl MVP decided to send some grub from Cool Runnings Jamaican Grill -- a Black-owned restaurant in Houston -- to workers at Harris Health System via Postmates.

Watson returned the favor by hooking up workers at the Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City with meals from Niecie's Restaurant, a local Black-owned soul food joint.

Let's not forget -- the last time these guys faced off on the field, the Texans blew a 24-0 lead in the divisional round of the playoffs as the Chiefs went on to win, 51-31 ... eventually winning the Super Bowl.

Great to see the superstars play nice before going head-to-head to start off the season ... football is BACK, baby!!!

Jelly Belly Founder Starts Wonka-Like Treasure Hunt ... Co. Clarifies Affiliation

Exclusive
THE CANDY MAN CAN
TMZ.com

10:08 AM PT -- 9/9 -- Jelly Belly is officially drawing a line in the sand between themselves and David Klein, who's offering up a candy factory as the grand prize for a Wonka-like contest.

The company says, "Due to confusion in the marketplace, Jelly Belly Candy Company would like to take this opportunity to clear up the misconception that it is involved with a contest that purportedly offers a candy factory as its grand prize."

JB goes on to say that the business is family owned and operated, and that Klein simply came up with the name "Jelly Belly" years ago, among other marketing ideas. He hasn't been involved with the company since at least the '80s. Take note, treasure hunters.

The guy who helped invent Jelly Belly jelly beans is going full Gene Wilder in these dark times -- promising to give one lucky person their own candy factory if they play his game.

David Klein has kicked off a Willy Wonka-esque treasure hunt that's open to anyone in these 50 states, and he's got the ultimate grand prize ... a professional shop to churn out treats.

Klein explained some of the parameters of the contest Tuesday on "TMZ Live" where he also said that whoever wins the whole enchilada -- one of his actual operating candy factories -- will also get candy-making lessons in a university setting ... plus, his own expertise in running the biz.

There's one catch ... in order to play, ya gotta pay $50 and you're automatically entered into the ultimate factory lottery. As for the hunt itself, yes, there is a "gold ticket" component involved, and if you find it in your state ... you'll win $5,000 guaranteed.

The details are probably best explained by DK himself from the site he launched just for this new venture.

As for why he's doing it, Dave says it's his way of helping people get their minds off all the turmoil in the country.

Sure, we'll take a little sugar high for now. Why not?!

Originally Published -- 9/8/20 11:37 AM PT

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