Welcome to First Word, wherein Eater and its correspondents sit for hours at steamy community board meetings to bring back the first word of new establishments and what they're up to. Your reports from the field always encouraged to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right on the tails of Community Board 3's SLA meeting, Community Board 2 gets in on the action, handing out judgments applicants all across the Village. Without further ado, who got the green light, and who got the hammer drop last night:
1) Village Tart, A long delayed Lesly Bernard dessert spot at 86 Kenmare Street met some community opposition last night. The owners want to serve desserts (some of which are liquor-infused) and drinks until 2am seven days a week at a 12 table/31 seat space with a bar and a take-out window. While they claimed to be aiming for a café style environment more than bar, the community opposed, with some petitioning against the license. One stumbling block: there is another restaurant in building that already has a license. The CB3 committee gave it a denial but said that after a few months of operating without a liquor license, they would rehear the case. How magnanimous!
2) Jim Chu, owner of White Rabbit on the LES, made a play for liquor license approval for the old Tasting Room space at 264 Elizabeth. Mr. Chu has yet to sign a lease on the space, so it isn't a guratunee that his will be the last ap at this address (see Andrew Carmellini).
The good news: they gave him a "denial unless," meaning they're into him if he meets their long list of stipulations. The bad news: those stipulations include closing the yard early and having it entirely enclosed with a canopy to reduce noise, having overflow customers wait at neighboring bars, and this biggie, he cannot open the windows, ever.
3) Trattoria Lucca applied for license approval for a two story restaurant with a back garden at 827 Broadway, currently an antique store. The committee would not take a position because the floor plan did not have a seating chart.
4) The owner of Chow applied for license approval for New Organico, a cafe on 89 7th Ave South with seven tables. The committee's assessment: It does not fit the SLA’s definition of a restaurant because it only serves take out sandwiches. Denial.
5) The owners of V Bar on Sullivan Street are hoping to open V Bar 2, at 106 Greenwich Ave. It will fit 48 people max and have an open kitchen and food counter. The board approved the restaurant as long as it keeps its kitchen open until one hour before the 2 a.m. closing time, making it more of a restaurant than a bar.
6) Qdoba came before the board to open a two story outlet of its chain—with DJs and karaoke!— at 404 6th Avenue next to Gray's Papaya. They want to be open weekdays until 1am, weekends until 4am. The non surprise CB vote: Denial, due to the fact that the owners already have a beer and wine license and that they don't want too many drunks so close to the subway and PATH trains.
7) Here's a funny one: Arcadia Group (USA) Limited the owners of Top Shop, wants a liquor license for their upcoming store at 478 Broadway. Let's just say the community was not supportive. The reps didn't show, but CB2 issued a denial because buildings on that part of Broadway apparently cannot serve liquor on the ground floor, a rule we had no idea existed. More info here.
8) And a number of small time restaurants won easy approval, including : Viejo Group LLC (127 Macdougal St.), Nyonya (199 Grand St.), 265 Pastry (265 Lafayette St.), Caffeinated Coffee, Inc. (26 Prince Street), Oyishi Japanese Cuisine (152 7th Avenue South), Soy Luck Club (115 Greenwich Ave.), New To Do Restaurant Corp. (102 Bowery).
— Reporting by Rachel Schwab
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