Yesterday evening community members and an Eater operative had the pleasure of sitting in on CB2's over five hour long licensing extravaganza at NYU's Silver Center. It was an especially noisy affair, a paean to tedium and all the minuses of our democracy. That being said, there was plenty of approval last night. It's not hard not to be in an approving kind of mood when Steve 'The Full' Hanson is in the house:
1) The first and fastest application of the night was Stephen Hanson's presentation for the former Hog Pit space at 22 9th Ave. He didn't say much about his plans, except that he will be serving "inexpensive light American fare" in an area that really needs a reasonable go-to spot. The board seemed to agree, as they wished him well and had no objections.
2) The team from Butter was in the house to present an application for the former Plumm space at 244 W. 14th. Chef cum Food Network personality Alexandra Guarnaschelli (humbly) spoke at length about her extensive experience and connection to the community, and restaurateurs Scott Sartiano and Richard Akiva were present to answer questions about security and general operation methods for the proposed restaurant, which will be "very similar to Butter." After a long question and answer period, the board approved; Chair Raymond Lee even gave Sartiano and Akiva two good handshakes.
3) The first of the more contentious apps of the night was for Aguila and Sol (354 Bowery), from the team behind Hecho En Dumbo. While the two owners emphasized the fact that they only want to run a restaurant and that they have a pretty successful one already, the board was suspicious of their affiliation to Antik at 356 Bowery, which was applying alongside the Dumbo duo.
According to some board members, Antik has switched methods of operation over and over again and is "abusing their license." That Antik will be physically connected to Aguila and Sol and in fact will get their food from the new Mexican place, made it impossible for the board members to consider the places as separate entities. Aguila and Sol's proposed 4 AM closing time didn't help matters either. However, the presentation ended on a positive note and it looks like the app will go through at the full board meeting.
4) Things got heated during the presentation for the hotel at 153 Elizabeth. While the app for the Jimmy Bradley-run restaurant didn't meet any opposition, the community jingoes came out in full force to grill the hotel owners. Well, that's if you consider coming out in full force having the same three people that complained about all the other apps go especially nuts over your place. Community members pointed to dishonesty on the part of the hotel owners, alleging that the building's height violates Little Italy code and that the hotel's proposed private balconies, which can be used for dinners and small gatherings, will be a serious nuisance. The back and forth went on for about an hour, with interruptions and yelling, until it was obvious that no matter what the owners' defense was, the community (two or three folks) wouldn't believe them. It looks like the app will be approved at the full board.
5) The lawyer for copycat/haute Chinese chef Philippe Chow came in to gain approval for an upgrade to the Philippe Express beverage program at 469 6th Ave. The app passed without a hitch.
· Previous Community Board Coverage [~E~]