Residents of Avenue A were out in full force for last night's Community Board 3 meeting. With five locations up for approval on an already crowded street, the discussions got heated. NIMBY signs were seen peppered throughout the crowd and owners had a lot at stake. Most of the trouble came early in the evening but there was one late night surprise. wd~50 pastry whiz Alex Stupak made his second appearance at a community board meeting this week.
1) Diablo Royale kicked off the proceedings. They were not up for renewal but were there for a Review of Stipulations. At least 11 residents complained about the noise levels and crowding issues. The infamous "Boats 'N Hoes party" was cited numerous times as the inciting incident that got neighbors complaining. One speaker stated that the block was packed with so many people that he was struck by a bus while trying to walk down the street.
Since Diablo Royale was not up for licensing approval the board motioned to have the SLA investigate the charges. Read a detailed account here.
2) Looks like plans for the smell machine may have to be postponed. The new operators who were looking to take over the Superdive space ran into some trouble because of the previous tenants. Apparently, Superdive used a loophole to change Rapture Cafe's license which was intended for a bookstore/cafe to a full bar without going before the board. The board has since closed the loophole and voted to deny transferring the license based on the fact that Superdive was operating illegally and there is a stop work on the building. The new operators will have to apply for a new license but will likely have a hard time doing so in a resolution area.
3) Aces & Eights investor Jevan Damadian appeared before the board to plead for a new liquor license so he can start fresh and try to recoup some of the $600,000 he claimed to have lost on the venture. The board was sympathetic but noted that he was unable to keep his first establishment from becoming an unruly mess so they could not trust that he would be able to do so with the second. They denied his application.
4) It was revealed that Penny Farthing will be taking over the Cosmic Cantina space next door and calling the expansion Georgie's. This had neighbors concerned that bar was turning into a mega complex consisting of three storefronts. Although neighbors complained vehemently about the noise with one resident stating it made him "miss the crack whores" they admitted that it wasn't so much Penny Farthing as the combination of all the restaurants on the block and no formal noise complaint was ever made against the bar. The board voted to "deny unless" the owner adhered to the stipulation of his current business, speak with the neighbors directly about the noise issue and post a sign the day after the meeting advising patrons to respect the neighbors.
5) The old Annex space at 152 Orchard St will continue to be a venue with the addition of a full kitchen. The place called "Orchard Foods, Inc." will hold live shows but according to the owner they will mostly likely only occur during the week.
6) 179 Ludlow St will remain abandoned. The board debated about whether to finally approve a license for the space so construction could proceed but ultimately decided that the Las Vegas based restaurant Asia was not the right choice for the property.
7) The surprise of the night came when wd~50's Alex Stupak appeared before his second community board this week. This time for a location at 105 1st Ave. He pitched Empellon as a fine-dining Mexican restaurant but this time claimed that he didn't want a place that was open late which is why the existing license was perfect for him. The board approved the transfer with operating hours set at 5 PM - 1 AM every night. Remember, the Empellon he pitched for the West Village was a "taqueria" meant for industry people to dine at late night. So what's really going on? Will we see two Empellons or was Stupak just hedging his bets to have leverage over his landlords? If so, he made out. He now has two approved liquor licenses at two separate locations for the same restaurant. We've contacted him for more info.
Tre, 173 Ludlow St. (back patio)
Empellon, 105 1st Ave
Lina Frey, 201 E Houston St (upgrade)
Orchard Foods Inc., 152 Orchard St (alteration)
Standard Notions, 161 Ludlow St (upgrade)
EastVille Comedy Club, 85 E 4th St (upgrade)
Henry's Hat, 90 3rd Ave
Iggy's Pizza, 173 1st Ave
Penny Farthing Expansion, 101 3rd Ave
West New Malaysia, 14-18 Elizabeth St
Rivington Parlor, 155 Rivington St
Amazing 66 Restaurant, 66 Mott St
Asia, 179 Ludlow St
Former Superdive location, 200 Ave A
Former Aces & Eights location, 34 Ave A
Mama Juana, 107 Norfolk St