The SLA Licensing Committee for Community Board 3 met last night to discuss an agenda that started with 22 prospective liquor license recipients, whether new, renewal, or transfer, and ended with just 11 going to a vote. This was a rather mellow affair, with just one rejection, but even that was hardly the knockdown drag-out fight we've come to expect. And, of course, there was the surprise entry of the night, a new restaurant on the Bowery from Motorino owner Mathieu Palombino. To the report:
1) Representatives for Motorino owner Mathieu Palombino were able to secure a full liquor license for his steakhouse concept at 241 Bowery. The 2,500 square foot space features a back dining room with 18 tables for 72 people and an 18-foot bar with 13 seats at the front. The liquor license application also made mention of a sidewalk cafe which got one committee member to wonder aloud "who's gonna want to eat outside with all those trucks going by?" After the vote, an Eater operative asked asked about the menu but was told that it was being kept under wraps from the public for now. They did, however, say that they were hoping to open "within six months" but couldn't be more specific since they weren't sure just how long it would take to build out a restaurant in the space.
2) That lone rejection? That would be North Spy Food Co. and their request to upgrade to a full liquor license. They'd hoped to secure one so they could make the sort of cocktails that restaurants of their caliber are making as well as helping to secure their longevity. Unfortunately for them, they ran into a community and block association organized in opposition. The main problem was that it's a residential block and they were worried what the introduction of liquor would do to it. One committee member made the point that while she believes that Northern Spy's owners are a responsible lot, she's concerned that the next occupant of the space might not be - basically, they didn't want another Superdive in that location. But even the folks who showed up to oppose the upgrade made a point of praising the one-year old restaurant. The committee member casting the lone dissenting vote on the motion of declining the upgrade apologetically told owner Chris Ronis that he should open a second location in another neighborhood.
3) The new owners of an as-yet unnamed restaurant to go in the space formerly occupied by Bunny Chow at 74 Orchard St won unanimous approval to transfer the existing full liquor license. When they open, they said they'll be serving "burger and fries, fish and chips, and spaghetti and meatballs" for lunch, dinner and late into the night. When explaining why they wanted to stay open until 4 AM, the owner simply responded that "it's a good time to make money in the neighborhood."
· Nurse Bettie (renewal)
· Webster Hall (renewal)
· Mini Thai Cafe, 105 Ave. A
· 93 Art LLC, 93 2nd Ave. (transfer/full)
· 74 Orchard St., formerly Bunny Chow (transfer/full)
· Schoolbred's (sidewalk cafe)
· Cooper Square Hotel (transfer/full)
· Sabor a Mexico Taqueria, 160 1st Ave (wine & beer)
· 241 Bowery, new steakhouse from Motorino owner (full license)
· Belgium Ale House, 54 2nd Ave. (wine & beer)
· Northern Spy Food Co. (upgrade to full)