In front of a packed house last night during Community Board 2's SLA licensing hearing, restaurateur Cobi Levy and his attorney presented their plans to return the Beatrice Inn to its restaurant roots. Levy hopes to open a modestly priced Spanish tapas restaurant with 110 to 120 seats and one bar, and to prove this was no nightclub, he wisely included estimates for new kitchen equipment and an estimate to bring the space up to code as part of his application. Levy said he planned to close at 2 AM on Monday through Wednesday, 3 AM on Thursday through Saturday, and midnight on Sunday. But the community wondered why someone who wants to open a restaurant is having the nightclub hours, with many even insisting on the (kind of ludicrous) closing time of 11 PM.
Levy reasoned that these late hours simply gave him the opportunity to serve diners late into the evening, should the business be there, adding that he shuts the Charles 30 minutes after his last cover. The neighbors weren't buying it, citing the Smorgas Chef and Cafe Cluny as two successful restaurants on the block that close early. An increasingly annoyed Levy countered with the margins argument, explaining that if he could sell 100 steaks at $75 each, he probably wouldn't need to a liquor license and could close at 11. But to make it work, he needed to sell liquor and needed to stay open late to accommodate as many customers as possible.
After a bit more back and forth—where the neighbors got another opportunity to reminisce on the "nightmare" and "hell" of the Bea—Levy again said he lived and worked in the neighborhood and wanted to be part of the solution. He wants the Beatrice to be a neighborhood restaurant again, not like before when the kitchen was probably used as a drug den. Ouch. In the end, it came down to an agreement on the hours. Levy again implored that the 2 AM and 3 AM closings were a max and not the norm, and the Board offered that he close at 1 AM and 2 AM and come back to them in six months if there were no problems. The board didn't make a final call in the public meeting, but if all goes according to plan, the still unnamed restaurant will open at the end of summer. Pour one out for your old friend Bea.
· Former Beatrice Inn Space Readies For New Life As Resto [~ENY~]
· Beatrice Inn Coverage [~ENY~]
· Cobi Levy Coverage [~ENY~]