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Even Chuck Close Can't Help Il Buco Catch a Break

The folks behind rustic Italian Noho favorite Il Buco have been planning an "Alimentaria/Vineria" at 53 Great Jones Street since at least January 2010, when they first faced Community Board 2. As one condition of approving the measure, the neighborhood NIMBYs and the SLA Licensing Committee said they wanted the restaurant to shut down their annual pig roast. They did that. So did they get their approval when owner Donna Lennard went before the board again last night?

Lennard opened by saying they'd like to "move forward" this time around, while the board started off by stating that "neighbors are not essentially opposed to this application." But sparks flew anyway. Longtime Bond St. resident Chuck Close told the committee that "restaurants saved our neighborhood" from the crack pipes and needles of the 1960s. Zella Jones claimed to speak for NoHo itself, citing that many people are against it.

Much of the debate focused around the usage of the two-story space's roof, on which Lennard had previously proposed a sustainable garden along with seating, and the Il Buco team brought eight pages of lawyered-up stipulations (landscaping to block roof seating, along with employees barred from the roof except under "special circumstances") to attempt to remedy all the issues. It seemed as if there was also confusion regarding dining on the roof itself versus dining on a roof terrace (stretching over the sidewalk cafe). Nevertheless, the application was denied by the committee, mainly under concerns that rooftop usage might still be fully allowed under building code permits.

Update: Lennard tells Grub Street, and a double check of intern Alex's recording of the meeting confirm, that the denial was conditional and she's confident she'll get her liquor license from the SLA. Which is fantastic.
—Alex Ma
· All Coverage of Il Buco [~ENY~]
· All Community Board Coverage [~ENY~]
[Photo: Krieger]

il Buco

47 Bond Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 (212) 533-1932 Visit Website

Il Buco Alimentaria

53 Great Jones St., New York, NY