Mission Chinese’s planned new Bushwick/East Williamsburg location is off to a rough start after a Brooklyn Community Board committee voted against approving its liquor license Tuesday night.
Chef-owner Danny Bowien requested a full liquor license and a 4 a.m. daily closing time for the new outpost at 599 Johnson Ave., between Gardner and Scott avenues — in part for a rooftop dining section that would sit more than 70 people. Bowien and his attorneys said the restaurant will be smaller than the perpetually busy LES outpost but otherwise will be very similar with a menu of spicy, pan-Asian dishes. They are planning for an April opening, they told Brooklyn Community Board 1’s liquor license committee last night.
But the committee didn’t like that Bowien and his staff didn’t reach out to residents in the area. Though nobody lives within two blocks of the new restaurant — which is in a mostly industrial section of the neighborhood — committee member Rob Solano pointed to the restaurant’s new neighbor, a club and music venue called Elsewhere, as an example of how to still be a “good neighbor.” Owners of that business reached out to seven different local organizations during their application process, Solano argued. Mission Chinese also did not fill out certain sections of the application, which showed “disrespect” for the process, he told Eater later in an interview.
Ultimately, the committee voted to reject the application. “[Bowien] acted like he didn’t understand why he needed to be there,” Solano told Eater.
The committee’s vote is advisory to the full Community Board, which will vote on March 13. That vote is then advisory to the New York State Liquor Authority, which has final say. Eater has reached out to Bowien for further comment.
The LES hotspot has been in hot water as of late. It’s in the middle of a racial discrimination lawsuit, where former employees say that Bowien fostered an environment where black staffers were treated poorly. Bowien’s attorneys have denied the allegations.
It’s the third location for Mission Chinese, which has a restaurant in SF and the one in LES. Since its debut, Bowien has risen to stardom, with long profiles and a season on Mind of a Chef for idiosyncratic flagship dishes such as kung pao pastrami.