Notes from CB3: Whynot Approved for Sushi, The DL Gets Its Sidewalk Cafe

Posted on: March 17th, 2015 at 5:00 am by
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It was a deceivingly small list of applicants, but the night went on forever. After all, this is the SLA subcommittee meeting of Community Board 3, and there are no time limits. Nevertheless, the proceedings saw several approvals for applicants, even for the bad actors of the neighborhood.

Shalom Tov Tapas Bar, 154 Orchard Street

Despite a lawsuit involving Mission Chinese superstar Danny Bowien and landlord Abraham Noy, Tal Lavi of Third Avenue Ale House wants to open a Mediterranean joint here. The applicant was laid over from last month to further investigate the legality of the enclosure in the rear yard (which includes retractable roof).

But we’re still in the same spot. The panel seemed confused about the Department of Buildings paperwork about the extension, and Certificate of Occupancy status. However, Susan Stetzer verified that since the Letter of No Objection on file doesn’t include the yard and its enclosure, technically the space cannot be occupied. As it stands, the structure is a fire trap; it’s now subject to a DOB inspection.

There were sixteen letters of opposition on file at CB3, yet the last-minute downgrade to wine-beer was enough good will to net an approval. Although, it’s contingent upon DOB compliance.

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Sushi Wa, 175 Orchard Street

Emil Stepkov appeared before the committee to fight for an alteration to his oft-non-compliant Whynot brand. Basically, a complete transformation into Sushi Wa, despite the currently popularity of the coffee shop. His ask was bold, especially given a tarnished reputation in both CB3 and CB2 – upgrade to full liquor, extend the premises into the rear yard, and change in method of operation altogether.

The board wasn’t having it, though, especially in light of the scathing resolution from CB2 regarding Stepkov’s Christopher Street (bait-and-switch) outpost. Sticking points included his overall lack of trustworthiness and intentions for the backyard, which isn’t even secured yet. The plan for the latter is to operate a semi-enclosed space (with retractable roof) that borders three Orchard Street properties. He’s currently negotiating to take over the adjacent commercial unit at 177 Orchard to relocate the coffee shop, and the yard is part of the ongoing talks.

In the end, the application was totally whittled down, and Sushi Wa was approved at the same class and hours as Whynot. Meaning, full service sushi restaurant serving wine and beer, with closing time of 1am all days, and NO rear yard.

There are 41 full liquor licenses within 500 feet. Get ready for the baiting…

The DL, 95 Delancey

Owner of The DL, Paul Seres, was in attendance to secure initial approval for a sidewalk cafe. There were twenty letters in opposition, plus testimony from a neighbor who contended that the club is audible from two blocks away. Said resident also relayed a story of a drunk DL patron who allegedly took a dump near her doorway.

Residents don’t want the sidewalk seating and neither did some members of the Community Board. The main question leveled was why Seres really needed additional outside dining when The DL already boasts over 50 tables. Concerns were also raised about sidewalk congestion there at the corner of Ludlow where it’s already problematic to navigate during party hours.

Nevertheless, the measure passed and will now go before the Department of Consumer Affairs for rubber stamping. Assuming the sidewalk cafe carries, expect to see four two-top tables with eight seats once the warm weather is here to stay (hours restricted to 9pm).

On a personal level, we find it mind-boggling that CB3 continually rewards the bad actors in the neighborhood. The DL and Paul Seres included.

Vote for Pedro, 17 Essex Street

There was no vote for Pedro. CB3 ultimately denied the Mexican restaurant (aka Vote for Pedro) and its bid for full liquor and 4am closing times. Flat out. Neighbors mobilized en masse (and waiting through the late hours) to vocalize concerns that Seward Park was quickly become the southern extension of Hell Square. Four people spoke in opposition, including one who resides in 17 Essex Street.

The owner had planned to pack the 400 square-foot space with tables and four televisions. Even Ariel Palitz – nightlife sympathizer – agreed that this location isn’t meant for booze. Its checkered history as gambling den and hub of prostitution was also revisited.

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