CB3 to Consider Reinstating Terminated Liquor License for Problematic Whynot Coffee

Posted on: January 27th, 2016 at 5:16 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

​Whynot Coffee has been operating without booze since last May, when the State Liquor Authority terminated its wine and beer license for failure of adhering to stipulations. It’s a coffee shop, after all. At the time of its disciplinary hearing eight months ago, the board unanimously stonewalled owner Emil Stepkov and his counsel (Donald Bernstein) for duping the community over its half-baked “art” concept, and the paperwork was placed in “safe keeping.”

Whynot’s cited infractions included live music, dancers (Whynot doesn’t possess cabaret license), and loud music pumping past agreed-upon 10pm limit. Stepkov acknowledged that the “art wasn’t selling” (only two exhibitions in a year) and that there was “no point [selling it] anymore.” Given that this was the premise on which Whynot was founded, the SLA wasn’t pleased with being kept in the dark. And they made that fact known.

Fast forward to present…

Somehow, Community Board 3 now feels compelled to bring Whynot back for re-consideration. Stepkov will apparently return next month to re-apply for beer-wine privileges so that Sushi Wa can become a reality. Despite his negative history with the block. Why reward a poor operator when it’s clear the State disagreed? And why now?

We also understand that the license was originally slated for “administrative approval” by CB3. meaning no public discussion. The advisory board ultimately backed down and added the item back to the agenda, reportedly the result of pressure from the LES Dwellers. “The community deserves the opportunity for public comment given that the SLA canceled the license for misrepresentation,” noted founder Diem Boyd when reached for comment. “We appreciate that CB3 has decided to place this on [next month’s] agenda.”

Either way, it seems the applicant is trying to salvage the value of the business for an eventual sale.

Upgrade. Unload. Rinse. Repeat.

Recent Stories

Ludlow Coffee Supply Pays Tribute to ‘Mail Art’ Artist Ed Higgins

A local coffee shop is paying tribute to an iconic Lower East Side artist. Ludlow Coffee Supply recently hung artwork by the late Ed Higgins III on its cafe wall. The exhibit was installed by the nearby Van Der Plas Gallery, which had previously featured his work. Higgins, known as a pillar of the “Rivington […]

Eighteen-Story ‘Moxy’ Hotel Woos its Bowery Neighbors

Moxy is meeting the neighbors, currently amidst the requisite charm offensive ahead of its new hotel debut on the Bowery. The superstructure at 151 Bowery – construction of which had been on pause during the initial phase of the pandemic – topped out last October and now sits at eighteen stories. Joining the sky-high company […]

Another Lower East Side Crab Shack Shutters

It’s a crisis of crab cakes on the Lower East Side. In an apparent coincidence, two dedicated crab shacks – both located within a few blocks of one another – closed just days apart this month. As previously reported, Crab Du Jour closed down its franchise at Grand and Suffolk Streets within the last couple […]

A Show of Strength and Mourning As NYPD Responds to Domestic Dispute Call on Elizabeth Street in Little Italy

A man armed with a knife threatened his family in an Elizabeth Street apartment, then barricaded himself, cops said. At approximately 12:30pm on Monday, sources said the assailant menaced his family inside 239 Elizabeth – allegedly with a knife – then barricaded inside another room. Officers from the 5th Precinct arrived in good time, and entered the […]

Sheldon Silver, Disgraced Assembly Speaker from LES, Dies at 77

Sheldon Silver, the disgraced powerhouse of the New York State Assembly, and native Lower East Sider, whose career was toppled by a 2015 corruption conviction, died yesterday. He was 77. According to the New York Times, Silver, who maintained a residence at Hillman Houses, had been imprisoned at Devens Federal Medical Center in Ayer, Massachusetts. […]