November Notes from CB3: Dirt Candy, Momofuku, and Root & Bone All Approved

Posted on: November 19th, 2013 at 5:53 am by


Last night was the first of two nights dedicated to the SLA subcommittee of Community Board 3. It’s likely that the new format will continue in future months, as the meetings were usually marathon sessions. The atmosphere among the panel was much more relaxed than usual, perhaps due to the noticably shortened hours. Indeed, the proceedings ended before 10pm.

Approvals were in the air…

Dirt Candy, 86 Allen Street (Full Liquor)

Principal-slash-chef Amanda Cohen is upgrading her popular vegetarian restaurant with a move. And a license upgrade. The larger space at 86 Allen (a former Chinatown bus depot) will allow for an “open cooking environment,” more customers and full liquor service. The board roundly approved. Meanwhile, Cohen confirmed that the East Village location of same – open since 2008 – will cease to exist (“not sure what I’m gonna do with the space”).

Momofuku Ko, 8 Extra Place (Full Liquor)

We learned that the Momofuku Ko concept is basically relocating to Extra Place, mainly because the current space is “too small.” They also like the appeal of the spot being “off the beaten path.”

One of the board members noted that this is the perfect solution for the troubled alleyway, which real estate folks have been trying to yuppify for years. This should help. Team Momofuku was approved for OP liquor; the name of the relocated concept will likely change.

Root & Bone, 200 East 3rd Street (Full Liquor)

No, not Rag & Bone. Principals Jeffrey McInnis and Janine Booth hope to transform the old Mama’s space into a full service restaurant offering “modern southern” fare. There will also be a take-out component that’ll extend past the normal 2am hours of operation.

The pair of restaurateurs ultimately succeeded in swaying the board to their side thanks to ample community outreach. It was the endorsement from one of the nearby block associations – which had met to knock out some stipulations – that was the lynchpin.

DY Scnitz LLC, 177 1st Avenue (Wine and Beer)

After years on the Smorgasburg circuit, Jonathan and Donna Erlich are bringing their familiar Schnitz concept into the East Village. The brick-and-mortar location will be a quick-serve restaurant serving schnitzel, sandwiches, soups, and salads. This one had no problem netting an approval. In fact, the panel was quite giddy over the application.

It’s located in the former Something Sweet Bakery which held down the store for 35 years.

Rockwood Music Hall, 192 Allen Street (Full Liquor/alteration)

Ken Rockwood successfully argued his case for music performances in the basement, as well as an egress on the Orchard Street side of the venue (the connection within is tough to navigate when crowded). There was some blowback from a neighbor across the street who was concerned about additional queues out front or congregating smokers. Rockwood defended his position, noting that the live component would be totally low-key, with 50 seats and predominantly acoustic performers. Not to mention, the current bar area on the Orchard side is essentially the holding pen for people awaiting showtime, and there is always a security guard posted at the door.

The board approved the changes.

Forgtmenot, 138 Division Street (Full Liquor)

The Division Street hang is expanding its footprint by breaking into the back of 42 Canal. The beef jerky business occupying the space will move next door to the current electronics shop. This rear room will help usher in new breakfast hours and remain open until 5pm, at which point the doors will close for the night. CB3 approved the applicant in seemingly record time.

French Diner LLC, 188 Orchard Street (Wine and Beer)

Pierre Moulin is purchasing the assets of the recently-shuttered Zucco’s restaurant. Currently employed by The Wren, Moulin plans to carry the torch of French cuisine at 188 Orchard. There will be little change from prior operators, except for some fiddling with the sound system.

A disgruntled resident in the building had noise troubles with Zucco’s and worried about the incoming operator. Moulin agreed to stipulations of a closed-fixed facade, to play ambient music, and to install a limiter on the sound system.

Azasu, 49 Clinton Street (Full Liquor)

As previously reported, Gaku Shibata and wife Christy of nearby Yopparai are planning a second Japanese restaurant in close walking distance. The goal here is mainstreaming – to incorporate a broader menu of Japanese comfort food, with cheap options that pander to a wider audience.

Some on the board felt that a full liquor license for what they called a “snack bar” wouldn’t fly. Christy explained ad nauseum how the reasoning behind the liquor application was to serve cocktails featuring Shōchū (apparently this drink requires the OP). Scaling back the hours helped obtain an approval.

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