Clinton Street Newcomer Lil Gem Nets CB3 Liquor Approval; Saluggi’s and Mini Rex Meet Resistance
In a long tradition of never-ending Community Board 3 meetings, last night’s SLA subcommittee gathering was par-for-the-course. By 8:30pm, only three applicants had been heard. And somewhere, an unknown was puffing a copious amount of weed…
Herewith, a few notes.
Saluggi’s East, 399 Grand Street
Saluggi’s East on Grand Street has all the makings of a bait-and-switch. The alteration this month to extend hours of operation to 4am all nights proves that. The most vocal supporter was Don West, president of the 7th Precinct Community Council, who noted that he “spends time checking out bars in the neighborhood that aren’t in “compliance,” and that Saluggi’s is a good operator. However, leadership from both SPaCE and the Orchard Street Block Association both wanted Saluggi’s to succeed, but fell short of endorsing a 4am extension. Especially after only six months in operation.
The applicants withdrew.
Lil’ Gem, 29 Clinton Street
Lil’ Gem sailed through the process virtually unscathed, owing largely to the fact that chef-owner Melissa O’Donnell has run some sort of restaurant in this space since 2003. With the closure of Thelma on Clinton a few months ago, the proprietor returned to the board last night to seek approval for her “modern Lebanese” concept. She noted that the menu would be “veggie-forward.”
The only deliberation by the panel was regarding an 11pm window closing time for weekends, as opposed to 10pm all days. The panel ultimately decided to break with policy, and voted unanimously to approve.
- The Mini Rex “dry karaoke” concept returned after withdrawing its application for the Leftfield space last month. The vote was a nail biter, but CB3 denied 4-3. Pretty much for the reasons last month, and despite the show of support. Confusion still abounded about how segregating those who drink from those who don’t. Leftfield will need to find another entity on which to unload the business.
- Two-year-old Villa Cemita (50 Avenue A) was denied an alteration to its wine-beer license to move the bar. District Manager Susan Stetzer vocalized her disdain and opposition to the establishment (quality-of-life offender), and noted that the SLA fined the crew $20,000 for serving hard alcohol on a wine-beer license. They were denied an upgrade.
- Something called the Irish Times Pub wants to replicate its predecessor, East Village Tavern. Ownership currently boasts a rowdy location in Miami Beach, and claimed that this location would definitely be more restaurant-oriented, a “neighborhood place.” There was almost no outreach leading to few signatures of support. On CB3’s suggestion, they withdrew until next month.