Recap: 245 Bowery Restaurant Meeting

Posted on: June 9th, 2010 at 6:33 am by

Last night, the owners of the future restaurant at 245 Bowery held a public meeting for their latest enterprise, currently dubbed “S.R.O.”  Turnout was rather abysmal – just five people.  Nevertheless, the interaction was informative, and we now have a better glimpse of what’s happening here.

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The hour-long meeting was extremely informal (circle of chairs), yet still adhered to the presentation-followed-by-Q-and-A format.  Both owners spent the first few moments discussing the schematics (arched brick facade), the menu, and the restaurant name.  For the time being, 245 Bowery is still under the d/b/a of “S.R.O.,” which actually ruffled the feathers of two women from Crash Mansion who attended.  Apparently, the affiliate BLVD club is amidst a brand facelift, and chose S.R.O. as its new name.  There was some back-and-forth about how attached the owners were to the name, but ultimately the issue remained unsettled.

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What’s more, these owners – Christopher Chesnutt and Ewa Olsen – are taking cuisine cues from another restaurant in their stable, Alta.  This menu will feature Spanish-slash-Portuguese-style tapas with some cooking at the bar.  But the main concern raised by two longtime Chrysite Street residents was closing times.  Both were overwhelmed with the nine drinking establishments already on this very square block; that late-night crowds from Freeman’s, The Box, Kush, etc. were making their collective lives miserable.

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Chesnutt countered that the tentative closing times wouldn’t be too late – 11 pm on weekdays and 1 am on weekends.  He went on to admit that he’s “not a club-type operator” and doesn’t want it to “turn into a lounge late at night.”  How it’s a pain in the ass for a restaurant to serve so late.  After more prodding, he kept repeating that a late-night lounge was not his intention and that cranking the music after dinner would unfavorably change the crowd dynamic.  His vision is more in the vein of other Bowery 2.0 eateries like DBGB and Pulino’s.  Although, trendiness is allegedly of no concern.

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The conversation then meandered to the subject of sign placement.  When asked, Chesnutt revealed that, due to its sizable frontage, “S.R.O” probably won’t have much in the way of signage.  If they do, it would be nameplate size, and “nothing like Pulino’s.”

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Toward the end of the meeting, a bombshell was revealed that Duane Reade actually considered the real estate of 241-245 Bowery, but the landlord denied the pharmacy due to bullying.  Talk about drama!  Then, as all the attendees were packing up, one resident of 10 Stanton Street entered the room and was upset at the lack of bulletins posted around the vicinity.  This person felt that more should’ve been done to get the word out on this venture.

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It’s worth noting that we were hastily rebuked after snapping a few photos during the meeting.  We kindly informed the owners that this was a public event with the sole purpose of informing the community, and that our readers, and the neighborhood at large, have the right to know what’s happening here.

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