Notes from CB3: National Underground Sold; Tiny Fork, Schapiro’s Approved

Posted on: July 16th, 2013 at 5:28 am by
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How fitting that the pinballing SLA subcommittee of Community Board 3 met at Rockwood last night. A licensed establishment, the irony was not totally lost on the crowd; even a couple jokes were cracked. There weren’t as many fireworks as in recent months, but still plenty of drama for the panel, which was seated behind a narrow bar. Herewith, some quick highlights.

Schapiro’s (120 Rivington Street)

When David Shemesh and Eyal Tov first appeared before CB3 in 2011 for his now two-month-old bar-restaurant, there hadn’t been any consideration to operate a basement venue. The space was apparently in such terrible shape (i.e. termites ate load beams) that it was later gutted and renovated. Seventeen supporters showed up to speak, but all were taken as one rather than hearing each testimony. Their reputation as respectful operators ultimately proved their strongest asset, despite some fearful blowback about possible club transformation. The board approved full liquor with the same stipulations as the upstairs (full service restaurant, no live events).

Extra Place (8 Extra Place)

The year-old Extra Place was looking to renew its full liquor license as a business with complaint history. Approval process for this applicant was pretty much a no-brainer for the subcommittee. You see, Extra Place is not a sidewalk, but a “public plaza.” This means that establishments cannot cordon off a specific area just for their diners and waitstaff. In fact, no food or alcohol serving out there. But these guys have been operating as such and received plenty of complaints. Even the landlord wants to get rid of them, going behind their collective back with a letter to the SLA urging denial of the renewal. CB3 denied the restaurant wine renewal.

Tiny Fork (167 Orchard Street)

Rob Shamlian didn’t show, instead sending his month-old bar manager to help obtain a blessing for sidewalk dining. The applicant being who he is, it was one of the only sidewalk license debates we’ve seen that took an extended period of time. The LES Dwellers and neighbors both complained about windows being open past their 10pm stipulation, and how a cafe would aggravate the situation. Despite best efforts from NIMBYs, CB3 approved; it’s now on to the DCA.

National Underground (159 East Houston)

The live venue, owned and operated by the DeGraw brothers is no more. An Irishman fresh off the boat purchased all assets from the previous owner, and is looking to open a watering hole with “Irish gourmet food.” James Morrissey, who reportedly owns twenty establishments in his homeland, hopes to create the feel of an Irish rural country home in the 1940s. Shebeen Chic, if we heard right, will serve traditional foods like Shepard’s Pie, beef stews, and fish and chips, all alongside “creative” events like poetry readings. Neighbors seemed relatively pleased that something with fixed closed doors would be taking over here. CB3 felt the same and approved the full liquor license with stipulations.

Fools Gold (145 East Houston)

Jimmy Chu had been at this address for eighteen years with a number of different concepts. All that came to a close last night. White Rabbit will cease to exist, as previously reported, with dudes from Idle Hands and Queens’ Alewife moving in. Most of the complaints centered on noise emanating from the back door and the lack of outreach. And the fact that principals want a 6am opening time for morning fixins. Indeed, they are pairing with Brooklyn Roasting Company to serve coffee and pastries from open until noon. Closing is 4am all days. CB3 approved the full liquor license.

The Ugly Kitchen (103 First Avenue)

This space has a rather long complaint history, most recently regarding its change in method of operations and violating the terms of its license. The operators sent their manager peon to the front lines to argue for a license renewal. CB3 wasn’t having it, settling on a denial.

There were other applicants on the docket last night, but we hadda boogie…

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