CB3 Committee Approves Max Fish and El Sombrero 2.0

Posted on: April 8th, 2014 at 5:09 am by

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Ulli Rimkus collecting signatures for Max Fish 2.0, Photo: InfamousNY

It was a packed house of applicants at last night’s SLA subcommittee meeting for Community Board 3. The deluge outside didn’t stop anything. Much of the clamor was over the record eight new liquor license applications in the Hell Square area alone. It was a marathon that saw two Lower East Side longtimers receive the green light. Let’s get to the meat of it…

Max Fish was the marquee applicant – seeking an OP transfer from Gallery Bar – yet wasn’t heard until 12:30 am. It certainly helped their cause that roughly two-dozen supporters (included business owners from Lucky Jack’s, Lindsey Thornburg, and Paper Magazine) waited it out in order to get behind Ulli Rimkus and company. Simply put, the Max Fish reboot at 120 Orchard Street was pretty much a slam dunk. Faithful followers spoke about the importance of the institution in our neighborhood, and how this would be a good counter to all the douchey bars springing up. Critics of the proposal, namely the LES Dwellers, argued that the conditions on the ground in Hell Square were no longer palatable for this type of operation. In the end, CB3 unanimously approved the full liquor.

El Sombrero was the other Hell Square mainstay that received favorable treatment from the panel and community alike. The two Almontes principals are apparently related to the outgoing owner, and decided to carry the torch of Latin American cuisine here (and will keep the name intact), as previously reported. In doing so, they’ve cleaned up the space, and even scaled back the hours to 2am closing times all days. They got the go-ahead.

Other notes:

  • 1 Ludlow Street – the three principals received support for their full liquor license at 1 Ludlow Street. Three Points will be quick-serve counter pizza on the ground level (like co-founder’s Numero 28); Ludlow Inn is the “speakeasy” concept downstairs that will be run by Shingo Gokan, a graduate of Angel’s Share in the East Village. They will also open for breakfast at 7am.
  • 94 Allen Street – the dudes behind Contra are opening a more “accessible” restaurant that will essentially act as overflow for their popular Orchard location. One of the principals even admitted that it would be a “place for people we turn away.” At this location, they hope to serve small plates of “creative American food.” CB3 voted in favor of full liquor.
  • 152 Orchard Street – Tammany Hall was up for a license renewal. Their history became the main obstacle, as a litany of transgressions were unpacked. District Manager Susan Stetzer noted that, in working with the 7th Precinct recently, this bar was listed as one of the five worst in the neighborhood. She urged a denial and that the rap sheet, so to speak, be memorialized with the SLA. And that’s what happened.
  • 98 Rivington Street – As previously reported, landowner and President of the Lower East Side BID Michael Forrester is opening a second outpost of his Italian restaurant Galli to the address.  He owns this particular building.  Plan also includes breakfast and lunch options on a block that’s without. There was a sticking point over the hours of operation, but the board wound up settling for 2am closing time all days (Chair Gigi Li had to act as tie-breaker). There were fears from those opposed that Forrester had ulterior motives to possibly sell the restaurant if awarded the added value of a full liquor license.
  • 167 Orchard Street – Rob Shamlian sure knows how to rile up the room. He was in attendance to gain favor for his new “biscuits and bourbon” concept now dubbed The Derby. The endeavor would replace Tiny Fork which just closed last week. As the panel mentioned, his pitch was identical to an alteration application submitted a year ago. Shamlian’s recent brush with the SLA over his illegal basement operations served as basis for much of the conversation, and elevated the tensions big time. Rather than describe the new concept, he launched an assault against the LES Dwellers naysayers, and even attacked us (thanks for reading, brah!). The board was perplexed on how to handle the convoluted application, but the applicant withdrew.

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