CB3 Approves Sale of Spitzer’s Corner and Los Feliz; Sarid Drory Promises High End Makeovers

Posted on: January 13th, 2015 at 5:00 am by

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Sarid Drory fighting to take over Spitzer’s and Los Feliz

The lack of nightlife hopefuls at the monthly SLA subcommittee meeting last night was deceiving. Never was there ever such an assembly in Community Board 3 that’s lasted under three hours. Oh, no. Especially not when controversial bar owner Rob Shamlian is on the docket to unload two of his marquee properties.

Between hearing the case for both Spitzer’s Corner and Los Feliz, the total amount of time consumed was almost two hours. With each question from the panel, it seemed like suitors Sarid Drory (Cub Room, Waverly Inn, Artisanal) and partner Alon Moskovitch (Mezetto) were flying by the seat of their collective pants. Much of the questioning was due to the poor applications submitted, and how the paperwork wasn’t necessarily consistent with the presentations. This pissed off the members, and even Chair Gigi Li, who called out the unfairness to other applicants patiently waiting.

Of course, it didn’t help that Shamlian repeatedly tried to leverage the panel’s decision-making process by maintaining a lack of approval would result in keeping him in Hell Square (“Do you want me to stay?”).

To the nitty gritty…

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Spitzer’s Corner

Drory spearheaded the case for approval, noting ad nauseum that the troublesome Spitzer’s would be upscaled into a “high-end” restaurant with a “3-star Michelin chef” who would use “quality ingredients.” Moreover, the reboot would install 90% new staff and serve “amazing” breakfast to the neighborhood. In so many words, the principal noted that past problems aren’t applicable since this would become a full service restaurant.

The tandem 1-2-3 punch of the LES Dwellers spoke of the recent criminal stats in Hell Square and revisited the troubled past of the establishment. But the outspoken block association didn’t completely shit on the newcomer. In fact, they reiterated the stance that adhering to the stipulations of a full service restaurant at Spitzer’s could be “in the public benefit” and that it would go a long way in stabilizing other businesses in the area.

There was an issue about keeping the same name, and how patrons would expect the same service as before. That argument was quickly quelled by the board, though. Much of the debate was instead focused on the notion of having full security at a “restaurant” which the applicants desire. The SLA apparently takes the position that installing this force automatically defines an establishment as something other than a restaurant (i.e. nightclub). With good reason – why does any true dining experience need such security?

The panel also proposed the idea of truncating the current stipulations to help ease the over-saturation, but that was turned down.

In the end, CB3 voted to approve the sale of assets with an even earlier opening time of 7am for breakfast.

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Los Feliz shuttered during 7th Pct crackdown, April 2011

Los Feliz

The board and those in opposition who attended were pretty much united in the belief that this establishment is way worse than Spitzer’s. Its myriad problems over the years – three levels of drinking and illegal dancing (without a cabaret license), history of sales to minors, illegal extensions, etc. – are enough to fill volumes. As before, Drory and company promised a totally upscaled “restaurant” concept; the pitch was almost identical to the Spitzer’s application except with a different cuisine. Yet it reeks of bait-and-switch.

Most of the same issues were addressed. For instance, the semantics of security guards for a restaurant or the LES Dwellers’ support for a full service restaurant on all floors consistent with previous stipulations that Shamlian failed to follow.

CB3 ultimately approved this sale of assets as well, albeit with reduced hours of 12am closing times during the week and 2am on the weekends, plus converting the stand-up bars in both cellars to service bars. The applicants didn’t agree with the motion and approval, though.

From our perspective, these two bar sales seem linked as a package deal. Both or none. Drory and Moskovitch didn’t receive exactly what they wanted, and if the SLA falls in line with the Community Board recommendation, it’s possible that they walk from the deal altogether. That’s assuming they pass the eventual 500-foot hearing, which could be a long shot. The drama is only getting started.

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