Whynot Cafe on Orchard Street Fails, Looks to Become ‘Sushi Wa’

Posted on: February 27th, 2015 at 5:16 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

Whynot, because it couldn’t.

Whynot Cafe failed to gain traction due in large part to its inability to secure a full liquor license. Their two bids met stiff resistance from the community including the LES Dwellers. And now it’s on last legs.

Rumblings of its closure had circulated for the last week, but their PR arm denied such claims absolutely. However, the Community Board 3 agenda for the SLA subcommittee itself acts as confirmation. Not only is the establishment on the outs, its owner is creating something different. Changing the concept completely; they’ll do anything for that elusive OP.

Yes, Whynot principal Emil Stepkov reportedly seeks to change the method of operation to a Japanese joint called Sushi Wa with full liquor privileges. Plans include 28 tables, bar seating, and backyard garden with retractable plexiglass roof. You heard that right.

This image has been archived or removed.

If Stepkov’s half-assed “art cafe” wasn’t enough to obtain full drinking privileges, what makes him think the State Liquor Authority will permit that in the reboot? Especially in this saturated area of Hell Square, and with another such establishment a few doors down (Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya).

Neighbors should fear possible bait-and-switch. As previously reported, several readers contend that Whynot Cafe, in its current form, consistently operates against its stipulations and stays open past the agreed-upon 1am curfew. Also, the art gallery component was said to comprise 50% of the business, but there’s only been one show since inception.

Recent Stories

Clayton’s Corner: Overthrow the Wrong Way

In this installment of Clayton’s Corner, photographer Clayton Patterson shares news that the Overthrow boxing gym on Bleecker Street is back in action. Then, crosstown on Essex Street, two cops stopped for a quick slice. However, flouting traffic by driving the wrong way to park in front of Champion Pizza. This move seemed to irk […]

How COVID and a Bus Stop Chased Benson’s from Essex Street

The following guest post was penned by Boogie reader Sydney Fishman. For five years, Benson’s held down the corner of East Houston and Essex Streets with craft beers, sumptuous burgers, and the occasional movie night. The movie nights, according to owner Annie Morton, were the highlight of Benson’s tenure on the Lower East Side. Before […]

Next Phase of Market Line at Essex Crossing Now Visible

With scaffolding and other construction elements removed from The Artisan building at Essex Crossing, another part of the Market Line is coming into focus. Unlike the westernmost third of the Market Line, this section beneath 180 Broome Street feels less like a dungeon. Design elements, including massive grand staircase and full facade glass open the […]

14-Story Eldridge Street Hotel Hit with Stop Work Order

The hotel newcomer underway on lower Eldridge Street – recently topped out at fourteen stories – met the might of the city. Inspectors from Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order on 79 Eldridge about a week ago. It’s a full order which only allows work “to provide shoring for all staircases and provide design […]

Eighteen Groups Sign Open Letter Demanding Transparency over CB3 Removal of Committee Chairs

Eighteen community groups within Community Board 3 on the Lower East Side this week co-signed an open letter to city and state officials urging inquiry into the removal of Alexandra Militano and Carolyn Ratcliffe as chairs of the SLA and Arts & Culture subcommittees, respectively. The shakeup, apparently inspired by a stated “new direction” for […]