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

Posted on: February 27th, 2015 at 5:16 am by
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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.

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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.

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