Motor City Bar on Ludlow Street was Traded for This

Posted on: April 9th, 2015 at 5:00 am by
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The beloved Motor City Bar closed forever back in June 2013. Two years later, the replacement is rearing its head.

The new venture – backed in part by Joseph Torres of recently-departed Foundation nightclub – has been a long time coming. 127 Ludlow Street went under the knife around this time last year, and the storefront was encased in plywood until yesterday morning. So we now have a partially unfettered view. The exterior is wood-based, much like the recently rebranded El Sombrero just up the street. In fact, it’s a near replica.

“Set BBQ Bistro,” as it’s called in State Liquor Authority documents, recceived approval from Community Board 3 in November 2013 for a full OP. This despite the application for a *new* license in a saturated area (roughly 40 OPs within 500 feet). On paper, this is to be a “full service Asian fusion restaurant.” Yet, given Torres’ track record in the community with Foundation, it’s not too difficult to imagine the outcome.

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Exterior of El Sombrero

Local activists led by the LES Dwellers contend there is no public benefit to this place. There are also allegations that CB3 maintains a preferential relationship with these operators. Despite the controversial history, it would appear as though the team usually gets what it wants with regard to liquor licensing.

Just look 240 feet away, where Joseph Torres is days from opening Mazaar Lounge at the former home of Foundation. As previously reported, CB3 decided to forego a public forum for this new liquor license. Torres teamed up with Cozy Cafe principals Khaled Boghdedy and Sherif Beshir to create a “lounge serving amazing Middle Eastern food.” Ten bucks says it becomes a hookah lounge.

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