Sweet Chick Principal Launching Cafe-Barbershop Combo in Former Pink Pony Space on Ludlow Street

Posted on: January 20th, 2016 at 5:00 am by

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The former Pink Pony will become a cafe-barbershop

Where Pink Pony heretofore ruled, Sweet Chick will reportedly have another. Well, kind of.

Celebrity Chef Julieta Ballesteros – owner of Crema on West 17th Street – briefly flirted with the idea of opening a place at 176 Ludlow Street last summer, but apparently got cold feet. Despite a fast-track beer-wine approval from Community Board 3. Instead, the word on the street is that Sweet Chick owner John Seymour is expanding his reach to include this neighboring space. Yet, it’s not what you think.

Here’s what we know.

Seymour has been surreptitiously building out the space behind a locked door. The permits were filed and approved by the Department of Buildings in November to split the storefront real estate into thirds, and convert to a strange cafe-barbershop concept.

Plans obtained illustrate a small cafe with coffee bar near the entrance that utilizes the old Pink Pony bartop (four tables), plus a four-chair barber shop with wash station to share the space. There is also square-footage in the back dedicated to office space (occupancy of 3) that is closed off (presumably for Seymour). Meanwhile, there is no mention of a connection to Sweet Chick next door, nor an egress to the backyard.

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We happened upon the rare sight of unencumbered windows the other day and snapped a photo. As you can see, construction is pretty far along. And residents are understandably concerned.

“[Sweet Chick] is driving the residents on [the front] side insane with music and kitchen noise while we all get the burnt grease fumes from their ‘state of the art’ exhaust,” one resident recently intimated. “So the thought of doubling all this is not something to look forward to, especially with not enough insulation.”

Indeed, Seymour and his neighbors at 178 Ludlow have been at loggerheads ever since Max Fish moved to Orchard Street. There was, and still is, plenty of concern regarding the exhaust, egress, and occupancy issues. Not to mention, a possible liquor license.

It’s also worth reiterating that this particular address is actually a DOB anomaly. Sweet Chick and the Pink Pony space basically share the same Certificate of Occupancy at 176-178 Ludlow, which allows for a total of 120 patrons. In simpler terms, the two addresses are considered one commercial unit in the eyes of the city. What’s more, neither storefront possesses a legit Public Assembly permit. Simple math therefore dictates the combined occupancy of both restaurants cannot exceed 74 (above that number requires said permit).

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