El Rey Chef Heads to Chinatown for Flashpoint Winnie’s Replacement
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Photo: Vanishing NY
Head chef of El Rey on Stanton Street, Gerardo Gonzalez, just exited the cafe for his new venture in Chinatown. As previously reported, Gonzalez teamed up with Dudley’s managers Mateusz Lilpop and Benedict dos Remedios, and William Davidson to impart a new “food focused” establishment specializing in Latin-Asian fusion” at the former Winnie’s on Bayard Street (aka Winnies NYC LLC).
This particular concept truly struck a chord of controversy with Chinatown locals back in January. An avalanche of opposition tumbled down at the Community Board 3 SLA subcommittee meeting at the time. That was a disaster. They inititally proposed to name the spot Winnie’s and include a Karaoke component as homage to the former owner. During the public pillory, more than 100 petition signatures of opposition were present, with a half-dozen or so who showed up to voice the same. It also came out that Winnie herself was was not contacted regarding usage of her name and signage for the new place. The applicants ultimately buckled under this public pressure and admitted no attachment to the name Winnie’s or the concept of Karaoke at dinner. There will be a name-change.
For the record, Winnie’s 2.0 did obtain subcommittee approval, albeit with hours scaled back from 4am. The crew, for its part, decided not to send in the notarized stipulations, so CB3 outright denied the license at full board vote. The applicant “failed to agree to make as conditions of its license” the agreed-upon stipulations, according to the January minutes [PDF].
However, with Gonzalez announcing leave, and the submission of the application to the State Liquor Authority, it seems like they’re undeterred. Despite the de facto denial, Mateusz Lilpop, Gerardo Gonzalez, and William Davidson are together listed as principals on the pending license, according to public records.
There will need to be a 500-foot hearing, though, since 104 Bayard is within said striking distance of five full liquor licenses.
The Mr. Fong’s effect is rippling through Chinatown, with locals unwanting of “another hipster bar” that’s “culturally different in every way” than the intersection of Baxter and Bayard.