LIQUOR-LICENSE APPLICATION FOR SPRING STUDIOS AT 50 VARICK
The production studio/event space at 50 Varick (in the Verizon building across from the Holland Tunnel offramp), memorably discussed at last month’s meeting, was supposed to be on this month’s agenda, but it was postponed a few days beforehand. (Those of you who get the Tribeca Citizen email newsletter may recall a Public Meeting Notice about it.) Nonetheless, the topic was brought up first thing. CB1’s right-hand man, Evan, explained that CB1 Tribeca had requested more info from Spring Studios—the scale and frequency of events, how it works at the London outpost, and so on—and when it became clear that getting the info in time would be impossible, they mutually agreed to wait till January. In the meantime, some members of the committee toured the space, at which point it was decided that Spring Studios would request a liquor license for the restaurant and a catering license for the event space(s), and possible stipulations were discussed. Back at last night’s meeting, one member appeared to smell a conspiracy, and he demanded that any conversation about stipulations happen in front of the entire committee. Then a public member wondered aloud whether CB1 would make a greater level of outreach about the next meeting, going door to door with flyers.
Look, Spring Studios paid me to send out two Public Meeting Notices, so I suppose I’m vulnerable to accusations of having been bought (although I like to think of my soul costing more than an email blast), but since I’ve started attending these meetings no one has gone to such great lengths to make the public aware of a CB1 meeting. Spring Studios sent out two emails to my list of around 2,300 people, it advertised in the Trib (and I think in Downtown Express), and it posted flyers. At some point, CB1 may have to accept that people area ware; they just don’t care.
P.S. One interesting moment came when a committee member asked whether Tribeca Rooftop’s Billy Reilly was involved in Spring Studios. The vice chair, in charge for the night, said, “It’s our understanding that he’s part of the consortium.” But when I emailed Billy to ask, he said, “Nope, I am not affiliated at all.”
LIQUOR-LICENSE APPLICATION FOR GLOBAL POINT NY AT 66 LEONARD
Having first been on the CB1 agenda for September, Global Point NY—the restaurant coming to the old Matsugen (and before that, 66) space at Church and Leonard—finally decided the moment was right. Diane Cheadle explained that the restaurant would be most fine dining, with a café on the Leonard side. There will be 39 tables and 135 seats, 20 of which will be at the bar in the middle of the room. They’re in negotiations with a chef “well known in New York and even in Tribeca,” which I think meant less that even Tribecans would have heard of him/her and more than Tribecans might be especially likely to know the chef’s name. The food will be New American—”an Americanized version” of the sample menu (somewhere at right; click to enlarge), which is actually from the sister restaurant in Russia (and is what I’d call “global brasserie”). One committee member asked about price points—the sample menu is in rubles—and Diane said she thought main courses would be $23-$28, followed by “If I had to pick a restaurant in Tribeca to compare the price point to, I’d say Marc Forgione.” (Either she hasn’t been there lately or someone else was paying.) Andrew Cohen of Parts and Labor Design (Atera, Pepper Pastor Salon) had created moodboards (also at right) that give a sense of what the general vibe will be like inside; the idea is that different zones will have different “themes,” so that if you go once, you’ll want to return so you can then try something different. The restaurant wanted closing hours of midnight and 2 a.m. (Friday and Saturday), which would be unusual for a restaurant with a side street façade. But since the café will be on Leonard, closing at 11 p.m. and with no main exits on that street, the committee was open to relaxing the rules. (There was some confusion because the floor plan erroneously calls one part oft he dining room a lounge, and that’s the sort of thing that gets CB1 worried.) They’re hoping to open May/June. Vote: 7-0. NOTE: Global Point NY is a branding agency. The sister restaurant in Russia is 22-13, so perhaps the name will be more along those lines.
LIQUOR-LICENSE APPLICATION FOR PANTÉA RESTAURANT AT 35 WHITE
I’m not sure who’s opening a vegetarian restaurant called Pantéa where White & Church sort of is now because I couldn’t get my hands on anything afterward except the sample menu. But the manager, Sharon, and her lawyer said it’ll have capacity for 70 people, with 14 tables and 10 seats at the bar, and there will be “gentle” live music—a vocalist, accompanied by a violin, or maybe a harp (!). They didn’t reach out to neighbors before the meeting because the current owners of White & Church—the purchase of the space isn’t done yet—didn’t want anyone to know that the curtain was about to descend. It’ll be open till 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and till midnight on Friday and Saturday. Vote: 7-0. Note: If Bread Tribeca is indeed reopening “a few blocks down on Church,” it’s looking more and more like the southeast corner of Church and Franklin.
LIQUOR-LICENSE APPLICATION FOR KIO AT 157 DUANE
The Marc Forgione–backed Laotian restaurant coming to what’s currently Duane Park restaurant will be “similar to Marc Forgione,” said Forgione’s non-life partner Chris Blumlo, “but with more shared plates and a lower price point.” They’re redesigning the decor, which isn’t a huge shock. No one was on hand to complain, and the building’s owner—evidently tired of all those tassels a-twirling on weekends—was there to lend support. Kio got 1 a.m. closing seven days a week as long as the front windows are closed at 11 p.m. The chef will be Soulayphet (“Phet”) Schwader, and the menu looks delicious (if meaty); Kio is a phonetic translation of “green,” so localness and sustainability will be concerns. According to the materials, the restaurant will serve lunch in the dining room and in the adjacent kiosk (from which Duane Park has sold ice cream in summers past). Vote: 7-0.
LIQUOR-LICENSE APPLICATION FOR FILOXENIA AT 458 GREENWICH
Filoxenia (and not Filioxenia as on the agenda) means “hospitality” in Greek, so it’s no surprise that the restaurant taking over Turks & Frogs will be Greek. The menu disappeared before I could get my hands on it, but I did hear it has tzatziki on it, so we may be in classic Greek territory. The owner is Tom Giulamoukis (that’s a best guess at the spelling). He has 10 restaurants in New York, including Goodburger on Maiden Lane, but this is the first one that will be nicer than “fast casual.” He said to expect a mild renovation inside—a paint job and new fabric on the banquettes—and he’ll be applying to renew the outside four tables. The hours were never mentioned, which means they must not be controversial. Vote: 7-0.
STREET-ACTIVITY PERMIT: WASHINGTON MARKET SCHOOL SPRING FLING
The school is planning a street fair with “locals business donating stuff” and “kids selling things” on Duane between W. Broadway and Church on Saturday, May 4. Vote: 7-0.
STREET-ACTIVITY PERMIT: BASTILLE DAY 2013
A rep from Friends of Finn Square was requesting a permit for Thursday, July 11, for the more-or-less annual Bastille Day celebration outside Cercle Rouge. It’s not held on July 14 because there’s a bigger party in Brooklyn that day. Vote: 7-0.
STREET-ACTIVITY PERMIT: PATH GREENMARKET
Same as it has been, on W. Broadway between Park Place and Barclay; year round on Tuesdays. Vote: 7-0.
SIDEWALK-CAFÉ LICENSE RENEWAL FOR LOCANDA VERDE
Locanda Verde is evidently allowed to have two-tops along N. Moore, but third seats have been spotted now and again. When asked about it, the restaurant’s rep said “Guests do it,” as if Locanda Verde has never said no. (It says no to me often enough! “May I have something besides apple butter for my toast?” No. “May I have coffee and a dessert in the middle of the afternoon at one of your tables?” No, you can only sit at the bar.) Then a committee member complained about all the plants outside (“It looks like a rain forest!”), pointing out that there’s not much room between the plants and the concrete-less area around a nearby tree, calling it an unsafe situation. The restaurant agreed to abide by regulations. Vote: 6-1.
SIDEWALK-CAFÉ LICENSE FOR AAMANNS-COPENHAGEN
After a considerable amount of time was spent determining the location of Aamanns-Copenhagen—at the corner of Laight and St. Johns Lane, across from Albert Capsouto Park and behind Maserati of Manhattan—the committee wrestled with the idea of allowing sidewalk seating on a side street, something it does not generally do anymore. The restaurant’s lawyer said Aamanns is a “neighborhood restaurant,” while one committee member said the area is “not neighborhoody at all,” presenting a conundrum of sorts…. While it is sort of a lost area of Tribeca for residents, it’s less so if you work in northwest Tribeca—I often walk Howard along Laight in the mornings, and a surprising number of people exit the A/C/E station at St. Johns Lane then head over the pedestrian bridge. Aamanns agreed not to put tables or chairs near the corner. Vote: 6-0-1 (the abstention was because one member felt uncomfortable with the sidewalk-café regulations being unformed).