Il Matto Answers

From left: Il Matto’s lawyer, co-owner Gian Perugini, and chef Matteo Boglione

The proprietors of Il Matto took their new plans before the CB1 Tribeca committee last night, and it was a little ugly—not just in the traditional neighbors-vs.-owners way, but in the manner the restaurant’s lawyer hung chef Matteo Boglione out to dry. “The whole room didn’t work,” he said, explaining why the bar will be moving to the rear of the room, instead of flanking the stairs at the entrance. “If you’ve ever been there, you know what I’m talking about. It was designed by Matteo’s Italian designer friends, who I’m sure know how to design Italian furniture showrooms.” (The disdain in the phrase “Italian designer friends” was palpable.) And later: “Gian [Perugini] and his father will be taking a much more active role. Before, Matteo was distracted.” Boglione looked miserable.

But the tour of guilt and shame had evidently started the night before, when Gian and Matteo met with neighbors. At that point, the Il Matto folks agreed to withdraw the DJ part of the application. And while they had hoped to stay open till 2 a.m. on weekends, they came to the CB1 meeting asking for midnight from Monday to Thursday, 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 p.m. on Sunday. (The restaurant is currently allowed to serve liquor until 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on Friday and Saturday.) They said they’d be adding soundproofing as part of the renovation.

The neighbors who showed up do not think the new hours are a good idea. Alex Lloyd, who lives directly above the restaurant, told of his six-month battle to get Il Matto to move the speakers off the ceiling and to turn down the music in general. (“You could hear lyrics,” he said. “I’ve called down and said, ‘Guys, I’m sick of that Outkast song. Can you change it?'”) He said the building was “adamantly opposed” to the changes, and that the residents were upset that the restaurant hadn’t approached them about the proposed changes. “It’s a failing restaurant trying to become a bar,” he concluded, and given the restaurant’s unwillingness to work with neighbors in the past, he saw no reason to extend trust. “That’s something you earn.”

(It was around this point that one of the committee members announced that Il Matto was different from Petraraca—which someone had brought up as an example of a good neighbor—because “Petrarca is on an avenue and Il Matto is in the middle of the block!”)

The restaurant’s request for approval to move the bar met with no resistance, but the later hours were unanimously rejected.

But the battles may not be over. Afterward, I overheard a CB1 official say that Il Matto would be soon be petitioning for sidewalk seating….



  1. Any news on the duane street bar in the capital electronics space?
    Did they shoot it down?

  2. There’s no word on the bar at 116 Duane. CB1 Tribeca discouraged the idea when the owner’s lawyer tested the water, but it wasn’t a formal request. All we can do is wait to see if he actually applies for a liquor license for the space. I’d be surprised if does, but stranger things have happened….