Nosy Neighbor: What’s Going on with 88 Thomas?

What’s going on with 88 Thomas (the old PB & Caviar spot). Awnings just went up. —D.

First, some background. In April of 2010, the building’s owner, Eric Schlagman, went before Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee for a liquor license for a café/bar, specializing in chocolate, that he planned to open in the Hudson Street storefront. J. Crew came along and made a tempting offer, so the space was rented as Crewcuts (and then, a year later, the Ludlow Shop). In December of 2010, Schlagman was back at CB1 Tribeca, saying that he was moving his café around the corner, to 88-90 Thomas. (The committee got skittish because residents across Hudson had previously been vocal about any business possibly keeping them awake at night.) Anyway, nothing happened for two years.

88 thomas door handles8 thomas ventIn October, having noticed that lights that had been installed by the doors, I wondered aloud if something was up. Then, a couple of weeks ago, D. noticed that brown awnings had gone up over the two doors on Thomas. What’s more, the door handles have been changed—the fancy ones pictured here weren’t there before. And a friend pointed out that the vents above the doors are new; indeed, here’s an old photo of the façade, with windows above the doors.

If it were going to be a restaurant of some kind, I’m pretty sure Schlagman would have to come back for a renewal (if CB1 approved his request in 2010—I skipped the full CB1 meeting—and if the establishment plans on serving alcohol).

Then I thought to myself: Even though there are no permits posted, converting the space to a restaurant would probably involve enough work to require filing with the Department of Buildings. Lo and behold, the DOB website says that on July 13, 2012, a permit was filed for “RENOVATE EATING AND DRINKING PLACE (U.G.6 ) AT 1 FLOOR.” Schlagman is listed as the owner.

I was pretty convinced that this is going to be a restaurant, and based on the history (and, unless I missed something, the lack of a liquor license), I would say it’ll be a bakery/café. But when I texted Schlagman at the number on the DOB filing, he replied, “I don’t want you to mislead the neighborhood; there isn’t anything currently opening at 88 Thomas Street. if there’s an interesting development, that I can share with you, I’ll happily let you know.”

Because being pushy is my job, I said, “So the awnings, door handles, and DOB restaurant permit don’t mean anything? Or just don’t mean anything yet?”

“Smoke doesn’t mean fire,” he said.

And so we shall wait. If you see something, say something; and if you know something, whisper it in my ear….

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1 Comment

  1. I had my own fantasy of opening a cafe there, so I hope a) one does open and that b) it works!