By Alex Israel
A Latin mainstay shared plans to make its way north, new restaurants with backyard patios promised to be good neighbors, and a “culturally insensitive” sign was decommissioned during the June meeting of Community Board 7’s Business & Consumer Issues Committee.
After eight years on 81st Street and more than twenty years in the neighborhood, Calle Ocho is heading north. The Latin restaurant known for its boozy brunch will move into 2756 Broadway (West 106th Street), most recently operated by West End Hall. “We just ended up in a situation where it’s time to find a new space. … The rent has gotten out of control,” explained the owner, who believes the new space—featuring an outdoor patio space in the back—will suit business better. Unlike the beer hall before it, Calle Ocho will continue to operate as primarily a restaurant in its new space.
After fielding noise concerns from a neighboring resident, the committee approved a liquor license application with the same stipulations as the last approval they gave in March 2015—that the patio does not feature music, and closes at 10 P.M. on weeknights and 11 P.M. on weekends.
The operators of Modern Bread and Bagel, which opened at the end of February at 472 Columbus Ave (West 83rd Street), received approval for a liquor license next door at 474 Columbus Avenue. They are expanding their footprint to service more customers than they can currently fit in Modern. While they are currently “still working through the creative process,” according to owner Joshua Borenstein the new restaurant “will probably make some changes [to the Modern Bread and Bagel menu] to appeal more broadly,” by the time they open at the end of July. They also hope to incorporate some of the “natural kitchen angle” of their predecessor, Spring Natural Kitchen.
The owners of Amsterdam Ale House at 340 Amsterdam Ave (76th Street) are opening a second location at 588 Amsterdam Avenue (West 88th Street). “We are not a restaurant. We are a bar that serves food,” said owner Jacob Rabinowitz—an introduction that served as fuel for some more noise-concerned neighbors. Once Rabinowitz agreed to close at 2 A.M. during the weekdays and confirmed he has no intention of using the backyard space, the committee approved his application for a liquor license. Rabinowitz said he will also eventually apply for an outdoor sidewalk café license.
After closing Infirmary on the Upper East Side earlier this year, Dean O’Neill plans to open Pekarna at 592 Amsterdam Avenue (West 89th Street). Featuring a Slovenian-American menu, the restaurant will serve brunch, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. The new restaurant, under construction now, will combine the spaces of Papa John’s/Subway and Amsterdam 99¢ and plans to utilize a small outdoor area in the back.
Irene Christopher, president of the tenant’s association for 200 W. 89th Street and a resident of the building 33 years, summarized the concerns of several people who spoke against the application, listing the potential for “noise, traffic, obstruction, and sanitation” as the basis for her and fellow residents’ disapproval. O’Neill attempted to assuage neighbors’ concerns—and ultimately compelled the committee to approve the liquor license application—by detailing his extensive plans for sound attenuating technology inside and outside, and by agreeing to close at midnight (as opposed to 2 A.M.) from Sunday through Wednesday. But when he revealed how many seats the restaurant would hold—a whopping 330 across two floors—he received a nervous gasp from the crowd.
A number of restaurants received approvals on sidewalk cafés, including the newest addition to the Pickle Hospitality empire, Tiki Chick, at 517 Amsterdam Avenue (West 85th Street).
View this post on Instagram
First taste of Tiki Chick on the final night of Taste Of The Upper West Side. It has been an amazing weekend! This is the first event we ever did 7 years ago and 4 restaurants later. Thank you to the best team in the world for pulling it all together and to the UWS for your support after all these years!! #picklehospitality #tikichick #jacobspickles #maisonpickle #luckypickledumplingco #tuws #uws #upperwestside #community #tiki #tikibar #tikicocktails #cocktails #foodfestival
The Tiki bar-style concept will feature food from the kitchens of sister restaurants Jacob’s Pickles and the Lucky Pickle Dumpling Co. The committee fielded several complaints from locals before granting approval—primarily about the potential for encroachment on the block due to the existing sidewalk cafés outside E’s Bar and Jacob’s Pickles, but also several about the “half-naked woman” recently on the building’s exterior. The sign—deemed “culturally insensitive” by one attendee—has been removed to avoid further controversy and will not be re-installed, according to a representative from Tiki Chick.
Additional application approvals included a new enclosed sidewalk café for Carmine’s at 2450 Broadway (West 90th – 91st Streets), an unenclosed sidewalk café for Gari Columbus at 370 Columbus Avenue (West 77th – 78th Streets), and an unenclosed sidewalk renewal for Arthouse Hotel New York City at 2178 Broadway (West 77th Street).
All committee resolutions will be up for a vote during the next full board meeting on July 2, 2019. Liquor license applications will also need to be reviewed by the SLA for final approval.