By Alex Israel
A speakeasy, a salad chain, two unrelated Fredas, and some of the neighborhood’s favorite Amsterdam dives showed up to receive approvals on liquor license and sidewalk café application during the March meeting of Community Board 7’s Business & Consumer Issues Committee.
A restaurant and speakeasy is planning to reopen at the former location of the Manhattan Cricket Club at 226 West 79th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam). Joaquin Martinez, the new owner, worked at the Cricket Club for years prior to its closure, and plans to utilize both the ground and first floor upon reopening. Though he is in the midst of determining a new name for the business, Martinez said it will maintain the same method of operation. A local resident chimed in to vouch for Martinez, calling him a “vital hospitality entrepreneur, manager, and professional,” in the neighborhood for the last 15 years.
Jack’s Wife Freda, a full-service family-style restaurant coming to 152 Columbus Avenue (West 66th Street) received approval for its liquor license. The restaurant will have 19 tables with 40 seats, as well as an 8-seat bar. With several locations throughout lower Manhattan, the restaurant has a history going back nearly ten years. “They’ve been making their way uptown, and they’ve finally arrived,” said a representative. Well, almost—the owner said they hope to open on the Upper West Side by the end of the year.
Unrelated to the above, Freda’s Cuisine, a family-run Caribbean restaurant at 993 Columbus Avenue (West 109th Street) received approval on a liquor license application for the first time. While they’ve been “part of the community” for the last 10 years, according to a representative, they have not previously served beer, wine, or liquor.
The committee also approved several sidewalk café applications, just in time for spring: sweetgreen, the fast casual salad chain, received approval to install a new unenclosed sidewalk café with 12 tables and 26 seats at 311 Amsterdam Avenue (West 75th Street); La Sirena at 416 Amsterdam Avenue (West 80th Street), Piccolo Cafe at 313 Amsterdam Avenue (West 75th Street), Motorino at 510 Columbus Avenue (West 85th Street), and The Dead Poet at 450 Amsterdam Avenue (West 81st–82nd Streets) received approvals on their unenclosed sidewalk café renewals; and St. James Gate at 441 Amsterdam Avenue (West 81st Street), received approval on its enclosed sidewalk café renewal.
A new sidewalk café application for Lilly’s Cocktail & Wine Bar at 50 West 72nd Street (Columbus Avenue) was disapproved by the committee, as representatives did not appear at the meeting.
All committee resolutions will be up for a vote during the next full board meeting on April 7, 2020. Liquor license applications will also need to be reviewed by the State Liquor Authority (SLA) for final approval.