By Maya Mau
At their February 2022 meeting, the Community Board 7 Business & Consumer Issues Committee approved four new liquor licenses for restaurants on the Upper West Side. The committee members expressed a lot of excitement about the places whose licenses they approved.
Olympic Flame, a diner at 200 West 60th Street (Amsterdam Avenue), has been in the neighborhood for almost 30 years. The prior owner had a license to sell wine and beer without incident, and many of the employees stayed on with the new owner, Hong Liu. Liu held off on applying for the license due to the pandemic, but now sees alcohol as a way to improve her profit margins. She shared the story of her acquisition of the restaurant in 2019. She lost money by taking it over, but when the pandemic hit, she made the decision to continue operating because there is a hospital across the street. One of the only diners open in the area, she said, she served the doctors, nurses, and other emergency workers, offering them free and discounted food. The committee lauded her journey. No entertainment is provided, and there is no record of prior incidents, so the request was overwhelmingly approved.
Haven UWS, a new restaurant at 226 West 79th Street (between Broadway & Amsterdam Avenues), is taking over the space that used to be Burke & Wills, an Australian restaurant. Brian Staub, the owner, has been involved in the hospitality business for many years and an Upper West Sider since 1995. (He mentioned that he frequents Olympic Flame.) Haven UWS will be serving “upscale casual” food, based on American comfort food with playful ethnic twists. For example, they will be serving miso soup with matzoh balls! They will be family friendly, said Staub, who shared his love of the neighborhood where he is raising his own children. The request was approved by the committee.
Hummus Kitchen, 175 West 90th Street (Amsterdam Avenue), is a soon-to-open, full-service restaurant, serving Mediterranean cuisine. It will have both indoor and outdoor seating. There are currently locations on the Upper East Side and Hell’s Kitchen. Sharon Hoota has been running these restaurants since 2008 and has never received a complaint. They are looking forward to expanding their reach in Manhattan. The request was approved by the committee.
Izzy’s BBQ, 660 Amsterdam Avenue (92nd Street), is a kosher barbecue restaurant. They opened at the end of February 2021, and have been operating since without serving alcohol. Izzy’s has another location in Brooklyn. With little discussion, the request was approved by the committee.
The liquor licenses are pending final approval by the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA).