Liquor License Approvals Reveal Changes to Neighborhood Favorites and New Restaurant Openings

By Maya Mau

The following restaurants applied for modified or new liquor licenses at CB7’s Business & Consumer Issues Committee meeting on Wednesday, May 11:

Ashoka, an Indian restaurant at 489 Columbus Avenue (between 83rd and 84th Street), applied for a class change. Since opening about five years ago, they have only served beer and wine, but now they hope to serve liquor as well. The committee voted unanimously in favor.

Fred’s, an American burger restaurant at 476 Amsterdam Avenue (83rd Street), applied for a New and Temporary Retail Permit. David, the current owner, plans to continue being the face of the operation, but he and his family are going through health issues, so the official ownership is being transferred. From a customer perspective, everything about Fred’s will stay the same. The committee approved the application and expressed their appreciation for the restaurant.

Gennaro, a fine dining Italian Mediterranean restaurant at 665 Amsterdam Avenue (between 92nd and 93rd street), has had a wine and beer license for its indoors space for many years and hopes to expand that license to a sidewalk cafe and outdoor tent. The restaurant has been open since 1996 and nothing else would be changed. The committee voted unanimously in favor.

Lolo’s on Broadway is opening at 2799 Broadway (at 108th street). Leticia Young, the owner, has been running LoLo’s Seafood Shack on 116th street (between Frederick Douglass Blvd and Manhattan Ave) for eight years. Young describes the new place as a “Cape and Caribbean mashup.” Young’s husband, Raymond Mohan, is the executive chef. They have been in the restaurant industry for decades and are looking forward to opening up the brand “to be more inclusive and to focus on brunch.” The committee approved the application and expressed excitement about Young and Mohan’s newest venture.

Jazz Genius Corporation is opening a spot in the basement of 105 West 72nd Street (Columbus Avenue), with a name to be determined. They applied for a two-year liquid license, and plan on having an “American” menu: comfort food at a reasonable prices. At night, they will feature live jazz trios and quartets. Eventually, they hope to do a jazz brunch on weekends, in addition to a free weekly jazz education program to help teach people about the place of jazz in our culture, and its history. Some members of the community expressed concern about the potential noise, which Marc Rabinowitz (the owner) attempted to mollify by emphasizing plans to soundproof the area. The liquor application was approved by the committee with the understanding that Rabinowitz would develop a comprehensive plan to minimize noise disruption to the community.

The applications will be voted on by the full board on June 7.

Note: At the bottom of the agenda was an entry indicating that a liquor license hearing for “2624-2626 Broadway (West 99th) Metrocinema 1, LLC d/b/a To Be Determined.” We’re expecting an announcement about the development of the Metro Theater very soon!

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    1. Dominic Frigosi says:

      Gennaro’s is far from “fine dining.” It’s casual trattoria food. Nothing more. Nothing less. And let’s be honest…true fine dining doesn’t typically do well in the more residential parts of the UWS. Recall the sad cases of Leonti, Dovetail before it, Ed Brown’s Eighty One, Bill Telepan’s namesake Telepan. There are a few exceptions here and there, mostly around Lincoln Center and Columbus circle, but by and large, Upper West Siders want inexpensive, kid-friendly menus with plenty of stroller parking.

      • Ish says:

        Agreed on Gennaro’s but if you have been there recently you would note that the prices, if not the food, are now in the “fine dining” realm.

        • Nino says:

          Anyone who knows anything about the local dining scene knows that Gennaro is and has been one of the most reliable, inventive, and delicious restaurants on the UWS since it opened over two decades ago. Fine Dining prices are often prix fixe at $150-300 per person – your suggestion that Gennaro prices come anywhere close to this is simply laughable.

      • Via Ventana says:

        Fine dining it’s not. True. And if you think that the food there is “amazing”, have fun and enjoy. But it seems to me ordinary.

    2. Susan says:

      Gennero’s is amazing food. Maybe you haven’t tasted one of the many dishes that really stand out like the fava bean salad (I’ve literally never seen that available at another restaurant and it’s so good) or the warm potato, goat cheese, portobello tart.

    3. Cody says:

      Metro Cinema I, LLC was formed by an officer of Alamo Drafthouse so it appears they are taking another look at this space.If they wanted to keep this confidential you’d think they’d be more careful about their corporate filings, but whatever.

      • JUWS says:

        I would be so happy if this becomes an Alamo Drafthouse. The new location in Fidi is awesome.

      • Sarah says:

        Dangit, you beat me to it.

      • Lookedinthefilings says:

        The guy doesn’t actually work for Alamo anymore, so it’s unlikely that it would be an actual Alamo Drafthouse. But encouraging that his experience was “designing the customer experience” for the company.

    4. Nick says:

      Telepan was open for 10 years to the delight of many Upper West Siders- I’d say that’s a pretty good fine dining run.

      • Ethan says:

        Telepan was as good is it gets for UWS. Everything about it was well thought-out and professional: menu, service, atmosphere. Those were the days.

    5. NY10024 says:

      I hope David’s family is doing OK. We love Fred’s and David is the best. Sending our best wishes to him and the whole gang at Fred’s.

    6. Barney Rose says:

      Gennaro sucks because they don’t take credit cards.

    7. Haracopos, John says:

      I live in the same building as Gennaro and when they first opened I was truly excited to have them downstairs but after trying it 3 times over the years I must say that I just don’t understand the attraction… the food is far from special and the staff one time was ornery and twice was downright nasty… that said, I will also add that as a co-op owner on the property, when issues of noise and other problems arose in the past the owner was uncompromising and not neighborly in any way! I wouldn’t cross their threshold again if you paid me.

    8. Roberta says:

      Does anyone know the status of the liquor license for Coppola’s Restaurant on W79? There seems to be confusing stories that make no sense. And meanwhile they must be losing a lot of business because of that.

    9. Virginia says:

      Ashoka doesn’t need more alcohol, they need a new chef. They stink. I’ve given them several tries over the years. There’s a reason they’re always empty and it’s not for lack of a cocktail.

    10. Nofinedininghere says:

      “Fine dining” does not exist north of 79th street. Restaurants have to cater to newlyweds or nearly deads. It is simply a matter of economics. Restaurants have tried, but with the cost of rent, staffing and food prices it is impossible to bring fine dining to a demographic that simply cannot afford it. Lincoln Square is just about the only place it really works and that is largely because of Lincoln Center.

      • Babs says:

        Who are the “near dead’s”? People who are terminally ill or people who are elderly? How do you refer to other groups in the same dismissive and disrespectful language? Rethink your attitude – not cool

      • Janice says:

        So disrespectful. My sympathies to your poor mom. I’m sure she did her best and look how you have turned out. Disgraceful, sad and pathetic.

        • Nevets K says:

          Hey, nofinedininghere!
          I liked your comment!
          I don’t mind being referred to as “nearly dead.” Really! It snaps me out of my chronic denial! And I was once (I think?) a “newlywed.”
          And look what you’ve had to withstand from
          the hypercritical crowd : “So disrespectful. My sympathies to your poor mom. I’m sure she did her best and look how you have turned out.” All for saying “nearly dead,” which is, of course, the truth. As if the writer of that disparagement has any sympathy to impart!
          Keep calling ‘em as you see ‘em!
          And, yeah, Gennaro’s is okay, I’m glad they’re still in business, but I doubt anyone travels more than twenty blocks to get there. Still, what’s so good about our neighborhood is that so little is a destination.

    11. min says:

      Any restaurant with a liquor license can sell “to-go” drinks?

    12. AL says:

      Gennaros too loud – last time I went there 25 years ago when they moved to that space I had to scream to my table mates to be heard. Never went back. Ashoka – I ordered from there two nites ago. It was excellent.

    13. Kathleen says:

      Different strokes for different folks.

    14. Ethan says:

      Re the Jazz Genius Corporation application: “Some members of the community expressed concern about the potential noise, which . . . the owner attempted to mollify by emphasizing plans to soundproof the area.”

      Unless they are willing to spend hundreds of thousands, “soundproofing” will not work, I guaranty.

    15. janis says:

      We would be at Gennaro’s almost once a week. When outdoor dining was started during Covid, we decided to stop by, this was before they built the “shed.”

      We had our wine, and appetizer and were waiting for our main course, when the waiter told us we had to move as we were at a table for four, and there were three people waiting for a table.
      IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR MEAL? He schlepped our dishes north to in front of the hairdresser’s.

      We will never be back.

      And frankly restaurants that do not accept credit cards normally charge less for their meal as they don’t have to pay the extra 2 ½% to 3 ½% charged by the Credit Card company. Not the case with Gennaro.