Monday, November 15, 2010

Diablo Royale Este owner blasts the 'blasphemous lies' of residents, invites the State Liquor Authority to investigate


A discussion of Diablo Royale Este prompted a heated exchange during tonight's CB3/SLA subcommittee meeting between owner Jason Hennings and Avenue A residents.

Hennings and his attorney were present to discuss a review of the stipulations that the bi-level Mexican-themed bar and eatery at 169 Avenue A agreed to upon being approved for a liquor license. The restaurant opened in May. Among other things, it is stated the bar must closes its 18x20 backyard space by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends.

Several Avenue A residents were on hand (many carrying signs reading "Northern Avenue A says No More") to discuss ongoing issues with the bar, including noise and overcrowding. (And several people brought up the Sept. 5 Boats 'N Hoes bash!) Residents also claim that the backyard stays open beyond its stated hours.



Several residents spoke in front of the committee about the crowds on the sidewalk. Avenue A resident Shawn Chittle recounted how he had to walk on Avenue A to catch the 14A because the sidewalks were so full. When he turned to look, the bus' rearview mirror clipped him in the forehead, causing a deep gash. Upon hearing this, Hennings was seen smiling, laughing and shaking his head, which prompted an angry reaction from Chittle.

Avenue A resident Andrew Coamey said that during the bar's Halloween party, Hennings allegedly approached him on the sidewalk ... that he would see him in 10 years and Coamey "would still be complaining about gentrification." At the time of the confrontation, Hennings was dressed as a gladiator.

After hearing a handful of residents speak out, Hennings called their claims "blasphemous lies." He apologized to the committee for being so upset, but that sitting there and hearing the residents was "angst provoking."

"I'm laughing at some of the stories that I hear." He said that not only does he own Diablo Royale Este, but he also manages the space. He estimates he's there 100 hours a week.

Hennings said that he has only ever received one complaint from residents. He said the Boats N' Hoes bash wasn't their party; that an NYU student had rented out the space and misled the bar on his intentions.

Hennings later singled out Coamey, who he described as a "full-time activist." Coamey quickly stood up and noted that the is the senior vice president for housing and chief financial officer of Housing Works Inc., overseeing 600 employees and a $50 million budget.

Acting committee chair Herman F. Hewitt asked Hennings if Diablo Royale Este operates as a restaurant. He said that they did, and he had his executive chef on hand as well. Hennings estimates that he spends 20 hours a week working on new recipes for the restaurant with his chef.

The committee decided to recommend sending a letter to the State Liquor Authority to investigate Diablo Royale's various stipulations and claims. Committee member David McWater asked Hennings if he would voluntarily agree to stop using the backyard. If he did so, then the committee wouldn't send a letter to the SLA.

"I'm happy to be investigated," Hennings said. He wanted the fact that he welcomed the investigation to be noted in the letter. Several times Hennings mentioned that he had surveillance cameras in the backyard, and that the committee could review the video.

Also on the docket: The committee voted down Jevan Damadian's plans to reopen 34 Avenue A, the onetime home of Aces and Eights....ditto for the "restaurant for the senses" planned in the old Superdive space.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Diablo Royale Este opens today: features two bars, one screening room and spit-roast pigs in the backyard

31 comments:

Shawn Chittle said...

"I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don't believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn't want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I'm not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn't know how to return the treatment."

- Malcolm X

Marty Wombacher said...

@Shawn Chittle: GREAT quote!

Anonymous said...

"The committee voted down Jevan Damadian's plans to reopen 34 Avenue A, the onetime home of Aces and Eights....ditto for the "restaurant for the senses" planned in the old Superdive space."

Bam! And with that, the suspicious 'restaurant for the senses' weirdos can look for some other site to procure. NEXT!

Morgan Tsvangirai said...

I don't understand how a representative of this bar thinks showing disrespect and contempt to the community board is at all beneficial to the future of his business. This bar is already on the bad side of the community why the fuck does he think it's a good idea to press it further?

Anonymous said...

I've never seen anyone eating in Diablo. It's supposed to be a restaurant isn't it ?

Anonymous said...

I vote with my wallet, and I don't patronize places like Diablo. We need to support local businesses that show respect for the community. I'd rather spend my cash across the street at Orologio.

Anonymous said...

I know and worked with Andrew Coamey. He is one of the most respected, responsible, and highly-regarded people in the entire non-profit universe - nationwide. And yes, he is activist - a very good one, in fact. If anyone doubts his testimony over this bar hag, Hennings, and his paid henchmen, they are sorely mistaken. This is another case of a Sin-Sin club in the making, and Diablo needs to be severely fined, further restricted in their operations and then closed down if they don't abide by the rules and respect the neighbors that have lived there 30+ years.

EVGayBear said...

If I was a bar owner in a neighborhood, I damn well would go out of my way to treat the residents nearest my saloon with the utmost of respect. Why wouldn't you want to build a loyal LOCAL following? This is why I go to places like Mona's, who don't depend on the B&T crowd to make it!! Saying the hell with your neighbors and hoping for the continued influx of thrillseekers from other places is risky at best. Soon enough, they'll move on to the next flavor of the month, and your local base wants nothing to do with you. FOr someone who claims he is a lifelong restauranteur, Mr. Diablo Royale Este's community relations skills could use a brush up.

Rocky Raccoon said...

Rocky knows a thing or two about snakes and this guy sounds like a few that live near his den in the park. They make a buck by selling rotten apples, bad guacamole, soggy tacos, and hopsicles to tourists who took a cab into the garden of eden. The tourists then stagger into the street in their too short skirts and too high heels, step on Rocky's tail and piss on his den. All the while the snake grins then slithers into his hole with a wad of cash in his fangs. Rocky sees their type every day and they don't last very long in Alphabet City, because the raccoons in Alphabet aren't afraid of snakes.

Anonymous said...

@EVGayBear - couldn't agree with you more and how many real restauranteurs wear Gladiator costumes? Just Say No To Diablo. Spend your money at Lucy's or Mona's or Hi Fi - places that have real roots here and actually give a shit about the hood.

Anonymous said...

How dare Jason Hennings trash HI-Fi at the CB meeting. That's our bar. We all know and love Mike.

Cookiepuss said...

The owner of Orologio, who also owns Cafe Pic Me Up is a terrific guy. Cafe Pick Me Up is a real classic bohemian cafe. I see a lot of long time East Villagers in there. Yunnies and fratties don't go there. Did you ever see this older gentleman who hangs out there. He has white hair, glasses, and is always reading the newspaper. I love him. He's been around here for a really long time. Years ago there was a major fire at Cafe Pic Me Up and when I spoke with the owner on the street the thing that he was most upset about was that he was going to have to lay off some employees. Orologio is a real local place too with its bohemian decor, warm vibe and affordable pricing.

Greenwich Village was traditionally a place of cafes. That's where it all started. People would talk and tell stories, discuss books, music, politics, etc. People didn't cook. People lived cheap and ate cheap.

The East Village is still a village with its small buildings and blinding sunlight. This area is conducive to cafes serving light fare. Not everybody in this area can afford to drop $80 at Back Forty on a Tuesday night because they are hungry. At Hearth you can order a steak for $75.

Rich people who live in the area who love and appreciate the area need to realize that upscale restaurants will bring celebrities, so just say no! Theres plenty to eat over here. No more upscale restaurants.

First they took over Tribeca, then the West Village, after an entire generation of queer men were annihilated, then they annihilated the Bowery and beyond and now they want us.

Please is Cynthia Nixon really moving here because her show was a major catalyst towards our demise. I saw Matthew Modine at the Theater for the new city when I went to vote. We don't want to homogenize.


Other places that will kill us are these themed lounge/restaurant monstrosities like Diablo Royale Este.

Kurt said...

"Other places that will kill us are these themed lounge/restaurant monstrosities like Diablo Royale Este."

So would you have been mad at the space that was in the Holiday when it was a Moroccan themed bar?

Cookiepuss said...

Where do you hang out Kurt at Diablo Royale Este, Death and Company, Cienfuegos, Mayahuel,The Bourgeois Pig, Bedlam...

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for someone to open a place with a French Revolution theme with guillotines and waiters dressed as Marie Antoinette

Off with the heads of the peasants!

Anonymous said...

You people are pathetic. Get over yourselves, and stop with all of the lies. The world does not revolve around you. WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

ps i was laughing when i heard he got hit by the bus too. hahahhaha

Kurt said...

@Cookiepuss, I've never stepped foot in any of those places but I'm also judgmental enough to tell an entire neighborhood how and what they should eat and what to do. Your statement about how the Village has always been a place of cafes for people to "talk and tell stories, discuss books, music, politics, etc" is just ridiculous. You conveniently forget that before that period this was, and in many ways still, a working class neighborhood and people really didn't have time to indulge in your ideal. And the idea that people didn't cook in the Village is just laughable. Did the butchers and markets only cater to the restaurants?

I just wanted to point out that theme bars have been around for a lot longer than Diablo Royale but if you really want to get into it I'll also point out that you entire post was moronic.

Anonymous said...

@Kurt get an education and read some Burroughs

Cookiepiss said Greenwhich Village and in terms of working class people they are becoming a dying breed around here. There is alot of supportive and or public housing for people in this area or luxury housing which is taking over,
but the people in the middle can't afford to live here anymore and there aren't to tell you the truth many butchers or markets,
and theme bars yeah I know Vegas Atlantic City Reno

Kurt said...

@Anon 11:09, so there was no Greenwhich (sic) Village before William Burroughs? Great to know, thanks.

glamma said...

i cannot believe that when shawn described the horrific injury he sustained, hennings had to gall to laugh. WOW. well dude... karma will get us all.

Cookiepuss said...

I hate celebrities. No doubt some celebrities do alot for charity but they've been the worse culprits in terms of gentrification in NYC, particularly downtown. Half of them have their slimy hands in high end restaurants and real estate. People like Di Niro.

First they took over Tribeca, then the West Village, after an entire generation of queer men were annihilated, then they annihilated the Bowery and beyond and now they want us.

The only one who I know of who has done anything directly towards saving our communities is Bette Midler.
For every garden she has saved that's one less Ben Shaoul building and the gardens remain for the people.

Celebrities reap the rewards of gentrification and do nothing about the crisis.

Rocky Raccoon said...

@Cookiepuss - Right On - People Over Profits
@Kurt - Rocky has been here for a long time and theme bars did not litter the landscape like they do now. You are missing the entire point of the conversation which is that a village needs businesses that cater to the residents of the community. Tell me how a place like Diablo does that - have you checked out the two tacos for 16 bucks. Your comment about working class people shows you are out of touch. Working class people are being driven out of the neighborhood every day - and have you walked the streets lately an seen that all the butchers are gone and replaced by themed bars and restaurants. If you want to live in the meatpacking district then keep supporting the bars and restaurants because that is all we will have soon if folks don't do something about it. What makes a neighborhood is a diversity of people, a diversity of businesses and the free exchange of ideas. So find the place you love to shop, get a cheap meal or a cup of coffee and spend your money there now, because tomorrow it may be gone and replaced by another lounge. Rocky met a friend on the street this morning who told me she had to wipe the puke off the feet of her dog Sunday morning after they stepped in the gift the folks who were visiting us on Saturday night left behind.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:52, so which bar or lounge owner might you be

Kurt said...

@Rocky, please reply to what I actually said instend of what you think I said.

Rocky Raccoon said...

@Kurt - "please reply to what I actually said instend (sic) of what you think I said." Let Rocky step out of his den and take the high ground here and just ask a simple question. Do you believe that places like Diablo are really an asset to the community and add to the vibrancy and spirit that hopefully you agree we all came here for? I don't see anything wrong with some of the other posts that suggest we should frequent businesses like Mona's(EV Gay Bear), Orolgio(Anon 1:17pm),Cafe Pick Me Up(Cookiepuss), instead of places where ownership seems to have little if no regard for the negative impact they are having on local residents.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa! @anon 3:19 pm, Whaddya mean he trashed Hi-Fi at the meeting? I wasn't at the meeting, and grieve didn't mention this in the recap. What happened?

Kurt said...

@Rocky, Again, what did I say in any of my post for you to ask me these questions? I didn't post anything pro or con about Diablo Royale. Do I believe Diablo Royale is an asset to the community? I have no idea. I know nothing about them. I've never been there, I don't know who works there and I don't know what the owners do with their money.

Did I suggest people go to one business over the other? No. You read into my post what you wanted. I never said anything you suggested.

EVGayBear said...

Has ANYONE ever actually been to this place????? I don't know ANYONE who has ever been here. This doesn't make it a bad place, maybe just not a place for people who live here.

Jill said...

Just to answer the question about HiFi. At the meeting, Hennings blamed HiFi for the crowds on the sidewalk and blocking residents' doors.

Anonymous said...

Wow you people really need to get a life huh?! First of all the Village is an ever evolving neighborhood and for many years after the white flight of the late 1960's it was a fucking mess full of junkies, homeless and criminals and trust me most of you little whiny bitches would have never lived in the ville back in the day let alone patronized it for any reason without being mugged by me and my friends. Why would anyone with half abrain in their head live on any Ave in NYC without expecting and excepting the fact that it is desiginated as a commercial zone full of restaurants & bars full of loud drunk young people just having fun. I guess most of you never had fun when you were young because you are a nerd, or ugly and are too poor to move to a better quieter area probably cause you are living in a rent stabilized shit hole apt that you got from your mom or grandma. If you were real NYers like myself you would understand that NYC is in a constant mode of change and for the most part good change and if you dont like it go back to the crap hole you came from, I'm sure they will be so happy tosee you again! NOT!

Anonymous said...

Kinda have to agree with Anonymous' comments above ("Wow you people really need to get a life.."). I've lived and owned an apartment on north Avenue A for over 20 years now and it seems like my neighbors are always up in arms about some local nightlife establishment. I have a folks in my own building who complain all the time about bars being too loud, nightlife out of control, asking me to sign petitions and such (Heathers is a favourite target). I always wonder why, given all the different neighborhoods in Manhattan, they chose to buy a home on Avenue A if they're so put out by what is arguably a signature characteristic of the East Village: college students and bars. I admit, bars need to be monitored and in some cases, regulated a bit more...but come on...where do you think you are?