I'm picking up where I left off last night...
During a nearly four-hour meeting in a steamy PS 20 auditorium last night, the full Community Board 3 denied Frank Prisinzano's application to open a fast-food style Italian restaurant on Avenue A and Second Street. Raguboy would have seated 121 people inside and another 44 people on a sidewalk cafe at the former Graceland grocery.
As you know, the CB3/SLA committee members were deadlocked in their vote last week. Prisinzano, who owns EV Italian empire Frank, Lil' Frankie's and Supper, was on hand as were several of the residents who spoke out against another liquor license on Avenue A during the CB3/SLA meeting. (You can read all that drama here.)
Several people spoke for and against a restaurant here... themes were the same... "we live in a noise hell" ... there's a lack of retail diversity in the East Village... too many liquor licenses on that stretch of Avenue A already...
CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer, who lives nearby, also spoke out against the application as she did at last week's CB3/SLA meeting... There were several outraged people in the auditorium who were upset that Stetzer continued to talk beyond the alloted two minutes designated for each speaker.
Meanwhile, the board also denied Keith Masco's attempt to open Sea on A, a fish market/restaurant at 171 Avenue A. It came down to the same issues: Too many liquor licenses in the area. (You can read more about the plans here.)
There was also discussion on the Gaelic gastro pub, Percy's Tavern, taking over the former Al Diwan space on Avenue A and 13th Street. The CB3/SLA committee approved this last week. However, a few board members had questions about stipulations (closing time, etc.). You can read all about Percy's here.
It was an agonizingly long wait for the applicants... After the board voted on the license applications, other reports were heard, such as the Arts & Cultural Affairs Task Force... all important, but... then the votes came in... For Raguboy, 28 board members were against; 11 for and one person abstained. As for the fishmonger, 23 were against and 17 were for...24 were in favor of Percy's; 16 against.
The board also approved Little Printz Cafe, a "global Jewish" restaurant that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at the former Chabelas space at 40 Avenue B. The CB3/SLA committee approved this last week.
During the sometimes contentious meeting, board member David McWater stood up in the audience and questioned the entire SLA process, which he called at different times "unfair," ludicrous" and "dysfunctional." He did make many valid points concerning licenses seemingly arbitrarily being issued within the so-called resolution area.
Said McWater, "We have to find a way to be consistent again." There's more to all this, which we'll explore in another post...
Previously on EV Grieve:
"All uses considered" at former Graceland
Owners of Frank-Lil' Frankie's-Supper taking over the former Graceland space