Monday, November 13, 2023

On the CB3-SLA docket: Applicants for the former Mermaid Inn and Cheese Grille spaces

Photo of the former Mermaid Inn by Steven 

Here's a look at a few of the many applicants who will appear before Community Board 3's SLA committee this evening. (See below for info on watching online — or in person.) 

New Liquor License Applications 

 • Wonderland (Feichangchengong Inc), 96 2nd Ave. (op) 

Wonderland is the proposed restaurant offering an "Asian fusion menu" at the former Mermaid Inn space on Second Avenue between Fifth Street and Sixth Street. 

The proprietors also operate Chili, a Sichuan restaurant on East 37th Street. You can find their CB3 questionnaire here, which includes a sample menu and proposed hours of operation (indoors, 4 p.m. to midnight daily). 

The Mermaid Inn arrived in the East Village in 2003, with several outposts to follow... they closed here during the pandemic, only to reopen then close again in the fall of 2022 after just seven weeks. 

• Sunflower East Village (RJM Hospitality LLC), 88 2nd Ave (op) 

This is a holdover from last month... we previously noted that the NE corner of Second Avenue and Fifth Street will be home to another location of Sunflower, a cafe serving breakfast-brunch on Third Avenue between 25th Street and 26th Street. 

The EV location looks to have the same menu/vibe, though with dinner service. Find the questionnaire here

Sunflower is owned and operated by the same folks as the previous tenant here, Eros, the Greek restaurant that quietly closed in August 2022 when a "temporarily closed" sign arrived on the front door. Eros took over for their diner concept, The Kitchen Sink, in September 2021.
• Idleflora LLC, 188 Allen St (op) 

Idleflora is the name of the proposed "plant-based tea shop and tapas bistro" at 188 Allen St. between Stanton and Houston. 

According to the questionnaire on the CB3 website, the space will also include a retail flower shop. The proprietors operate several East Village restaurants, including Shinn East and Thirteen Water on Seventh Street and Appas Pizza on First Avenue. 

This long, narrow storefront was previously home to Cheese Grille for nearly 10 years

• Made in Houston Inc, 205 Allen St (wb) 

The owners of C as in Charlie on Bleecker Street are behind this new restaurant serving Korean cuisine from the SW corner of Allen Street and Houston. You can find the questionnaire here, which includes a sample menu and other details. 

The arrival of the unnamed new restaurant means the end of Mi Salsa Kitchen, the Cuban eatery, at this location. (We contacted Mi Salsa for info about a possible relocation.)

Items not heard at Committee
• MT 121 St Marks LLC, 123 St Marks Pl (wb) 

This applicant will not be heard this evening — they've already received conditional approval for a beer-wine license based on their method of operation, hours (11 a.m. to midnight daily), etc. 

The owners of Chicago's Moody Tongue Brewing Company are behind this venture, a still unnamed Japanese restaurant that will serve a variety of sushi platters and entrees. You can find more details and a sample menu here

The team opened Moody Tongue Sushi on West 10th Street earlier this year. The Dining Room at Moody Tongue in Chicago boasts two Michelin stars. 

This space on St. Mark's Place just west of Avenue A last housed Pop's Eat-Rite, the veggie burger joint.


Tonight's meeting starts at 6:30. Find the Zoom link here. This is a hybrid meeting, and there is limited seating available for the public — the first 15 people who show up at the Community Board 3 Office, 59 E. Fourth St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery.  


Roz said...

To be accurate, Sunflower Cafe on Third Ave. is between 24th & 25th Streets, not 25th & 26th.

Neighbor said...

Hope that is what the Sunflower menu actually looks like! We need more breakfast spots, especially with 7am openings.

Anonymous said...

Followers of SLA Committee issues should also check out the CB3 calendar link for the Land Use Committee on the 15th. There is an informational video on the City's "City of Yes" economic development proposal that includes what looks like a pretty big change zoning change related to nightlife. It's Proposal 8, about 23 minutes into the video.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the heads up on the zoning change regarding nightlife. There are so many more liqour licenses being granted in the EV, which was considered over saturated with liquor licenses 20 years ago. My neighborhood, lower Second Avenue has so many bar restaurants now the quality of life was better back in the 80s, give junkies over partying transients anytime.

Anonymous said...

French toast for $21??? Sunflower’s menu is way too expensive for this neighborhood. It will close within a year unless they readjust. For those prices you can semi fine-dine in this area. For comparison French toast is $14 at Veselka. And they are a food destination serving top of the scale diner foods around here.

Neighbor said...

Come on, 3:04pm. Remedy Diner is charging $21 for a similar meal as the french toast on the Sunflower menu and Veselka french toast is $14 plus $6 for bacon (which is what the meal you're focused on offers). Let's not root against restaurants from the outset!

yetanothercommenter said...

@10:22 AM

Partying transients may be a lot louder but they won't rob you in the street or attempt to break into your apartment. Remember when every parked car had a "no radio" sign on the dashboard?

Anonymous said...

Diners became ridiculously expensive all around town, basically priced as other superior restaurants, and then there's the big wonder on how they all disappear.

Anonymous said...

Been going to Veselka for 40 years. I’ve made peace with paying top dollar for East European “peasant” food (my own background). It’s labor-intensive, reliably good, and how can you put a price on nostalgia? That said, I was greatly disappointed recently, when a server refused to bring my family the excellent homemade bread (and butter pats) that had always come with a meal, despite the fact that the four of us had just ordered $130 worth of pierogi, stuffed cabbage, milkshakes, soup, pancakes and bacon. I realize that even many of the best places no longer set out free bread baskets. But it always made Veselka feel a little more like visiting extended family. And it would be highly unusual to dine with an East European family, and not be offered bread and butter to start a meal.