Motorino Team Plans Restaurant at Sunshine Hotel

We have new information this morning about the latest proposal for a high-end restaurant on the ground floor of the Sunshine Hotel, one of the Bowery’s last remaining SRO’s. When Community Board 3’s SLA Committee meets tonight, Motorino chef/owner Mathieu Palombino and his partner, Dimitri Vlahakis, will apparently be making their pitch for opening an 18-table steak house at 241 Bowery, right next to the New Museum.

In June,  CB3 approved a proposal by Ewa Olsen and Christopher Chesnutt of Alta, in the West Village, to open a tapas restaurant (with the unfortunate name SRO) at 245 Bowery (the hotel is actually made up of three adjoining buildings).  Now Palombino, the mastermind behind the highly regarded East Village and Williamsburg Neopolitan pizza parlors, will take his turn.

According to his application (posted on CB3’s web site), the steak house would have a 13-seat bar and would be open until 1am weeknights/2am weekends. By Palombino’s own count, there are 14 liquor licenses within 500 feet of the proposed restaurant. In theory, he’ll be called on to explain the “public benefit” of adding another licensed establishment in this area (see  particulars of the 500 foot law here).

In 2008, an administrative law judge blocked Sunshine Hotel owner Roseann Carone’s bid to demolish the building, saying tenants of the single room occupancy hotel were being harassed. Carone was required to wait three years before making a new request to tear the building down.

The Sunshine has been a focal point of the neighborhood’s gentrification watch for several years. EV Grieve and Bowery Boogie have both documented the dramatic changes taking place, including the demise of Prince Restaurant Equipment at 241 Bowery and the opening of art gallery Salon 94 at 243 Bowery this past summer.