One person with more than a passing interest in tomorrow night’s Community Board 3 meeting is this man – Rafik Bouzgarrou, the owner of Angelina Cafe, located at 36 Avenue A. No, he’s not applying for or trying to renew a liquor license. Instead, Rafik’s modest neighborhood spot has become part of the conversation about the controversial proposal for a bar/restaurant/performance space next door, at 34 Avenue A.
Last week, CB3’s SLA Committee failed to agree on a resolution of support or opposition for “Piney Woods,” a new concept from Lower East Side restauranteur Phil Hartman and music promoter Todd Patrick. So it will be up to the full board to decide what to do tomorrow evening about the latest plan for the infamous “Aces & Eights” space (which was also the onetime home of Mo’ Pitkins).
Yesterday we told you about the new restaurant planned for 365 Grand Street, the old "Isabella's" location. This morning Jesse Hartman confirmed he's going before Community Board 3's licensing committee on May 11 to ask for permission to serve alcohol. Hartman is a musician and filmmaker, who along with his brother, Phil, operated "Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction" on Avenue A until it closed a couple of years ago. Phil Hartman runs the "Two Boots" pizza restaurants.
The restaurant will feature an Italian small plates concept. Since the indoor space is very small, he'll make full use of an outdoor area in the back, adjacent to the Seward Park handball courts. Hartman says he plans to enclose the garden so it can be used all year and to cut down on noise.
Hartman and his wife have lived in the neighborhood for 7 years. Since "Mo Pitkin's" closed, he has been working on a film project, "House of Satisfaction."
He's excited about the concept for the restaurant, tentatively called "Grand Park." Unlike several blocks above Delancey (Rivington, Orchard, Ludlow), there are not a lot of dining choices in the immediate area. Hartman says there are stil a lot of details to work out, including building department issues. But he's hopeful everything will fall into place.