A month after he withdrew his application due to concerns about late night noise, Jesse Hartman won the approval of a Community Board 3 committee tonight for a new restaurant at 365 Grand Street. The committee signaled its support for a full liquor license for "Grand Park," a small plates Italian restaurant that will feature a glass enclosed patio. Last month three or four residents spoke out against the project, fearing that the noise from the patio would reverberate up to their apartments in the Seward Park Co-op. But since then, Hartman has been building support in the community and he had an architect draw up plans for a sound-proofed enclosure. About 10 supporters showed up tonight, including the moderators of two neighborhood message boards and the owner of another restaurant a short distance away on Grand Street, Roots & Vines. The supporters told the committee they welcomed the addition of a good restaurant that will breath some life into a part of the street that's all but deserted after dusk. There was no opposition to the restaurant whatsoever, although committee members did express small reservations about a nearby school. The resolution they passed requires Hartman to close his windows after 10pm.
Also tonight, the committee rejected a request from the highly rated Clinton Street restaurant Falai for a full liquor license. The owner of Falai said it was necessary to upgrade from a license that permits the sale of wine only due to the tough economic climate. But Alexandra Militano, chair of the committee, insisted on upholding the community board's resolution severely restricting new liquor licenses in an area of the LES over-saturated with bars and restaurants.
And then there was the continuing saga surrounding the unfinished shell at 179 Ludlow, which, the owners promise, will one day be a boutique hotel. They went before the committee for a third time, pleading their case for a liquor license for a hypothetical restaurant in the, so far, hypothetical hotel. Militano and District Manager Susan Stetzer reminded them about the building's sordid past – a rat infestation, building code violations, etc. – and sent them packing.
We'll have more on all of this tomorrow.