Jan. 26, 2016 By Michael Florio
Community Board 3 shot down two liquor license applications Thursday evening following concerns expressed by the NYPD.
The first, La Nueva Escuelita Bar, located at 78-07 Roosevelt Ave., was applying to have its full liquor license renewed.
The Board’s Business/Economic Development Committee, which handles liquor license applications, recommended that the Board deny the application due to criminal activity.
Committee co-chair Edmund Rosenbaum said that six people were sought for assault at the location last year.
Most recently, three men, who remain at large, approached a 21-year-old victim who was standing in front of the establishment on Dec. 19. One of the men sliced the victim’s hand with a knife.
“For these reasons the NYPD believes this establishment is a risk,” Rosenbaum said. “The NYPD had a mobile unit parked outside this establishment for several weeks.”
A resident who lives near the establishment wrote a letter to the Board, stating that “they are not good neighbors.” The letter complained about litter being thrown in front of the bar and not being cleaned up.
“The barely dressed women standing outside the establishment during the warmer weather to attract customers objectifies women,” the letter continued. “It is not a business model we should support as a community.”
The establishment did not have a representative at the meeting.
The full board voted to oppose its renewal. Its decision will be submitted to the State Liquor Authority, which will ultimately render a decision.
Another establishment, Esquina 96, an Ecuadorian restaurant that will open at 95-07 31st Ave., also had its application for a full liquor license denied by the Board.
The restaurant is seeking a beer, wine and liquor license.
A representative for the Esquina 96 said that the restaurant would seat 46 people and be open from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. The late hours raised concerns for Board members, since the restaurant is located in a residential area.
“They know their customers and they tend to come in late for dinner,” the representative said.
Nevertheless, CB 3 ultimately voted against the liquor license, due in part to safety concerns from the NYPD given the establishment’s location in a residential area.
Not every applicant received the thumbs down.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, which opened last month at 87-10 Northern Blvd., was applying for a full liquor license to serve select bottled beers and two kinds of margaritas.
A representative for Chipotle said this is standard for all its restaurants, aside from those located in shopping malls.
Despite Board members questioning the E. Coli outbreak that plagued several Chipotle restaurants around the country, as well as the restaurant being located in the same building as a nursery school, CB 3 ultimately voted to recommend approval of this application.
The community board also approved Swim Two Birds, a French casual cuisine restaurant that aims to open by the end of March.
The owner and chef, Stewart Wadden, told Board members that his restaurant, which can seat 43 people, will be open for lunch on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as brunch on weekends, while serving dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., seven days per week.
He said that he is looking to hire 18 to 20 experienced employees and will pay them $20 to $25 per hour, which several Board members commended.
Wadden, who lives in Jackson Heights, is the former chef to the Canadian Ambassador. He has also cooked for a number of international dignitaries—such as the queens of Belgium, Jordan and Norway. He has cooked for the Crown Princes and Princesses of Japan and Denmark, as well as UN Secretary Generals Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan and an array of presidents and prime ministers.
The Board unanimously voted to recommend approval of his application for a full liquor license to the SLA.