The star of last night’s meeting of Community Board 2’s SLA Licensing Committee was Gabriel Stulman, owner of the little owl and Market Table. He’s opening a new “laid-back, rustic” joint named Joseph Leonard (after his grandfather) at 170 Waverly. Stulman’s menu, inspired by his recent trip to Quebec, will be reasonably priced — the room will have only 30 seats (12 at the bar), and they won’t accept reservations. Stulman had no less than six community members and friends speak on his behalf. He interjected with several well-rehearsed espousals of his desire to be hospitable to the West Village neighborhood, especially in these tough times. By the end of his sermon, the entire board was beaming at him. Approved.
Playing the villain was Luc Levy, owner of Cafe Gitane, who wants to open a multilevel restaurant at 49 Bond Street. The venue would feature an open country kitchen on the upper level, serving two dishes per night, and a Ping-Pong room on the lower floor. Levy had downgraded his original full-liquor request to beer and wine only, demonstrating, he claimed, the establishment’s focus on fine dining. CB2 member Zella Jones delivered an impassioned speech against the proposal, citing an overabundance of licensed restaurants in the area. Previous establishments at 49 Bond Street have not had liquor licenses; the owner of Il Buco wanted to buy this location, but hadn't picked it up because of zoning issues. Not approved.
Trattoria Lucca, at Broadway between 12th and 13th Street, presented a plan of 244 indoor seats and 54 outdoor seats. Concerned about noise, the committee advised the owners to reach out to neighbors and abandon their plan for a garden. The owners seemed to agree.
Havana Restaurant, at 94 Christopher Street, received no objections by the committee (and a wink from one of its members). Approved.
At the end of the night, the committee members, rather jovially, suggested, “Let’s all go to the little owl!”