Osteria Morini’s plans to expand to a building next door on Lafayette Street may have encountered some community-board opposition at first, but CB2’s SLA committee voted this week to approve the plans, paving the way for Michael White’s restaurant to go forward with its proposed alteration.
Morini’s major players, including White, made it clear that they’re not looking to add another bar to the second location. “People have trouble getting into the restaurant because it’s so crowded and we’re so busy,” said Carolyn DeFir, Altamarea’s on-site manager at Morini. “We’re hoping to add 45 seats.” She said Morini needed a second liquor license because the existing one doesn’t cover a separate address “and it’s illegal to have people eating and drinking without a liquor license.”
DeFir elaborated on the expansion plans: “A lot of the space will be a food counter,” she told us last night.”We’re hoping do pizzas and have a more visual open kitchen. We’re focusing on tailoring the planning for guests and for the neighborhood and I’m sure it will be expensive. I don’t even know when we’ll begin. We want to make sure we’re doing everything safely and correctly.”
During the committee’s public hearing, Georgette Fleischer, a persistent critic of La Esquina spoke against Morini’s app and is likely to voice objections before the full board. “I don’t know why the committee is considering the alteration,” Fleischer said, noting that the block has 15 buildings, “and there are ten with liquor licenses. I don’t see how it is in the public interest to have another drinking and eating establishment.”