At last night's Community Board 2 SLA committee meeting, Steve Hanson continued his ongoing battle with neighborhood residents opposed to his plans for a casual offshoot next to the Strip House on East 12th Street. The main concern: more congestion. "This has zero to do with the operator. It has everything to do with fact that there are 29 licenses within 500 feet of this establishment including the Strip House right next door, said Davide Gentile, head of the East 12th and 13th Street Block Association. Gentile claimed he had a petition with 243 signatures opposing the plan by Hanson and his corporate group, BR Guest Hospitality, which is still in the process of acquiring both properties from the Glazier Group.
Hanson, who spoke first, came prepared to make his case for the expansion, and for his desire to keep the current Strip House open until 4 a.m. (He'd previously agreed to close at 2 a.m.) "I already have a liquor license for the Strip House and could close at 4 a.m. on Monday ... But I'm not staying open until 4 a.m. I've given you 2 a.m." (Hanson also said that the committee insisting on a 2 a.m. closing time for Strip House was the equivalent of "holding a gun" to his head.)
The committee eventually voted to give Hanson a limited O.K. for a new liquor license at the vacant space. The committee co-chair noted before the vote that an outright denial of Hanson's application would most likely just prompt the high-profile restaurateur to go directly to the SLA for approval.