BY LUIS GRONDA
Three men looking to open a new bar/restaurant in Ridgewood presented their plan in front of Community Board 5 last week.
The trio, Justin Carter, Mark Connell and Eamon Harkin, plan to open up a place called The Back Yard at 56-06 Cooper Ave. According to a packet about the establishment handed out at the meeting, they describe it as an outdoor food and beverage place.
“The space will be a gathering place for friends and families looking to escape their apartments in the warmer months; and it will be an oasis for the local residents and workers in Ridgewood,” they wrote in the packet.
They said the proposed capacity for the establishment is 999 people but they expect attendance to be around 100 on weekdays. The trio said they should get closer to that capacity on Sundays when they do a weekly special event with a DJ performance. They own a similar business in Brooklyn, called Mister Saturday Night.
CB5 initially discussed the item at a previous meeting, with most of the board speaking out against it because it would require issuing a liquor license, something that they have said they want to avoid due to oversaturation. They are applying for a seasonal beer and wine license for that location. The three men said they came to the meeting because they wanted to be transparent about the business they would like to open.
Carter emphasized that they are involved in the community that they are based in, citing one example of a youth jobs fair they were hosting the night of the meeting in Brooklyn.
The packet also includes positive testimony from several people who are familiar with their business, including Jeremy Laufer, the District Manager of Community Board 7 in Brooklyn, who said they have kept their promise to that community, including providing security for its events and keeping dialogue with the local police precinct.
“Several of our board members have attended the music programs which are held on Sundays and have reported very positive experiences. Additionally, our board has not received a single complaint from the community about the operation of this business or its patrons’ behavior,” Laufer wrote in the letter.
Although the issue remained the same after that CB5 meeting, chairman Vinny Arcuri said the dialogue between the board and the trio will continue. Board member Kathy Masi said it has not changed their opinion about the proposal, but they appreciate them coming to a meeting to discuss it because that usually does not happen with these kinds of proposals.
Another board member, Jean Tanler, urged the board to continue to be against the proposal, because the space could be better used for an industrial business.
“Where we can make a difference is to say ‘no’ to more liquor permits in industrial areas. This is an industrial business zone, these are areas that were meant to protect industrial and manufacturing businesses,” said Tanler, who heads the Maspeth IBZ.
The IBZ she refers to is the Ridgewood/SOMA (south of Myrtle Avenue) IBZ.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @luisgronda.