Is popular Greek chef Michael Psilakis, of the Upper West Side institution Kefi (505 Columbus Avenue and 84th Street), looking to bring warm feta salad, pork souvlaki, and walnut ice cream to Williamsburg?
That was the word at a Community Board one public safety meeting on March 4, where Psilakis applied for a liquor license for 470 Driggs Avenue, off North 11th Street. The full board approved the license on March 9, the first of many steps that could bring a new restaurant to the bedgraggled north side.
According to a spokesperson, Psilakis is indeed considering bringing a new establishment to the space, which formerly housed a window blinds distributor, but his decision is not definite. The chef has not signed a lease on the space and even if he does, he remains unsure of the concept of the business. So far, Psilakis is using the name Biergarten Williamsburg LLC, for the liquor license application, but this would not be the name of the restaurant.
“They showed us their plan, but they are not obligated to do so,” said Community Board 1 Public Safety Chair Mieszko Kalita. “They are mostly hoping that people from the industrial places will show up to eat. People are still discovering the neighborhood, there could be a restaurant there, and it will likely be them. Hopefully (the restaurant) will gain their business.”
One reason for the hesitance to commit to the space is that the new owners would be responsible for any of the building’s previous violations or if the building’s former tenants were harassed away from its space, which could be expensive to correct and renovate.
A brief investigation of the building’s history reviewed only one violation and two complaints, stemming from an accident in August 2007 when a car crashed into the south corner of the building. The Department of Buildings conducted a stability test for the building after the accident and found that the building was stable after repairs were made to the wall where the vehicle struck.