Civic gurus blast East Flatbush restaurant’s late-night New Year’s scheme

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The State Liquor Authority approved a permit request for incoming East Flatbush restaurant C’Zen to stay open until 8 am on the night of New Year’s Eve.
Photo courtesy of Google

State liquor honchos must rescind permits allowing an East Flatbush watering hole to serve revelers until 8 am on New Year’s Day, according to local civic gurus, who claim the owners tricked community members to get their approvals.

“I think it was very bad faith,” said Dottie Turano on Dec. 18. “These people are not nice people, they are not honorable.”

Kwame Mack, the owner of Carribean-Asian fusion joint C’Zen set to open soon on Avenue H, filed an application with the State Liquor Authority requesting his restaurant stay open from 4 am to 8 am on New Year’s Eve night — after telling members of Community Board 18 at a meeting on Nov. 20 that he would close shortly after midnight. 

Due to his proximity to nearby homes, Mack’s liquor license only allows him to stay open until 12 am, but the restaurateur came to board members in November seeking their endorsement for a special New Year’s party permit to stay open until 4 am, while claiming he really just wanted to allow time for a quick toast after the ball drops. 

“We asked for an extension from 12 am – 4 am, we have no intentions of serving liquor past 4 am,” Mack said at the Nov. 20 meeting to which Turano told him that he had then filed a “faulty application.” 

However, Mack actually applied for a special permit to stay open from 4 am – 8 am, and while he’s legally required to close from 12 am to 4 am, board members think he’ll just risk a violation on the busy holiday and stay open all night long, according to one local, who emphasized that C’Zen was riling up residents before it had even opened.

“You have to work with the community, and you have not opened,” Violine Roberty said. “But the first thing that we get before you even open is this, so then automatically the community is assuming you are not operating in good faith.”  

Mack’s acquisition of the New Year’s permit comes after Community Board 18 denied the restaurant’s original liquor license application last April, but that didn’t stop the State Liquor Authority from doling out the permit on Oct. 25, 2018.

Neither Mack, nor the State Liquor Authority responded to requests for comment.