Hungary no more: Restaurateur folds planned Euro eatery amidst protest

Nuns and neighbors pan planned Greenpoint bistro
Sisters Colette and Dorothea from St. Stanislaus Kostka School in Greenpoint are trying to keep a Hungarian restaurant from staying open late and serving food seven days per week on a largely residential block of Newell Street.
Aaron Short / Community Newspaper Group

A Greenpoint landlord dropped his proposal to open a Hungarian restaurant in his Newell Street building this week because of loud opposition from neighbors, schoolteachers, and nuns.

Peter Jakab informed Community Board 1 that he will rescind his liquor license application for his storefront on the largely residential block and will instead convert the ground floor of the building near the corner of Driggs Avenue into an apartment.

“The reasons for the withdrawal is the neighborhood’s strong opposition to any type of liquor license at this location due to the residential character of the area,” he wrote in a May 29 letter.

Neighbors said they were “delighted” by his decision.

“We’re feeling a great sense of relief,” said Saint Stanislaus Kostka parish sister Dorothea Jurkowski. “Prayer works. We prayed very hard.”

The building had been the longtime home of the Continental, a rowdy restaurant and bar that catered to the area’s Polish population for years until it closed last December.

Jakab had hoped to turn the sleepy street corner into a foodie destination for Central European cuisine — but Newell Street residents argued that the restaurant should not be allowed to stay open late or serve booze across the street from a Catholic school and a block from a church.

Diplomatic relations failed two weeks ago when Jakab and restaurant critics failed to reach an agreement over the proposed eatery’s operating hours.

Jakab did not return calls for comment.

Community Board 1 member Mieszko Kalita said the restaurateur’s retreat is a smart economic decision.

“It’s a very remote place — it’s really a residential block and I do not believe the restaurant would have a chance of survival there,” said Kalita. “It’s really away from everything. I think he will be much happier with the residential unit.”

The liquor license cancellation is the second about-face in North Brooklyn in the past two months.

A Manhattan nightclub owner pulled his plan for a discotheque on N. First Street last month after staunch community opposition.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.

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