A Third Avenue restaurateur says that he made the worst mistake of his life when he bowed down to a local civic panel so he could get a liquor license — and now he’s considering a move to Park Slope!
In a classic Brooklyn vs. Brooklyn smackdown, Raphael Abrahante says that dealing with Community Board 10 has persecuted him since he unveiled plans to open his restaurant on Third Avenue between 71st Street and Ovington Avenue just because the last restaurant in the storefront had a bad reputation, and now he’s considering a move to the Ridge’s uptown cousin.
“I want to take my restaurant to a community that’s more welcoming,” he said. “I’ve heard that Park Slope is nice. I would never have tried to set up shop here if I had known it would be like this.”
Members of the board said they were worried about the location because Water Grill, the previous restaurant in the space, was known as a den of drug use and underage drinking.
So when board members demanded it regulate things like hours of operation, the size of the bar area, and whether or not music could be played within the new restaurant, Abrahante obliged them.
“He seemed to bend over backwards to agree and work with us,” said CB10 District Manger Josephine Beckmann.
But now that he finally has his liquor license in his hands after working two months without one, he regrets it.
“I want to be able to cater to my customers without any restrictions,” he said.
Abrahante says that he has sunk his entire life savings — and mortgaged his house — to pay for the dream of opening Logan Restaurant, where he would like to feature live jazz music on weekends and keep his French doors opened onto Third Avenue to let in a breeze.
Abrahante said that he didn’t put up a fight when he went before the board because he was scared.
“I was afraid to lash out because when I heard all that negativity, it scared me,” he said. “If I said anything I never would have seen my license — never. I had to bite my tongue and be quiet.”
The board’s recommendations are only advisory, but the State Liquor Authority is less likely to grant a license to a business if local leaders pan it. And if Abrahante decides not to abide by the stipulations, it could affect his chances of getting his license renewed.
It’s not the first time CB10 has used of stipulations to curb potential troublemakers before they pour their first margarita. In September, Ibiza on Third Avenue between 82nd and 83rd streets withdrew its request for a liquor license after residents learned that its owners were planning a nightclub instead of a restaurant.
But Abrahante still hopes to make a go of it — for now.
“If everything is fruitful — great, I’ll stand here and be the better man,” he said. “Hopefully one day the community will believe in me and want this restaurant to succeed.”