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Street fight! Park Slope eatery seeks sidewalk seating, gets grilling over clutter instead

Brunch rush: Hugo and Sons is popular with Park Slope’s stroller crowd, according to neighbors.
Community News Group / Maddy Anthony

Talk about a stumbling block!

A Park Slope eatery expecting to nab the local community board’s support for sidewalk seating last Monday night instead faced a grilling over just about everything else on its pavement when neighbors showed up to complain that it is often such a minefield of waiting customers, strollers, and dogs, they have to cross the street just to get past.

“There are so many carriages blocking the street, I have to literally walk all the way around them,” claimed a resident, who refused to give her name, during Community Board 6’s permits and licenses committee meeting on March 28.

A manager from Italian restaurant Hugo and Sons on Seventh Avenue at 11th Street came seeking the committee’s blessing for a permit for the seven tables and 14 seats it is already sporting unsanctioned on its 11th Street sidewalk.

But the committee told her the eatery it must first resolve its irate neighbors’ allegations of asphalt obstacles, which also included large planters and a designated “stroller parking” lot marked out in chalk.

“It’s impossible to get by sometimes,” said another man, who also refused to identify himself.

The restaurant rep didn’t address the residents’ gripes, but said they should be grateful for the business, which spruced up the long-shuttered space when it opened a year ago.

“I think we really brought something to the neighborhood, we upgraded it,” said manager Rebecca Tory, who later said she could not explain how the eatery had been getting away with providing al fresco dining without a permit for so long.

But the panel members said that wasn’t enough to earn their endorsement. Beyond the residents’ claims that there is barely enough space on the strip for pedestrians — let alone tables — the restaurant also failed to bring any documents or diagrams along to bolster its bid.

“Address these issues, make it more community friendly, come back,” said Community Board 6 chairman Sayar Lonial.

Ultimately, though, Hugo and Sons doesn’t actually need the voluntary board’s support to secure the permit — it is just something the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs may take into consideration when granting certifications.

Hugo and Sons did not respond to subsequent requests for comment.

Reach reporter Maddie Anthony by e-mail at manthony@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–8321.
Bloom is off the rose: During busier hours, Hugo and Sons’ 11th Avenue neighbors claim customers waiting for tables block the sidewalk, along with planters, strollers, and dogs.
Community News Group / Maddy Anthony

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