WAR IS OVER: Brunch battle ends as city repeals draconian law

The war on brunch may soon come to an end, allowing brunchers to nurse their hangovers in the sun a few hours earlier without fear of repercussions.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Break out the Bloody Marys, because it is V-Brunch Day.

The infamous War on Brunch ended this week when the City Council voted to roll back the draconian rules preventing Brooklynites from dining on sidewalk patios before noon on Sundays. From here on out, brunchers can get their morning mimosas starting at 10 am.

Lokal Bistro on Lorimer Street by McCarren Park was one of the brunch spots the city ticketed in 2012 for putting its tables and chairs out before noon. After that, the restaurant waited until the later start time. This Sunday, owner Gino Kutluca was happy to put the chairs out at 10 am.

“People love to sit outside and look at the dogs and the people and the kids and the women,” said Kutluca. “I wish they would have made it earlier, but at least it’s getting better.”

Lokal was slapped with the summons in April of last year after Community Board 1 member Tom Burrows got tired of having to walk around sidewalk cafes on Sunday mornings and asked the city to start cracking down with the little-known law.

Burrows did not return calls for comment for this story, but at the time, he said the law was necessary to keep church-going folk from having to cast their eyes on morning revelers.

A month after Lokal and Five Leaves were ticketed, Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsburg) and Dan Garodnick (D–Manhattan) introduced the bill to loosen the law, which had been on the books since at least the 1970s. When it finally came to a vote last week, the council unanimously ditched the old hours.

Now, Levin is toasting his success.

“I’m egg-static that the war on brunch is over,” said the eye-rollingly punny councilman. “Thanks to the City Council, the law preventing sidewalk brunching before noon on Sunday is toast.”

More seriously, Levin said that the law should have been changed years ago.

“As a brunch patron myself, I found it frustrating that a pointless law like this has been on the books for so long,” he said. “By allowing sidewalk brunching to begin at 10 am, we are supporting both local businesses and brunch-lovers alike.”

The law won’t actually take effect until Mayor Bloomberg signs it into law, which Bloomberg, who’s famously in favor of have a drink in some public areas, is expected to do.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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