The unanimously welcomed the new restaurant to the village by a rare vote the same night as the special use hearing on February 8 at the .
The location has been the location for numerous late-night establishments serving food and drinks since 1963 according to attorney Louis Martins, who represents the restaurant owner Deanna Nauer.
“This particular area has always been used as a restaurant, bar, nightclub, tavern,” he said. “There has been virtually no change in the past 50 years of that particular addresses’s use as a restaurant and bar.”
Situated at 267 Mineola Blvd. in back of the , the building was the former location of the and was remodeled in 1985 to be used as nightclub and bar and then a nightclub/ tavern when it became “The Angle” in 1990. It later became PJ Cody’s, Chunky’s Bar and Dance Club in 1997, Bongo’s in the 2000’s and in January 2012 was again issued permit for a restaurant/ bar.
Since the building has been vacant for more than a year, the Shakers owners had to come before the board for a new special use permit, which would havebeen the case if they had opened several months prior under the 6-month vacancy period which allows the continuation of a permit if the same use moves into the same location.
Following complaints when they first moved in, the owners have agreed to change the restaurant’s lime-green color scheme ahead of the hearing. “They were quickly advised that they needed architectural approval and other ordinances that they were made aware of,” Martins said.
The owners “reached a compromise” with the village’s architectural review board as to the color scheme. “The color that’s on the outside is not exactly the right green that’s going to finally be there, but it’s really close,” Martins said. The restaurant will be going for another variance in March for a proposed awning.
Patrons will be encouraged to park in the lot behind the and the adjacent municipal lot. Martins said there was an “unofficial understanding that after hours the bank doesn’t want to know what happens, they really don’t care.” Should the need arise, the restaurant would hire a valet, but not immediately since “right now for a starting business they’re not going to offer that unless it’s really a stumbling block, it’s a real problem,” Martins said.
The restaurant is obtaining special containers for garbage which will be stored in alley adjacent to another commercial building and will be placed for curbside pickup every day. They have also contracted with another company for waste grease.
The structure of the building would not be changed and there would be no live music inside or out on a rear patio, which would be lit by small white bulbs or Christmas lights. Seating capacity would remain the same with the patio able to hold 30. The building would use Pandora, an internet radio service for ambient music. It currently does not have a cabaret license, so no live music or dancing would occur. Nauer says she is eventually “envisioning” a sole vocalist with a guitar but no live band on stage.
“They’re looking for more of a casual, loungey type of feel,” Martins said, emphasizing that they are not leaning toward the nightclub aspect of the building. “They want people to be able to talk, they’re not going for a nightclub.” He added that “the residents are not within earshot.”
The owners were originally petitioning to keep the location open for the same amount of hours as the liquor license allows: 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. six days a week and noon to 4 a.m. on Sunday, but Nauer stated that “we plan to be just consistent with what all of the other bars do,” noting that other bars close at one or 2 a.m. They are looking to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner as the kitchen will remain open until closing, not remaining as a bar-only. Since the restaurant is “looking for freshness” with deliveries being made daily, asked the owners to make arrangements with 7-Eleven for an arrangement because of the parking restrictions at the corner.
Deputy mayor Paul Pereira asked them to explain the category of “dive bar,” which he found on an online listing. “The concept was to serve food that they call ‘dive bar gourmet’; that was the phrase that they coined,” Martins said. “It’s really the phrase for the food, it’s not the location.”
Jefferson Avenue resident Joshua Davis voiced “a few concerns” over the location’s history with late hours, parking and garbage. “Most people don’t know to park at the bank so they park on our block,” Mr. Davis said, adding clientele are often intoxicated and “there are three establishments where we can hear the music loud and clear. This establishment has been this kind of thing for years and years and years and I’ve had to live with it and frankly, the fact that it’s been closed has been kind of a Godsend because it means I don’t have to call the cops all the time at two in the morning, three in the morning.”
His wife Melissa added that “the past experience in that spot has been nothing like what you propose it to be. It hasn’t been any place that a decent person would want to go.”
Martins addressed the issue by saying that “if you have a volume of people that come in, you’re always going to get one or two that might do something that might do something that’s completely inappropriate, against the law and it’s unfortunate and I hope it doesn’t happen. Is it the type of establishment that would attract that? I hope not.”
The permit was approved based upon the conditions of the prior establishment as well as noise ordinances, that there would be no live music and the agreed upon garbage pickup schedule.