Prohibition is over in Community Board 2!
In an extremely rare reversal, the community board’s executive committee on Jan. 26 overturned an earlier rejection of a liquor license application for an Italian restaurant near Fulton Ferry Landing — and, in doing so, addressed calls from Borough President Markowitz to go easier on applicants.
The flip-flop occurred just weeks after a few members of the board’s Health, Environment and Social Services Committee shot down the request and called the same trattoria a potential “gin mill,” and after The Brooklyn Paper wrote about CB2’s anti-alcohol stance, and Markowitz made a behind-the-scenes push for a more liberal liquor policy throughout Community Board 2, which includes parts of Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Fort Greene and Boerum Hill.
“I’m so happy. I can’t wait to grill some veal chops, open a nice Chianti and show how good this restaurant will be for the neighborhood,” said Dema Baledemic, the proprietor of the planned eatery at 7 Old Fulton St., between Front and Water streets in DUMBO. Three people who live above the restaurant opposed the application at the committee hearing last month and convinced the committee to recommend to the State Liquor Authority that the license not be granted.
It is believed that the board’s executive committee had never before overturned the health committee’s liquor-license recommendation. But Baledemic’s lawyer, Thomas McCallen, said he convinced the commmittee by explaining that his client had been in the restaurant business for 25 years with no complaints.
He also credited The Brooklyn Paper and the food-loving Beep for the board’s 180.
“Between The Brooklyn Paper’s articles, my work and maybe Marty Markowitz’s attention, I guess something changed their mind,” said McCallen.
Though CB2 seems to be settled on the issue, one of the neighbors who tried to block the liquor license said he was “very disappointed.”
“He says he just wants to cook veal chops, but we want to know why he wants to be open until 2 am on the weekend and have a full bar,” said the neighbor, Jesse Schomer.
Despite the ordeal, Baledemic isn’t harboring any grudges.
“I hope the board members come when I open this spring,” he said.