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War on Brunch bill

Councilmen Levin and Garodnick introduce bill to allow outdoor brunch on Sundays at 10 am

The Brooklyn Paper
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A treaty to end the War on Brunch is on the table — but Sunday morning diners will need to wait until noon before they order mimosas.

Councilmen Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint) and Dan Garodnick (D–Manhattan) introduced a much-anticipated bill on Wednesday to allow outdoor dining on Sundays starting at 10 am in an attempt to bring peace to North Brooklyn after community leaders and city inspectors launched a 21-day offensive against scofflaw restaurants.

The new bill would change city laws to let restaurants open their sidewalk cafes before noon during the week’s brunch apex — but it would have no impact on a state law that prohibits restaurants from serving alcohol before noon on Sundays.

Levin says his proposed law will help feed Brooklynites when they need it most.

“The law that exists now does not reflect the reality that folks eat brunch before noon on Sundays,” said Levin. “These businesses have sidewalk cafe permits. They pay for those permits and should be allowed to serve their customers on beautiful Brooklyn mornings. The fact is that people should eat when they are hungry.”

The proposal comes after city inspectors slapped several Greenpoint restaurants with summonses for serving food and alcohol on their sidewalks on Sunday mornings last month after Community Board 1 urged the Department of Consumer Affairs to enforce the obscure city provision.

The ticketing stirred outrage among the neighborhood’s brunching proletariat, who signed petitions to repeal the law and urged public officials to support their right to sit outside and enjoy Huevos Rancheros, Belgian waffles, and French toast before noon.

Even though alcohol is a big part of brunch for many restaurants, some of the eateries that suffered losses during the War on Brunch say they want to serve customers outdoors starting at 10 am on Sundays.

“That sounds better than noon!” said Lokal Bistro co-owner Serkan Uzel, who paid a $665 fine last week for setting tables outdoors at 9:35 am on a Sunday. “We will definitely see an increase because we’re going to be able to use our sidewalk café for two more hours for early brunchers.”

It’s unclear why the current law bars outdoor dining on Sunday, but according to city lore, the provision was intended to keep the sidewalks clear for church-goers heading to their houses of worship.

Council sources said Levin and Garodnick decided on the 10 am starting time because it was a “reasonable compromise,” claiming barely anyone eat Sunday brunch at 8 am in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.
Updated 5:33 pm, July 9, 2018: Updated to include new information about how the proposed law would not permit the sale of alcohol on Sunday mornings.
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Reasonable discourse

Juan from Gowanus says:
If you're having a meal at 10:00 am, it's called breakfast.
June 13, 2012, 11:59 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
"The fact is that people should eat when they are hungry.”

That sounds reasonable. I guess you're allowed to be hungry at 8am on 6 days and have to wait til 10 to be hungry on Sundays?

I'd prefer making all the days legal, starting at 4am.
June 13, 2012, 12:06 pm
Anton from LaVey says:
Who even GOES to church anymore.
June 13, 2012, 12:14 pm
manhatposeur from manhatland says:
Let commerce prevail!
June 13, 2012, 12:44 pm
Gilbert Schenck from The Neighborhood says:
Why don't they eat their breakfast off the ground?
June 13, 2012, 1:21 pm
Ian from 11211 says:
Finally, an excuse not to be hammered at brunch.
June 13, 2012, 2:06 pm
Chris Maas from Ditmas Park says:
If I want a shot of Jack Daniels with my BREAKFAST, that should be fine too. It's legal on Tuesday, why no Sunday? So ridiculous. Meanwhile, the Catholics are swilling down wine... err... swilling on Jesus' bodily fluids inside their churches. (That's both drinking and creepy)
June 13, 2012, 2:38 pm
Brunch is for wankers from 11222 says:
I wish that creepy Serkan from LOKAL would have his servers actually serve from the inside of the "enclosed" sidewalk table area (as prescribed by law) One of his waiters slammed right into me a few weekends ago because she wasn't watching where she was going and in a hurry. So you restaurants got your half of a sidewalk free of charge, and we have ours even though we pay for the whole sidewalk. STAY THE HELL OFF OF OURS. And pay your taxes.
June 13, 2012, 3:29 pm
Brunch is for wankers from 11222 says:
I wish that creepy Serkan from LOKAL would have his servers actually serve from the inside of the "enclosed" sidewalk table area (as prescribed by law) One of his waiters slammed right into me a few weekends ago because she wasn't watching where she was going and in a hurry. So you restaurants got your half of a sidewalk free of charge, and we have ours even though we pay for the whole sidewalk. STAY THE HELL OFF OF OURS. And pay your taxes.
June 13, 2012, 3:29 pm
H.C.M. Ingraham from Gowilliamsanus says:
Meh.
June 13, 2012, 3:35 pm
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
While I applaud the efforts of Councilmen Steve Levin and Dan Garodnick, it's absolute garbage that there is an attempt to stymie the sale of alcohol for Sunday brunch. If I want to drink before 10 AM that is my right to do so and I don't care what anybody else has to say about it. I realize that this is technically the law...but once again this is something that is rarely enforced. However, pretty soon there will be these "inspectors" taste testing our orange juice to make sure that it's not a screwdriver... What's the big freaking deal? Local government enforcement inspectors and nosy "authority" figures like Tom Burrows need to go.

Also "Brunch is for wankers" why don't you cry me a river for the waitress "slamming into you". You're obviously just some bitter whiny loser who doesn't have any friends to go to brunch with. The restaurants pay their taxes and are entitled to use these sidewalks accordingly. Go complain somewhere else.
June 13, 2012, 4:01 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Why are the alkies so bent out of shape they cannot drink in the street - other issues for sure - are the restaurants legally allowed to extend there premises onto a public right of way?
June 13, 2012, 10:06 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Why are the alkies so bent out of shape they cannot drink in the street - other issues for sure - are the restaurants legally allowed to extend there premises onto a public right of way?
June 13, 2012, 10:06 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
This is not a war - this is result of citizen complaints - to call this a war makes any active soldier or vet look like a jackass because they cant drink in the street - if this is a reason for war we would be speaking German
June 13, 2012, 10:33 pm
ty from pps says:
Old Time -- Have you been enjoying other forms of Murdock-based news? Everything is a "war" now.
June 13, 2012, 10:42 pm
Rufis Leaking from BH says:
Anton, you little devil!

Go to church on Sunday - when the liquor stores are closed they have wine!
June 14, 2012, 6:39 am
V from 11249 says:
Brunch without booze is called breakfast and nobody spends $20 on breakfast. This just a blatant attempt by the church crowd to impose their moral beliefs on the new kids on the block. They don't like the new direction of the neighborhood and they're pitching a fit. I shouldn't need to remind the old timers that this neighborhood used to be a dump. It has been cleaned up in the last decade because of the brunch crowd moving in, not because of the church crowd.
June 14, 2012, 7:22 am
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
V - I don't think this has anything to do with the church. It's more so with the uptight douches in the community like Tom Burrows and maybe some extremely douchey church-goers. The church itself is not the enemy here as many brunchers are also church-goers (myself included).

Old Time - The restaurants apply for permits to be recognized as "sidewalk cafes" which is an official distinction among restaurants and not all restaurants end up receiving these permits when they apply. Restaurants like Lokal and Five Leaves all have existing permits for their sidewalk tables so they're not illegally "extending their premises onto a public right of way". Technically that piece of sidewalk is part of their property so the people complaining about it, like you, have no legal grounds for your discontent aside from the time of day where tables are allowed to be put out, 12:00 noon. Hopefully soon this legislation will go through and the time will be moved to 10:00 AM. You're correct though that the gentrification has had a significant improvement on the safety and overall quality of life in the neighborhood.

The stance on no alcohol service is still absurd though and is a piece of completely archaic / arbitrary law imposed by moralists on a power trip.
June 14, 2012, 8:19 am
Buster from Clinton Avenue Porch says:
The end is nigh.
June 14, 2012, 8:33 am
Osito from North Slope says:
Why are we even entertaining "compromise"? Just get rid of the stupid law.

There's one bigoted idiot, Tom Burrows, who dosen't like newcomers to the community, so he tried to enforce the old law. Everyone is against his policies, even the local churches. They generally think it's silly to ban brunch.

Let people brunch whenever they want. And no alcohol restrictions. This isn't some fundamentalist religious colony in the Mideast.
June 14, 2012, 8:53 am
Billy from The Berg says:
I know you civics and political science luddites can't be bothered with the facts when you're so busy with your focus on your own opinions, but the Sunday liquor laws are set at the State level.

That means that changing them would be changing them all over the state or introducing a special bill for a particular area (really tough to do.) Which means it's really not about what just you think, it's about what 19 million people think.

Are you even registered to vote? Or are you too busy drinking your way through your Cheerios?
June 14, 2012, 10:03 am
Osito from North Slope says:
Billy, there's no need to change state law. Enforcement is on the municipal level.

Just stop enforcement of the law, which was the case until a few weeks ago.
June 14, 2012, 11:18 am
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
Billy - I won a bet once by trying Jack Daniels in my Chex Mix cereal but it wasn't very good so I haven't tried it since. Unfortunately Lokal and Five Leaves don't sell cereal so the closest thing I can think of is oysters on the half shell followed by a Moroccan Scramble and an Old Cuban cocktail. As Osito put it, you're clearly misinformed in the laws and enforcement of them despite your attempt to spite people that are for changing the laws and actually enjoy themselves at weekend brunch. You and people like you should just stop snorting bath salts so you can start thinking more clearly.
June 14, 2012, 12:14 pm
anywho says:
NYS liquor law are arcane. What are we in the dark ages? Liquor should be available 24 hours a day 7 days a weeks. I should be able to go to my local supermarket, purchase some porterhouse steaks and a nice bottle of wine. If I want a Bloody Mary with my Eggs Benedicts while eating at a sidewalk table at 9:00 am on a Sunday morning I should be able to do it, d*mn it!
June 14, 2012, 2:10 pm
common sense from bay ridge says:
Just wait until Emperor Bloomberg decides that alcohol should only be served from noon until 1am.
June 14, 2012, 3:22 pm
Billy from The Berg says:
Ouch! Oh, Interloper, you are soooo wise and wonderful, and witty and selfless...and totally clueless about the law. "

If you think you've got a case for changing the law, change the law. "Just stop enforcing it..." leaves the owner open to the tickets they've been getting.

And if you're determined to start slugging it back with your friends at 9AM, you can always have them over to your house. If you've done the dishes, that is.

It ain't all about you, sugah. This is why people characterize the new Williamsburg as whining hipsters.
June 14, 2012, 3:38 pm

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