Two Dyckman Street Eateries Get Liquor Licenses Rejected

By Nigel Chiwaya on April 25, 2013 7:19am 

INWOOD — Two restaurants on the Dyckman strip had their liquor license applications rejected by community leaders Tuesday night.

International Food House, the scene of a drunken brawl involving Tobasco sauce bottles early New Year's Day morning, had its liquor license renewal rejected by Manhattan Community Board 12 after residents complained of rowdy conditions on the Dyckman corridor.

The establishment, located at 217 Dyckman St. on the northeast corner of Broadway, was the subject of ire from neighborhood residents during CB12's full board meeting Tuesday.

Neighbor Leonard Siegfried argued that the eatery, which is divided into a 24-hour buffet restaurant called El Buffet and an Italian restaurant, did not do enough to control its patrons.

"Just this weekend at 3 a.m. I heard someone — a guy — screaming and dragging his girlfriend out of a car," said Siegfried, 51. "It happens all the time."

His concerns were echoed by neighbor Katie Weaver, whose apartment faces the restaurant.

"All during the week we can be awakened by 4 o'clock in the morning when these young revelers come out, lean up against the front of the building and scream and yell and fight," she said.

When asked about the vote, owner Maribel Nunez said her restaurant was being unfairly blamed for all of the rowdy activity that takes place in other neighborhood bars.

"We're a 24-hour establishment, so everything that happens lands on our backs," Nunez said.

"We don't have any issues here, we've never had any complaints. We're astonished."

Newcomer Kon to Euro Caribbean Corporation, which hoped to open at 261 Dyckman St. near Payson Avenue, also had its application for a new liquor license denied after board members said the area cannot handle another liquor-serving establishment.

Diaz said that the licensing committee had failed to reach a compromise with owners Gregorio Gonzalez and Natasha Collado. The board had requested that the owners close earlier then 4 a.m. on weekends and switch their license application to a beer and wine restaurant license, but they declined.

"There is an oversaturation of licenses on or around the Dyckman strip," said Aldemar Diaz, who leads CB12's Licensing Committee, noting that there are already 11 licenses in the direct vicinity. "It's the opinion of the committee that there are just far too many licenses in that area."

Residents say that the Dyckman corridor has changed in recent years from a quiet residential street to a rowdy party strip. The change, residents say, coincided with the opening of several new restaurants, including Papasito Mexican Grill and Agave Bar, Mamajuana Cafe and La Marina.

Weaver called for an even tougher stance, asking for a moratorium on all new liquor licenses along Dyckman Street from Broadway to Payson Avenue.

"Why does someone who has a little money have the right to make hundreds of people's lives miserable?" Weaver said of the business owners. "Where's the justice in that?"

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