Meatpacking District Too Raucous for New French Bistro, Residents Say

By Andrea Swalec on July 22, 2013 8:10am 

SOHO — The owner of megaclubs in France where Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton hang out wants to open an "elegant, European-style restaurant" in the Meatpacking District — but some locals say they don't want to see another hot spot in the area.

Patrick Tartary is planning a 2,800-square-foot French restaurant called Michelangelo, located on Little West 12th St. near Ninth Avenue, within stumbling distance of popular party spots Bagatelle and Provocateur.

Tartary, 52, said he's spent $1.5 million on construction at 1 Little W. 12th St., remodeling the space to resemble a restaurant he owns in Antibes, France.

But Community Board 2 recommended against granting a liquor license to the spot last week, describing a saturation of bars and clubs in the Meatpacking District with screaming drunk people and honking taxis.

Several Meatpacking District residents begged CB2 at a full board meeting last Thursday night to keep out another alcohol-serving establishment, saying nightlife noise wakes them as late as 4:30 a.m. every weekend.

Filmmaker Zack Weinstein, who lives a block and a half from the would-be restaurant, said he wasn't convinced that the tasteful dining room Tartary's lawyers described would guarantee peace and quiet.

"Sure, they say they want to have just white tablecloths, but people will dance on the white tablecloths," Weinstein said.

CB2 approved a liquor license for the restaurant in 2011, but Tartary needed to reapply to the community board and State Liquor Authority after the project stalled for financial reasons.

Board members said that in the meantime, the once-gritty neighborhood has become too raucous to again support a liquor license there.

"The existing conditions are further exacerbated than they were two years ago," board member and SLA licensing committee co-chair Carter Booth said, noting that 33 other establishments have liquor licenses within 500 feet of the location.

The SLA, which has the final say over the license, did not immediately respond to an inquiry about whether Tartary's application is more likely to be approved because it had been previously approved in 2011.

Reps for Tartary said the restaurant — which he had agreed to close at midnight during the week and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday — would be a far cry from the nightclubs he owns in Cannes, France.

"It's true that I own clubs in France," he said. "But I want to operate only a restaurant here."

The space would seat 124 people and serve dishes like ravioli in a truffle cream sauce and a burger with foie gras. There is a lower-level private dining room and wine cellar.

Tartary's attorney, Kevin McGrath, said following CB2's advisory vote that he will turn to the SLA directly to try to secure a liquor license.

"It's not impossible," he said.

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