Belgian Beer Bar to Bring 'Waffle Burgers' to Ninth Avenue

By Mathew Katz on April 19, 2014 8:37am 

 The Jolly Monk will serve Belgian-style brews, including beers from the Allagash Brewing Company.
The Jolly Monk will serve Belgian-style brews, including beers from the Allagash Brewing Company.
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HELL'S KITCHEN — Belgian beer and waffle-wrapped burgers are on the way to a new Hell's Kitchen bar.

The Jolly Monk, a Belgian craft beer spot, is opening this summer at 701 Ninth Ave., the space that was formerly home to the controversial bar Traffic.

Hell's Kitchen Hospitality — which owns House of Brews, the New York Beer Company and Oliver's Astoria — envisions the new 74-person bar as a bastion for all things Belgian, from beer to snacks like freshly made waffles.

"It's going to be a relaxed atmosphere," said co-owner Patrick Schmidt, who lives in Hell's Kitchen. "We're going to be a fun little bar."

The Jolly Monk will offer a large variety of Belgian ales, as well as American-made, Belgian-style brews like Allagash Brewing Company's Belgian White.

Schmidt also plans to buy two heavy-duty Belgian waffle makers, in the hopes of serving fluffy weekly specials. The bar will also serve a Belgian Waffle Burger — with waffles instead of buns.

On top of those indulgent items, The Jolly Monk will offer Belgian classics, like mussels and fries, and a selection of pub grub.

Schmidt said the new space would be the opposite of Traffic, which drew years of complaints from locals about loud parties, rude staff and music blasting down the street. The bar was shuttered by city marshals in January after its landlord stopped paying rent, records show.

"The place we're going to run is 180 degrees from what Traffic did," Schmidt said. "Hell's Kitchen isn't just somewhere where we make money — it's our home and we don't want to have bad relations with our neighbors."

Schmidt is planning a complete overhaul of the space and will get rid of Traffic's large garage doors, which were left open in the summer and allowed music blasting from speakers to easily be heard down the street.

The formerly metal-and-glass space will become a cozy spot made out of mahogany and red brick — all of which, Schmidt said, would absorb sound. 

 The Jolly Monk is set to open in the former home of controversial bar Traffic.
The Jolly Monk is set to open in the former home of controversial bar Traffic.
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"We never play loud music," he said. "Our target clientele, they see a $10 Belgian beer on the menu and don't even blink their eye. They're not looking for $3 shots."

The Jolly Monk won advisory approval for its liquor license from Community Board 4's Business Licenses and Permits Committee earlier this month, and the full board will weigh in in early May.

Schmidt and the other co-owners hope to have the spot up and running by early summer.

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