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Neighbors Say Papasito Restaurant Serves Up Fights, Raucous Crowds

By Leslie Albrecht | November 9, 2011 9:58am | Updated on November 10, 2011 9:28am
Papasito opened at 2728 Broadway in the fall of 2011. It also has an Inwood location at 223 Dyckman Street.
Papasito opened at 2728 Broadway in the fall of 2011. It also has an Inwood location at 223 Dyckman Street.
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DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht

UPPER WEST SIDE — An Inwood restaurant known for attracting raucous crowds is generating similar problems at its new Upper West Side location, neighbors claim.

Papasito Mexican Grill and Agave Bar, at 2728 Broadway near West 104th Street, has prompted 311 calls and complaints to police about fights, loud music and boisterous groups gathering outside in the wee hours of the morning, residents said.

Those are some of the same concerns neighbors raised Uptown, where Papasito's 223 Dyckman St. outpost is one of several establishments along a lively strip known as "Alcohol Alley." Residents there have pleaded for police to beef up patrols in the area.

Neighbors near the Broadway location say Papasito feels more like a nightclub than a restaurant, with bouncers frisking customers before they enter late on weekend nights.

Since Papasito opened in mid-September, residents claim they've watched in dismay as fights have broken out and police have handcuffed people on the sidewalk outside the restaurant. Police from the 24th Precinct have acknowledged the complaints, saying they are working with the establishment to address problems on high-traffic nights.

"I've been here 35 years, I've seen a lot of stuff come and go," said neighbor Kevin Krajick, who lives across from Papasito. "I've lived through the high crime. This is one of the worst things that’s happened to the neighborhood."

The SLA has slapped Papasito's Dyckman Street location with a series of violations dating back to October of last year, including citations for dancing on the premises without a cabaret license and serving alcohol in the basement without permission from the authority.

Papasito's owner, Chino Chavez, said at a recent 24th Precinct Community Council meeting that he wants to be a good neighbor.

"If you see something wrong that I can address, I'd be more than happy to work with you guys," Chavez said at the meeting.

After residents complained about noise, Chavez said he took steps to make the restaurant quieter. He noted that he started enforcing a dress code after one of his security staff was forced to use mace to defuse a fight that was brewing outside the restaurant.

Chavez couldn't be reached for comment for this story following the meeting.

Local residents say the restaurant hasn't calmed down, and they plan to bring their concerns to Community Board 7's Business & Consumer Issues Committee meeting Wednesday night, when the committee is scheduled to review Papasito's liquor license application.

Community boards don't have final say on liquor licenses, but they advise the State Liquor Authority on whether to grant licenses.

Community Board 7 member Marc Glazer said he visited Papasito at 1:30 a.m. on a recent Saturday and was concerned by the club-like vibe.

"I was a little bit intimidated," said Glazer, who owns the Upper West Side dance club Columbus 72. "They had an intensive security search. Clubs do that, but it's rare that a restaurant does that." 

Community Board 7's Business & Consumer Issues Committee meets at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 250 W. 87th Street. Click here for the full agenda.