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European-Style Cafe to Disrupt Peaceful 'Family Block,' Locals Say

By Nikhita Venugopal | November 26, 2014 8:51am
 The proposed location of the cafe at 359 Sackett St., near Smith Street, in Carroll Gardens.
The proposed location of the cafe at 359 Sackett St., near Smith Street, in Carroll Gardens.
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DNAinfo/Nikhita Venugopal

CARROLL GARDENS — Neighbors of a proposed “European-style café” in Carroll Gardens blasted the venue for wanting to bring hard liquor to a “family block” on Sackett Street.

Bar owners Regina Myers and Tyler Maganzini are hoping to open a 12-seat café serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with a “cozy, quaint environment” for people who wanted to read, meet up or work on laptops.

Almost a dozen residents who attended Community Board 6’s license and permits meeting Monday night said they feared the eatery would disrupt the quiet residential block and attract Smith Street’s noisy bar crowd, which would leave cans and cigarette butts on stoops and sidewalks.

“We are not opening a bar,” Myers said at the meeting, applying for a full liquor license. Myers is a member of the committee but abstained from voting.

“I don’t want that on my residential block,” said Diane Buxbaum, 76. “I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

To quell local residents' concerns, Myers and Maganzini, who are engaged, agreed to certain stipulations in their liquor license application, including a last call for drinks at 11:30 p.m. from Sunday to Wednesday and 12:30 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday with the restaurant closing 30 minutes later.

The couple also agreed to close all windows and doors by 10 p.m. every night, keep a container for cigarette butts on the sidewalk and discourage customers from smoking and talking on the block.

But Myers and Maganzini's ties to other bars in the neighborhood were used to bolster some angry residents' concerns.

The couple is a minority partner at Union Grounds, a sports bar at 270 Smith St., which some residents said was “a fairly loud and boisterous place.”

“It’s like Bourbon Street in New Orleans when there’s a game,” said Bob Satuloff, who lives across the street from the bar.

“If it’s an unresponsive management in one place, it would be an unresponsive management facing the other,” Satuloff later told DNAinfo New York.

Yvonne Hsi, who also lives across the street from the bar, made several complaints about noise from the bar before finally emailing Community Board 6 to voice her concerns last month.

The noise levels have subsided since that email but “before that, [Myers] had not been a good neighbor,” she added.

Myers and Maganzini are also the controlling owners at Black Mountain Winehouse at 415 Union St. and recently opened Bar San Miguel at 307 Smith St. with CNBC’s "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.

Several residents who lived near or frequented their bars supported the couple’s efforts Monday night and called them “great business owners.”

“[It] just shows to what type of business people they are,” resident John Loewenstern said.

The committee approved the application for the license with conditions but did not have a quorum for the meeting. The final vote will be taken at CB6’s full board meeting next month with the committee’s recommendation for approval. 

Once the committee approved the application, opposing residents stormed out of the heated meeting, saying they didn’t feel the community’s concerns had been recognized. 

“We’ll make it miserable for them,” said resident Cheryl Cipriani, who felt they had been “railroaded.”

The couple said they have been trying to address residents’ concerns for weeks, including hosting a meet-and-greet for locals on Nov. 17.

“It was a very frustrating place to be in,” Myers told DNAinfo on Tuesday. “Nobody is really listening to us.”

Despite the tenor of the meeting, Myers and Maganzini said there are many people in support of the new eatery, which they hope to open early next year. The venue is listed as Ring Ring Ring LLC but does not have a name as yet.

“A community is not a block. It’s a whole neighborhood,” Myers said.