BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A comfort food restaurant on Bedford Avenue got the thumbs up for a liquor license from Brooklyn's Community Board 3 Monday night, while several of their would-be competitors weren't so lucky.
Fancy Nancy, which is slated to open at 1038 Bedford Ave., earned a round of applause from residents — and praise from the board — for its vow to close at midnight.
Co-owners Kristin Walker, Ben Snider and Jay Chan touted the eatery as a family-friendly restaurant that will hire staff from the commmunity.
Fancy Nancy plans on serving affordable and healthy American fare, according to the owners, with options including roasted cauliflower, kale ravioli, barbecue skirt steak, and crispy pork.
Other liquor license applicants weren't so lucky Monday night. The board shot down three other bids for liquor licenses amid residents’ worries that the neighborhood is becoming “oversaturated” with bars.
The board denied a letter of support to cocktail bar Lover’s Rock, live music venue C’mon Everybody! and craft beer and cocktail spot Bob’s Standard on Monday following February presentations from the businesses.
Originally, the economic development committee recommended letters of support for all three based on the condition that the businesses amend their closing hours from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. That recommendation was rejected by a majority of the full board.
The owners of the new neighborhood hangouts faced criticism from community and board members last month, with some calling for an explanation of the influx of bars in the area.
“We’ve been inundated with bars opening up recently. What makes you different? Why is everybody looking for a bar and not a family restaurant?” said board member Felicia Alexander.
“If it was a family restaurant I would vote yes in a heartbeat…but it’s bar after bar after bar.”
Shane Feirstein and Alex Escamilla, owners of the planned Lover’s Rock on Tompkins Ave., stressed the eatery’s tropical-inspired food menu and its daytime use as a juice bar. Escamilla added that she also lives in the neighborhood and would ensure volume control coming from the venue’s backyard.
“We want to add some cleanliness, safety and security to the location,” Escamilla said. “The reason a lot of people are looking at these types of businesses at the moment is because it isn’t an office working destination.
“You really do depend on people coming out after work, after a night in the city, and that’s kind of where the market is pointing right now.”
Residents expressed concerns about the transformation of Bed-Stuy’s “bedroom community” to a neighborhood pub crawl. Noise from patrons and loud music was a hot topic, as well as the establishment of such businesses in areas near churches and senior residences.
While some flat out rejected the notion of another local bar, others supported the businesses and the neighborhood's changing landscape but asked for an earlier closing time.
“We understand your decision to run the kind of business you are, but I’m questioning your hours,” CB3 member Nelson Stoute said at last month’s meeting. “If you’re really about this community, you need to adjust.”
“If we’re not open during the same hours, we have a distinct competitive disadvantage,” said Bob’s Standard co-founder Hilary Krishnan.
“We lose a proportion of our local clientele to those establishments and face a greater challenge to keep our doors open.”
The board's decision is not binding but is considered by the State Liquor Authority when it decides if it will grant a license.