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New Dyckman Street Restaurant Voted Down by SLA for Second Time

 The new restaurant would be extend from the laundromat to the storefront enclosed in a gray construction fence.
The new restaurant would be extend from the laundromat to the storefront enclosed in a gray construction fence.
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DNAinfo/Lindsay Armstrong

INWOOD — The State Liquor Authority denied an application for a new restaurant and bar on Dyckman Street for the second time Tuesday.

The owners of Konto Euro Caribbean Cuisine Corp., asked the SLA to reconsider an application they filed earlier this year to open a new restaurant and bar at 261 Dyckman St.

The authority voted against Konto Euro’s original application to open a small, organic restaurant with an on-premise liquor license in February.

Its decision was based on the high number of places on Dyckman Street that already serve alcohol. There are currently nine venues that serve liquor or wine and beer on a two-block stretch of the street.

The agency has a rule that no on-premise liquor license will be granted for a venue within 500 feet of three or more places that already have liquor licenses.

The SLA also noted that Community Board 12 had recommended the application be denied because the owner failed to submit a petition in support of the business, as per stipulations the owner signed with the board’s licensing committee.  

At Tuesday’s hearing, Aurelia Tavares, a representative for the owner Gregorio Lopez, presented a petition with signatures from Uptown residents.

However, some community members who attended the meeting to oppose the application took issue with the petition.

“I noticed that none of the addresses [of petition signers] are within a block of the location. They are a half-mile to a mile away,” Nancy Preston, of community organization Moving Forward Unidos, told SLA commissioners. “It’s something that kind of raises a red flag.”

Other community members spoke about the noise and quality-of-life issues created by having so many restaurants and bars in one area. 

Tavares said the owner had already agreed in his original application to soundproof the venue and to close at 2 a.m. to help reduce noise.

In addition, Tavares said the owner made improvements to the proposed method of operation.

He had formed a partnership with CUNY in the Heights to provide training and internships for the school’s culinary students, she said.

The owner had created a new menu focused on seafood in order to set the restaurant apart from other establishments in the area, one of the criteria considered when asking for an exception to the 500-foot rule.

Since the original application was filed, the owner has also made plans to expand the venue by taking over the lease for Duce Laundromat at 267 Dyckman St. 

However, Commissioner Jeanique Greene said SLA could not consider any of the proposed changes to the application.

“What you presented today is a new application,” Greene said. 

She said the owner needed to create a new application and bring it before the community board again.

“It would be an injustice to the community board to rule on something they have not had a chance to review,” Greene said.

Commissioner Kevin Kim agreed while also voting to deny the application.

Tavares said the owner would bring a new application before Community Board 12 within the next few months.