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Burger Joint Might Be Too Popular to Open on Ludlow Street, Board Says

By Allegra Hobbs | August 23, 2016 2:44pm
 Black Tap Craft Burger & Beer has Manhattan locations in Soho and the Meatpacking District.
Black Tap Craft Burger & Beer has Manhattan locations in Soho and the Meatpacking District.
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Black Tap/Facebook

LOWER EAST SIDE — Wildly popular burger and beer joint Black Tap is set to open a new Ludlow Street location — but it might be too popular for the tiny street to handle, according to community board officials.

Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer makes novelty milkshakes such as Cotton Candy and the Pixy Stix and Nerds-topped Sour Power that have been known to attract lines stretching down the block at the eatery’s SoHo and Meatpacking District locations, as reported by Eater.

But the narrow and saturated thoroughfare along 177 Ludlow St., where they hope to open a new location, is not equipped to handle such crowds, argued Community Board 3 officials at Monday’s State Liquor Authority Subcommittee meeting.

“I get the complaints — it’s my job,” said District Manager Susan Stetzer, noting that locals often complain of congestion in the street and sidewalks. “And one of the biggest complaints, and one we can’t deal with because it’s not really against the law, is people congregating outside.”

The block between East Houston and Stanton streets is already overdeveloped, filled with bars and restaurants where revelers often spill into the street, while lacking the infrastructure to accommodate the masses, said subcommittee chair Alex Militano.

The subcommittee issued a tentative approval of the location’s beer and wine license, but with the stipulation that operators must find a way to control the crowds to prevent a line from trailing down the block — a requirement co-owner and chef Joe Isidori seemed unsure he could fulfill.

“I can’t guarantee that you won’t have congregation outside,” said Isidori. “We are a great brand for a neighborhood like this…but we’re very popular, and we’re being faulted right now.”

But Isidori and business partner Chris Barish should have more carefully considered the layout around the outpost, said Militano, noting there are wider passageways in the Lower East Side that would better accommodate lines.

“If you want to have a line, you could have picked a location on Houston Street, or picked a location on the Bowery, if you knew this was something you could not control,” said Militano. “You just chose the wrong location on the wrong-sized street and wrong-sized sidewalk.” 

Aside from the famous milkshakes, Black Tap serves a selection of burgers — offering a classic “All-American”  along with a Texan burger complete with bacon and BBQ sauce — salads, wings and craft beers.