Follow-Up Meeting Tonight: Navy / Once Upon A Tart

While the SoHo Alliance is slow to update their State Liquor Authority page (or every page for that matter), they are hosting a second meeting tonight at St. Anthony’s Church on Sullivan Street (7/8/2014) at 6:00PM.

The objective is to come to a consensus on whether the neighborhood is supportive of Navy buying out Jerome Audureau, owner of Once Upon A Tart and opening a restaurant/bar in the current space.  You can read more about my post from last week here.

Last week, the room was packed with people!  The meeting started off with everyone going around the room and introducing themselves: where they lived, how long they have been living there, and why they decided to come to the meeting.

First was Sean Sweeney from the SoHo Alliance, followed by the owners of Navy (Matt Abramcyk and Akiva Elstein).  Matt spoke for a few minutes about their concept and was interrupted by Sean to continue the introductions.  

Sean Sweeney (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/fight-business-improvement-district-soho-splits-community-article-1.1047287}

Sean Sweeney (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/fight-business-improvement-district-soho-splits-community-article-1.1047287}

I was fortunate enough to sit next to Akiva, so introduced myself next.  Continuing around the room, my four years in SoHo were trumped by families and locals who have been living here for multiple generations.  Its pretty cool to see an entire neighborhood take ownership in the direction of the community.

The debate was heated:  supporters of Jerome filled the rooms as well as families with children concerned over the noise at Matt and Akiva’s current local joint, Navy and what it would mean for noise conditions at the new Once Upon A Tart.

Once Upon A Tart has been around for 20 years, when SoHo was still “up and coming”.  The argument is that ‘had a restaurant wanted a liquor license back in the 90’s, they could have gotten one’, so why limit it now?

The owner Jerome Audureau fixed up the abandoned store and the rent was cheap; cheap enough to make a decent living.  When his lease was recently renewed, the ends are harder to meet now that he is paying around $20,000 a month in rent.

Jerome (http://www.cookstr.com/)

Jerome (http://www.cookstr.com/)

Matt and Akiva approached Jerome to expand on the concept but keep the name, Once Upon A Tart, to create a restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  The only way that Matt and Akiva suggest this is financially feasible is with a full liquor license (liquor, wine and beer).

While I think being open over 16 hours a day and selling $20,000 of food, wine and beer seems quite feasible, it will be a lot easier if you add-in liquor.  Mixed drinks in SoHo average $14-16, so 44 liquor drinks per day would be their break-even point in rent (not including the cost of the liquor).  Once Once Upon A Tart is remodeled, there will be at least 44 seats.

I am taking a neutral position on this one, and look forward to seeing everyone tonight! [GARD]