Mile End To Plead for Beer and Wine at Bond Street Sandwich Shop

photo-161Daniel Maurer Construction work at 53 Bond.

At a meeting of Community Board 2’s S.L.A. Licensing committee tonight, the owners of Boerum Hill delicatessen Mile End will ask the board to support a beer and wine license at its forthcoming NoHo location. Noah Bernamoff, an owner of the Montreal-style smoked-meat destination, said that he expected neighbors to object to his plans to serve draft beer at 53 Bond Street.

During a telephone conversation earlier today, Mr. Bernamoff said that the beer program would be a nod to Lower East Side delicatessens of old. “Ultimately the idea is to eat a classic deli sandwich with a classic deli beverage, which until the 1940s was beer,” he said. “The beer is going to be integrated into a wider beverage program. We’re going to be making our own sodas, doing hand-squeezed juices, and serving Stumptown coffee.” Mr. Bernamoff said he is currently talking to Red Hook brewer Sixpoint about creating a Mile End beer that might use malts smoked in the deli’s smokers.

“We always think the Lower East Side means pickles, Katz’s deli, Ratner’s, appetizing, and Russ & Daughters,” he said, “but we all forget that at that same time beer was just as readily available –  as a homemade artisanal product – as pickles and cured meats were.”

Mr. Bernamoff said that about 140-150 residents of the area surrounding 53 Bond Street had signed a petition supporting the sandwich shop, but he expected opposition at tonight’s meeting. “There is definitely a cadre of very active members of Community Board 2 that live particularly in NoHo,” he said. “We’ve spoken to Zella Jones – obviously people know her name; she’s been in the news before. I’ve had a nice conversation with her. She’s very happy to have a sandwich at Mile End, but she just doesn’t want us to have a license to sell beer.”

On her Website NoHo News, Ms. Jones voiced her disapproval of the license application, as well as of a license upgrade for a neighboring restaurant, Hung Ry.  Of Mile End, she wrote, “Another never before licensed location and potentially the fifth establishment on Bond St. with a liquor license. A sandwich shop isn’t going to be any more viable than a noodle soup shop and will be highly dependent on liquor sales to survive…meaning liquor is prime and menu is secondary. The next step will be full OP. The answer should be no.”

Mr. Bernamoff said he was sympathetic to such concerns. “I live in Park Slope across the street from three really obnoxious bars,” he said. “Do I think we’re going to be an obnoxious bar? No.”

Instead, he said, he will be opening a restaurant where customers will order sandwiches at a counter, to take away or to eat at a central table. “We’re going to take our lunch stuff [at the Brooklyn location] and our dinner stuff and form a lot of it into a sandwich menu.” That menu will include an array of pickled vegetables, fries and poutine, an expanded variety of breakfast sandwiches to be served late into the day, and charcuterie items such as the ones that have been running as specials in Brooklyn. Mr. Bernamoff mentioned bratwursts and headcheese made from veal, as well as ham and bacon made from lamb.

And if neighbors don’t agree that lamb ham is best enjoyed with a nice cold glass of beer? “I’m assuming we’re going to have to agree to disagree,” said Mr. Bernamoff, “and at that point we’ll have to take our chances at the state level.”