No Love For ‘Native Son’ Opening Polynesian Spot

UntitledDaniel Maurer Haile Bistro

Suffering Bastard, indeed?

The name of Richard Boccato’s proposed Polynesian spot may have taken on new meaning last night, as the owner of PKNY, a self-declared “native son” of New York, failed to win over Community Board 3’s SLA committee.

The storefront at 172 Avenue B has been vacant ever since Mercadito Cantina closed a little over two years ago. But the block is saturated with bars, argued neighbors such as Andrew Coamey, a member of the East Village Community Coalition. Sara Romanoski, the managing director of the E.V.C.C., presented a letter of protest, signed by herself and Damaris Reyes, executive director of Good Old Lower East Side, whose office is across the street from the proposed location.

After laboriously making the case that he and partner Ian Present had long roots in the neighborhood (Mr. Present grew up on that very block, between 10th and 11th Streets) Mr. Boccato challenged a man with a European accent who had spoken against the bar, saying, “With all due respect, your accent doesn’t sound like a native New Yorker.”

Note to future applicants: this approach doesn’t ingratiate you to your neighbors, nor to the SLA committee. Alexandra Militano, the committee chair had to quiet the room after it broke into jeers, and scolded the “very inappropriate” comment.

The committee also voted to recommend a denial of Rob Shamlian’s application to expand Tiny Fork, an oyster bar, into the lower level. The owner of Spitzer’s, Fat Baby, and Gallery Bar withdrew an application last fall after community blowback led by the LES Dwellers.

On a happier note, forthcoming Ethiopian spot Haile Bistro got support for beer and wine at 182 Avenue B, and Heart n’ Soul, successor to Mama’s Food Shop, got support for beer and wine until midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends. They plan to serve food and run the takeout counter even later.

Correction: April 9, 2013. This post was revised to correct errors. The original version misspelled the name of the Polynesian bar’s owner and misstated its cross-streets. It is owned by Richard Boccato, not Bocatto, and is located between East 10th and 11th Streets, not a block above. The letter protesting the bar was co-signed by Sara Romanoski, not Andrew Coamey.