Webinar on Restaurant Law

On May 15, 2024, the New York City Bar Association will present a webinar on Restaurant Law from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm sponsored by the Hospitality Law Committee. The program will focus on the corporate, real estate, liquor license, and employment/labor issues in opening and operating a restaurant. Donald Bernstein of Bernstein Redo & Savitsky, P.C. will present a one-hour section on retail liquor licenses in New York, including reviewing who can be licensed, what can be licensed, the 200 foot and 500 foot laws, and how to navigate the New York State Liquor Authority and the local community boards. He will also discuss the ever popular private members club and the rules in New York that govern the licensing of private members clubs.

New York 2025 Budget Liquor Law Changes

There are significant changes in the liquor laws included in the state budget for 2025 signed by Governor Hochul. One of the provisions eliminates the 30-day waiting period to file an on-premises license application with the New York State Liquor Authority after notice is given to the local community board or municipality. Applications can now be filed simultaneously with the giving of that notice.

In 2022, legislation was enacted allowing cocktails to go. The sunset of that law has been extended from 2025 to 2030.

The 2025 budget also allows the licensing of movie theaters for full liquor. The prior law only permitted movie theatres to serve liquor if it met the definition of a restaurant.  Under the new law, snacks such as popcorn and candy are sufficient for movie theaters to meet the food requirement for a license.

Changes were also made regarding one-day caterer’s permits. Prior law required any permit for full liquor to be limited to indoor or tented outdoor spaces. The new law now allows private event permits to be issued for outdoor events.

Another change eliminates the Prohibition-era requirement that a liquor, wine, or package store be located at street level to qualify for a license.

One proposed law that did not make it into the budget was intended to eliminate the requirement that a premises had to have been licensed within the prior two year period for a new license in the City of New York to obtain a temporary permit.

NYC DOT Accepting Applications For Permanent Outdoor Dining

In accordance with Local Law No. 121 of 2023, the New York City Department of Transportation released its final rules relating to its Dining Out NYC Program for permanent sidewalk and street seating.  As of today, March 5, 2024, DOT opened its portal to accept applications under those rules. These rules replace the 2020 temporary Open Restaurants program, and all restaurants that have permits under the COVID-era program are required to file with DOT for new permits by no later than August 3, 2024.  All new applicants who have ground floor interior space are eligible and may file an application with DOT. The application must include a petition which is available on the DOT website, a site plan showing all required clearances, photographs, property owner consent and certification from the applicant that they have entered into a contract for pest control for the outdoor area. Applicants must also have a Health Department permit. Once DOT receives an application, notice is given to the local community board which has the right to comment. If they oppose the application, DOT will conduct a public hearing.  Unenclosed sidewalk and roadway cafes may only operate until midnight, and alcohol may be served only if permitted by the New York State Liquor Authority.  No music or smoking is permitted in the outdoor space. Roadway cafes must be dismantled between November 30th and March 31st.  Sidewalk cafes must have a perimeter demarcation, such as a base wall, planter, fence, or stanchions with ropes. It may not be erected on any platform or flooring. The code has specific required measurements and clearances to curbs, tree beds, subway grates, fire hydrants, and other objects. DOT estimates that approval times for applications will be approximately six months.

ZZ’s Club and Little Maven

Two new openings by notable restauranteurs. ZZ’s Club is a private members club in Hudson Yards, pictured above. It features interior design from Ken Fulk and offers the finest caliber cuisine under the direction of Major Food Group, owners of the fabled Carbone, and the new, noteworthy Torrisi. Within ZZ’s there will be a private version of Carbone.  ZZ’s replaces Tavern, a members club operated by Related Companies in partnership with Wine Spectator.

Also opening next week is Little Maven, a self-described modern American neighborhood restaurant on West 18th Street.  VCR Group’s Little Maven team includes entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, hospitality veterans chefs Josh Capon and Conor Hanlon, and David Rodolitz, the same group behind the planned private members club Fly Fish that will open early next year on East Houston Street.  Fly Fish was featured this past year at the U.S. Open.

Bernstein Redo & Savitsky, P.C. is proud to be part of the ZZ’s and Little Maven teams!

Soho House Celebrates 20 Years

It was over 20 years ago that we received a telephone call from Nick Jones in London. He was looking to open a private members club in Manhattan called Soho House. We had never heard of it. Little did we know that 20 years later, this iconic club would have 40 Houses world-wide, with 3 in New York City, and locations in West Hollywood, Chicago, Austin, South Beach, Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome, Bangkok, Mexico City, Tel Aviv, to name a few. The first New York City House was actually planned to be in Soho, oddly enough. That deal fell through and the next location was in a former warehouse on Ninth Avenue in the Meatpacking District which opened in the Spring of 2003. The rest, as they say, is history.  We are proud to be a part of the Soho House team from Day 1. Congratulations to Nick and Soho House. We look forward to another 20 years.

Proposed Rules Issued for Outdoor Dining

In August, New York City Mayor Adams signed a bill to create a permanent outdoor dining program, called “Dining Out- NYC,” which grants the Department of Transportation authority to issue permanent licenses for roadbed and municipal sidewalk seating.  DOT just issued proposed rules for the Dining Out-NYC program with notice of a public hearing to review those rules before they are adopted.  Here is a copy of those proposed rules:  DOT Outdoor Dining Proposed Rules.pdf (nyc.gov)

DOT will be conducting a public hearing on the proposed rules online on November 20, 2023 at 10:00 am. Participants can join the Zoom meeting via the link above.  Written comments can also be submitted to rules@dot.nyc.gov.  Anyone wishing to speak at the meeting must register to do so by November 17th.  Once final rules are enacted, DOT will launch an online application portal and applications will be accepted in early 2024.  Operators who have temporary permits under the Open Restaurants program may continue to use those permits through the remainder of 2023, and then must apply under the new program within three months.

Sahadi’s Comes to Pier 57

Sahadi’s, the family run iconic grocery from Lebanon which opened its first store in Manhattan’s “Little Syria” in 1895 is opening a new outpost at the Pier 57 food court in Manhattan.  Wade Sahadi moved the original Manhattan store to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn in 1948, and his son Charlie Sahadi took over in 1967 with help from other family members. Today, Charlie’s children Ron Sahadi and Christine Sahadi Whelan and her husband Pat Whelan (all pictured above) run the operation. In 2019 they opened a second location in Industry City, and the third is now coming to Pier 57. Sahadi’s, with a deli and bakery, is a self-described old world place where you can discover new tastes. Each location offers a different shopping experience. Bernstein Redo & Savitsky, P.C. is proud to be part of the Sahadi’s team.

T-Squared Social

Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake, in partnership with Nexus Luxury Collection and the Tavistock Group owned by Joe Lewis, and 8AM Golf owned by the Milstein family, this week opened a huge 22,000 square foot sports bar with 24 foot ceilings at 7 East 42nd Street in Manhattan. In addition to offering food and drinks including specialty cocktails and wines, T-Squared Social (the “T” is for Tiger and Timberlake) offers full swing gold simulators, darts, duckpin bowling and over 35 televisions with a 200-inch flat screen. The Vault room is also available for private events.  Bernstein Redo & Savitsky, P.C. is proud to be part of the T-Squared Social team.

Daily Provisions Opens in Brooklyn

Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group is opening its first Daily Provisions in Brooklyn, at 151 Court Street in Cobble Hill.  The new 1,500 square foot location is the fifth Daily Provisions in the city, and offers beer, wine and cocktails to its menu in addition to coffee and its famous crullers. Since USHG started the Daily Provisions all-day café brand, it opened locations in the West Village, Upper West Side, Union Square, and Midtown.  Bernstein Redo & Savitsky, P.C. is proud to be a part of the USHG and Daily Provisions team.

Raf’s on Elizabeth Street

290 Elizabeth Street in Manhattan, which beginning in 1933 was an Italian American bakery, most recently as Parisi Bakery which closed in 2021, has roared back to life.  Twin sisters Jennifer and Nicole Vitagliano recently opened a new all-da café and restaurant, Raf’s with Italian and French inspired dishes. Jennifer is also the owner of the Michelin-starred Musket Room. The restaurant shares its name with Jennifer and Nicole’s grandmother, Rafaela. On the Raf’s team are executive chef Mary Attea and executive pastry chef Camari Mick, both of whom have been recognized by the James Beard Foundation.  Though only open a few months, in July Raf’s has already received two stars from New York Times critic Pete Wells.  Bernstein Redo & Savitsky P.C. is proud to be part of the Raf’s team.