Shirley Temples anyone?
Community Board 15 is pushing the state to deny an Oxford Street cafe a wine and beer license, because the coffee-and-pastry parlor is too close to area schools and may encourage underage drinking. An owner began converting the building into a restaurant in 2011, but met fierce opposition amid fears the joint would attract rowdy co-eds from nearby Kingsborough Community College. He finally opened three months ago, and said he doesn’t understand why neighbors are so prudish.
“The board was giving me a hard time — they complain about everything, didn’t want me to build this restaurant,” said Roman Midyany, who owns Chillax Cafe with wife Viktoriya. “I don’t want know why the board is against me.”
But local leaders fear the hypothetical watering hole’s proximity to the college and co-located Leon Goldstein High School will drive pupils to replace Proust with “prost.”
“Why should you put temptation in the face of young people?” said board chairwoman Theresa Scavo.
The Midyanys only plan to break out the booze on weekends and after 6 pm on weekdays — in deference to neighbors worried about underage, under-the-influence undergrads, Viktoriya said.
“We are respectful to our neighbors,” she said. “We are not planning that at all — to sell alcohol during school hours.”
The state prohibits restaurants from selling liquor within 200 feet of schools, but the law doesn’t apply to places that only sell wine and beer, according to the New York State Liquor Authority.
Community groups pledged to battle alcohol license applications back in 2011 when the Midyanys started building the restaurant, and Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Manhattan Beach) recently wrote the state a letter opposing the application citing proximity to schools and a prevalence of underage area motorists.
“The vast majority of motorists and pedestrians in that section of Manhattan Beach are affiliated with the schools, and they are overwhelmingly minors,” Deutsch said.
The owners want to work with the board, Viktoriya said.
“We live here, and we work here, and we want to be part of our community,” she said.
But Roman vowed to keep business chugging along in the face of opposition.
“I will not close out the business,” he said. “I’m not going to give up on my business because the board wants me to.”