The new manager of a longstanding Dyker Heights restaurant is coming under fire for allegedly running the business as a nightclub since the storied eatery shut up shop in November.
The establishment, at 7312 13th Ave., the former home of Chef Andrea, a locally acclaimed and beloved Italian eatery – was highlighted at Community Board 10’s Feb. 25 full board meeting, at which Police and Public Safety Committee Chair Lori Willis unpacked some of the property’s recent baggage.
“There has been an acute adverse history at this location,” dating back to November, Willis explained, telling board members that the new leasee, Evelyn Luna, despite a lack of restaurant experience, is currently in the process of applying for a full liquor license for a “Las Chelitas Restaurant Inc.” at the almost 1,500-square-foot space.
It is supposed to be a family-style Mexican restaurant, according to Willis, but both neighbors and authorities allege that, since Chef Andrea’s departure at the end of last year, the establishment has been far from family-friendly.
“From November 11 to January 2, there have been 48 noise complaints to 311, most of which were between 2 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.,” Willis said. In addition, there have been verbal complaints, phone calls and e-mails to the board.
“When the district office reached out to Chef Andrea, he stated that he had closed the premises,” Willis went on, noting that, at which time, the board had learned that the establishment was being run by someone else, utilizing an old liquor license.
Cops were notified and the license was pulled, Willis said, stressing that, in addition to the 311 calls, there had been more than 40 911 calls made about the location.
To make matters worse, a 68th Precinct Community Affairs officer told the committee that “a disregard of neighbor’s complaints by the applicant [has] result[ed] in a waste of police resources in having to revisit the premises.”
Chief complaints include noise – which, neighbors allege begins as early as 5 p.m. and ends as late as 5 a.m. – and a spillage of drunk and disorderly patrons lingering near the establishment.
One resident whose home abuts the rear yard of the business voiced his concerns to the board. His grandmother, he told CB10, is at home recovering from cancer treatment, and her quality-of-life is on the line.
The same resident complained that, upon continued requests to mitigate noise, “the establishment became threatening,” according to Willis.
“Another resident,” she went on, told her that he had visited the location and observed both “dancing and hookah.” A petition has also been signed by at least a dozen residents, who claim that the establishment has been operating as a nightclub.
Board 10 had hoped that the premises, which, the chair said, has appeared dormant since the beginning of February, would stay that way until the issue was resolved, or, at the least, until it received a proper liquor license.
However, that was apparently just wishful thinking.
Residents reached out to the board just one day before the general meeting to say that the loud music had resumed over the weekend of Feb. 23. The all-night dance parties had also resumed as of the week after the full board meeting, Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann told this paper.
Luna – who, Willis added, is the cousin of the former cook at Chef Andrea – told the board that an old manager had been running the premises while she was working on her degree, but admitted that she was responsible for the business during the time when the complaints were made.
Ultimately, CB10 voted to recommend that the SLA deny the restaurant’s application for a new liquor license, as well as to pen a letter to the agency explaining the location’s recent troubled history.
The board’s vote is advisory only.
Luna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.