Volume 20, Number 46 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | MARCH 28 - APRIL 3, 2008

Bouley’s liquor soufflé finally rises at C.B. 1

If celebrity chef David Bouley were to learn one lesson from his battle with Community Board 1, it might be that persistence pays off.

After the pro-Bouley crowd bombarded the board with no fewer than 12 speakers at Tuesday’s full board meeting — nearly all of whom used the maximum 3 minutes — the board voted in favor of a liquor license for Brushstrokes, the Japanese restaurant Bouley is opening at 109-111 W. Broadway.

The board’s vote is only advisory but it is likely to be influential with the State Liquor Authority, which has the final say.

Bouley’s supporters described him as generous with his time, money and cupcakes (for fundraisers). They said his restaurants bring a class of consumers Downtown who otherwise wouldn’t venture to Tribeca, but once there, they spend money at other local businesses. Several people said they prefer high-class establishments like Bouley’s restaurants to rowdy bars like Buster’s Garage.

“David Bouley has never said no to every zany idea, every request,” said Karie Parker Davidson, a Tribeca resident who has gone to Bouley for fundraising help on neighborhood projects. “David has always said yes.”

The supporters also passed out a packet of more than 20 letters testifying to Bouley’s character and impact on the neighborhood, along with a list of dozens of organizations that have received his charitable contributions.

When it came time to discuss the Bouley license, several board members reminded the group of the objections against Bouley that led the Tribeca committee to twice veto his license application. Board member Julie Nadel, who has battled Bouley for years, led the resistance against him. She cited news reports that Bouley submitted inaccurate 9/11 insurance claims. Nadel also mentioned health-code violations and carbon monoxide poisoning at his existing restaurants.

Several Bouley supporters said that Bouley might not be “an angel,” but others said he worked round-the-clock to provide ground zero workers with meals before he knew he could be compensated by the Red Cross. “You cannot put a price on what he did in those early days,” said Cynthia Vance-Abrams, who has lived in Tribeca for 15 years.

Maria Nardone, who moved to Tribeca in 1984, said Brushstrokes will not be “just another restaurant—it will be a center of culinary excellence.” Bouley’s establishments improve the quality of life in the whole neighborhood, she said.

Brushstrokes will be divided into three mini-restaurants. The basement will be the most casual, with comfortable seating, healthy fare and a family-friendly atmosphere. The first floor will be more formal, serving food inspired by Japanese and French cuisine. The second floor will recreate a high-end Kyoto dining experience.

No one from the community came to speak against Bouley, and when it came time to vote, a large majority of C.B. 1 voted down the anti-Bouley resolution from the Tribeca Committee, which had passed twice before. The full board then passed a resolution supporting Bouley’s license, with conditions that he reduce the number of black cars idling in front of his restaurant and keep the sidewalks clean.

— Julie Shapiro



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