Alex Stupak Wins Board Approval for E. Vill Empellon, and Jason Hennings Is "Happy to Be Investigated"

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Lara Kastner/Alinea
Alex Stupak
CB3's monthly SLA committee meeting happened last night, and from the numerous accounts lighting up the interweb, it was a lively one.

The Lo-Down reports that the Mamajuana Café's application for the former Tonic space at 107 Norfolk Street was rejected, prompting the restaurant's general manager, David Santos (who said he had deep roots in the Lower East Side), to ask why the board rejected his application, but not that of Dans Le Noir?, the French chain that abandoned the space in favor of one in Tribeca. The board couldn't answer the question, but Mamajuana's owners plan to go ahead with their plans anyway.

Eater was also there, and brings word that wd-50's Alex Stupak appeared to make his case for yet another location of Empellon, the restaurant he's also opening on West 4th Street. Somewhat confusingly, this Empellon, located at 105 First Avenue (the current home of Counter) is being billed as a "fine-dining Mexican restaurant," while the West Village locale was described to CB2 last week as a late-night place for industry types. Whatever's going on, Stupak's restaurant now has two license approvals for two different locations, so things could be worse.

Meanwhile, EV Grieve reports that there was a somewhat contentious showdown between Jason Hennings, owner of Diablo Royale Este, and neighbors of the Avenue A bar, which provoked neighborhood ire in September with a Boats 'n' Hoes soiree. Among the highlights: laughter from Hennings after one resident recounted getting clipped by a bus after crowding on the bar's sidewalk forced him to walk in the street. The board decided to send a letter to the SLA asking it to investigate Hennings' bar; Hennings claimed he would be "happy to be investigated." Probes all around!

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