Uncommon Grounds Pitches Outdoor Seating

Brownstoner reports that Uncommon Grounds, which is currently closed for renovations, will be asking CB2 to allow it to add outdoor seating at tonight's meeting.

The cafe, which is transforming itself into a restaurant, is located on the busy corner of Henry and Cranberry Streets in the North Heights.

The question here is: Should CB2 allow this? Is this a wonderful idea that will invigorate the neighborhood or is too much clutter for a residential street? 

Here's a diagram of the proposed outdoor seating plan:




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  • Truth Williams

    If anyone from CB2 is reading this, please don’t let this happen. Those sidewalks are too cluttered already with crap including newspaper boxes etc. The sidewalk in front of Busy Chef is cluttered with newspaper racks, that blue pig and tons of unnecessary garbage.

    Stop the madness!

  • beth

    oh, come on — how are a few tables on Cranberry Street going to affect your life? There won’t be any on Henry. When this was Cubanito they had some tables outdoors and it was fine.

  • http://brooklynheightsblog.com Qfwfq

    Um, that’s a bit of a tight fit over there, no? Though I would love to see some more outdoor cafe seating in this neighborhood, those plans really exaggerate the width of the sidewalk. It’s not as wide as it makes it out to be. I would think they would have to knock down the tree and remove the newspaper stands in order to make this remotely work.

    I also wonder: If they are adding a full kitchen, are they distancing themselves from Busy Chef, their former supplier?

  • stew

    I really don’t see the big deal. Why not? I welcome any new restaurants the neighborhood. Especially since the bad ones don’t last that long anyway. Its not like Manhattan. You could serve bad food there for many years.

    Who cares!? Its just a few tables! Not a nightclub!

  • Cranky

    I like the idea.

  • Robert Perris

    I have been asked by the webmaster where tonight’s public hearing on the sidewalk cafe will be held. As indicated on the other side of the illustration above, the hearing will take place at 6:00 pm in the First Floor Board Room of St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, between Clinton and Court streets.

    BTW Beth, any time that Cubanito had tables and chairs on the sidewalk, the restaurant was in violation since it did not have a sidewalk cafe license. The community board district office received frequent complaints about the noise generated at the illegal outdoor seating.

  • beth

    Yeah, I figured as much since it didn’t last long. But just because they did it wrong doesn’t mean that someone else can’t do it right.

    Also, re: noise compliants — I don’t know, maybe I’m too forgiving, but I’ll tell you right now that Jack the Horse has added a whole lot more noise to my life (HVAC, garbage collection, linen delivery) but… I deal with it, because I like having more life in my neighborhood. Of course we’re all nimbys at heart and we want everything to stay the same, but sometimes we all need to accept that a little noise comes with the city. It’s why we don’t live in the burbs.

  • yev

    henry st. has so much to offer. it’s a shame there isn’t more outdoor seating.

  • nabeguy

    Based on the drawing, the total tabletop area doesn’t appear to be much larger than the size of a Metro or AM newspaper. At that size, the only complaints are likely to come from the diners themselves when their drinks start falling off of these postage stamps, especially with the deuces. By the way, I have it on fairly good authority that the owner of Cubanito is, in fact, the same owner as UC and the rest of the CoC establishments. Anybody else heard that?

  • Truth Williams

    You are correct Nabeguy. Pay no attention to the same men behind the curtain.

  • Beavis

    I vote for more clutter. Let it happen!

  • cranberry

    Do tell us more nabeguy…I wouldn’t have thought to link cubanito with the others….although now that i think back on the place it makes sense. Isn’t the sidewalk over there all crooked and pitched? I can’t remember even though i walk on it everyday…

  • nabeguy

    Wish I could, but it wouldn’t be politic. Let’s just say that I suspect there’s more than pizza being burned in the ovens at Oven. The Cubanito space has gone through 3 complete renovations and 4 incarnartions in as many years. Doesn’t that sound a bit off, especially if it’s been the same owner throughout? Perhaps it’s a case of practice makes perfect, but someone sure has deep pockets to keep this going…or else they’re getting taken to the laundry…oops I mean cleaners.

  • http://brooklynheightsblog.com Qfwfq

    nabeguy, I too have reasons to believe that the former owners of Cubanito, Chez Henry, Food Maestro, etc. are still involved with those areas. For instance, I find it odd that according the NY State Liquor Authority’s online database, the active license assigned to 60 Henry (current home of Oven and Busy Chef) has Ghorchian’s and Young’s names attached to it. It expires July 2008. Uncommon Ground is in the same situation as well. I thought maybe the database was out of date, but when I called the liquor authority a couple of months ago, I was told (quite rudely, by the way) that the database was correct. From my understanding, you wouldn’t want your name to be associated with a liquor license unless you were neck-deep involved with the business. But I could be wrong.

    Another clue was that The Busy Chef, LLC is associated with Alan Young’s law firm (Alan Young was mentioned as co-owner of Food Maestro).

    Those are a few of the things that lead me to believe Ghorchian and Young are involved with the current crop of businesses at “Corner of Cranberry”. However, I think they are more “the money” than “the brains” this time around.

  • Nigel

    With the cellar door at UC open every day lately — and no cones or barricade of any kind up to warn people — don’t be surprised if some kid or old lady falls down the stairs and gets seriously injured at some point. In which case, UC and CoC will have bigger things to worry about than outdoor seating.

  • Jolly Good

    but where will all the strollers go? Qf whatever – how very bored you must be. Or obsessed with conspiracy theories. I believe the masterminds behind the JFK assasination may actually be the lease holders of 50 Cranberry. I have it on good authority.

  • Nite Lifer

    no stew, the nightclub is coming to Atlantic Avenue. Fortunately it won’t interfere with Trader Joe’s so the fodd savvy denizens of the Heights and Cobble Hill can – thumpa thumpa thumpa – rest at peace.

    as for henry street, it’s probably a lost cause. i mean, the daily eagle takes up half a block of prime real estate to print and distribute 2000 or so pamplets that could be out-sourced. Wouldn’t that be a lovely location for your fish market, green grocer? Just imagine. Fresh flowers, Bright-eyed snapper, live lobsters for you to explain to your kids how they will die. wow! Maybe even a place that sold some cookware.

    as for outside tables, and the restaurants on the street. well, it’s been shown again and again that businesses and people deter crime. dunno, maybe you like getting harrassed for change or seeing people defecate in closed storefronts, i don’t. i guess it’s hard to be a nosy neighbor if everyone is out on the street on display.

    and why are those storefronts still empty? and why, i am told by a friend who looked to open a tanning salon, have the rents in the vacant 60 henry spaces gone up since the oven and busy chef opened?

  • CB Photography

    Of course we should allow outdoor tables, as long as they are done properly. We need MORE vibrant street life in the Heights, not less. I life very close to this and would welcome it.

  • nabeguy

    Given that the Daily Eagle building used to be the Ace Wire and Brush Company, I suspect it may be zoned for manufacturing. Qfwfq would probably be the best to answer that question, as her sleuthing skills are aces. And jolly good, simply because someone displays enough interest in their neighborhood to actually try and cut their way through the Gordian knot of the city bureaucracy does not mean they’re bored or Oliver Stone. As I’m sure Q would tell you, the devil is in the details.
    P.S. it looks as if UC was on a caffiene buzz last night, as they had already cleared the newspaper boxes away from the corner as of 8:00 PM.

  • Truth Williams

    Jolly, I get the funny feeling your name is Chris.

  • Cranky

    Truth, I think that you are correct. The snarkiness isn’t going to win any new customers that’s for sure.

  • happy

    cranky- i think you misunderstand jolly
    imagine how it must feel, you try to open a nice place that has something everyone likes to eat- pizza
    you try to find really nice wines that people will really love
    and then every time you go on this site all you read is this stinks and that stinks and this sounds fishy and blah blah blah
    people on this site were saying it was going to stink before it was even open
    i dont blame him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    I have to agree with Truth Williams. After wishing I was deaf while listening to that overinflated sarcasm, I can place that post like a picture perfect mugshot.

    By the way, i’d rather see trees with iron grates than outdoor tables.

  • http://www.brooklynheightsblog.com nicky

    Who is Chris?