Neighbors Fume Over Iris Cafe’s Java Fumes

Every dog deserves its day, right? Last year BHB had a heyday with the infamous Montague Street hotdog controversy, after a vendor dared to sell wieners to the olfactory offense of a number of readers. Even the New York Post got into the story.

And now, a 2013 controversy involving Brooklyn Heights’ otherwise beloved Iris Cafe… The eatery, which opened in 2009 at 20 Columbia Place, is in hot water with neighbors, reports The New York Post in a story titled “Eatery neighbors in smell hell.” The crime: “It’s been nothing but agita for some residents who live above it. Residents in the historic A.T. White Riverside Apartments gripe that they’re sick of overpowering fumes from coffee, baked goods, beef jerky and other artisan eats that the hip cafe churns out.”

Apparently, Iris and its next-door take-out shop don’t have ventilation systems, “so the strong aromas rise into some of the 157 apartments at the 122-year-old complex,” residents tell the Post, which adds, “The city’s Environmental Control Board last year slapped the takeout shop with $2,400 in fines after Dept. of Environmental Protection inspectors responded to complaints. Summonses were issued because strong odors of brewed coffee and muffins came from an ‘unregulated source.'”

Iris’ co-owner Salah Hamden says he doesn’t have to legally install a ventilation system because he cooks with an electric stove, instead of a gas-fired appliance: “I want to be a good neighbor and am always willing to talk, but if I install a ventilation system, other people in the building might complain it’s too noisy,” he told the Post.

Apparently, the smell of coffee is the new second-hand smoke. D’Amico Coffee in Carroll Gardens, which has been brewing since 1948, has dealt with similar complaints, according to the New York Observer. (Photo: CT)

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  • ltap917

    I am happy for you and your wonderful life.

  • Arch Stanton

    I suppose the 420 was coming from your apartment?

  • Knight

    Methinks you need to learn the difference between being elite and being an elitist. The truly elite are NOT elitist. You, sir, are just an elitist.

  • Gerry

    @ itap917 thanks and I wish you all good things as well…keep on trucking.

  • Gerry

    @ Arch – Regretfully no 420 in my apartment for decades I have been in a random drug testing prodram due to part of my license agreement

  • Mr. Crusty

    But your poor wife MUST smoke to be able to put up with you I imagine.

  • Mr. Crusty

    I found this definition of elitist in the Urban Dictionary and it fits Gerry to a T.

    3. elitist
    An actual elitist is someone who treats anyone who is not as rich/strong/popular as him/her like dirt. A pretentious jerk who has no friends and acts like he’s important to make himself feel better.

  • micheal

    if it was my apartment i’d have the same reaction as the complaining tenants we shouldn’t judge unless we were living there ourselves… and yes,you wouldn’t get violations if the odor wasn’t extreme … Why not just put a vent…. I know for a fact that River Deli on the corner has a vent.. and no issues there… Now that’s being “a good neighbor” !!

  • Gerry

    @ jen – the babys nursery is just another room to the landlord. We have a baby he is 10 months old and I suspect a degree of polultion from the BQE, etc. fly into his room when the window is open. I agree that a safe enviorment is needed for each tenant. If it is coffee and baked goods the baby will be OK. If the fumes are toxic the tenant needs to move.

  • Gerry

    @ Joe A – my wife is many things but NOT poor $$$. And we are parents NO illegal drug activity in our house. I/we get high on life here no need for 420.

  • Gerry

    Wait a minute I have been snookered! This guy Joe A. is really that freak Mr. Crusty whos comments we ignore we do NOT read them so WHY is Mr. Crusty now Joe A?

  • Joe A

    I have other accounts on Disqus for other blogs and it defaulted to this scree name. Please go back to ignoring me, my comments are not for you but about you.