The owner of a and restaurant has agreed to a bevy of demands, including closing his backyard seating area by 11 p.m. on weekdays and 12 a.m. on weekends.
Akiva Ofshtein, owner of Prime 6, the restaurant under construction at Flatbush and Sixth avenues, agreed to the laundry list of stipulations after a group of irate local residents insisted that the eatery change its hours, backyard setup and even requested a new liquor license hearing.
Ofshtein also ditched plans for a backyard bar, nixed any possibility of bottle service and promised to meet with Community Board 6 after one year to discuss any recurring problems.
“I feel like both sides had to do a little compromising in order to make everybody feel comfortable,” said Ofshtein, adding, “I still think they’re upset with me a little prematurely.”
The compromise comes after over a month of discussions between Ofshtein and a group of residents who live near the eatery, which is slated to open next month. Throngs of fuming residents stormed a meeting, furious over rumors that the locale would be a nightlife hotspot catering to the Barclay’s arena crowd and even angrier that the restaurant had already been granted a liquor license without appearing before the community board.
At a CB6 meeting Ofshtein and the group of community members had come close to compromise, but still argued over the eatery’s hours.
In the end, both sides had to give a little: Ofshtein originally wanted to keep his patio open until 1 a.m. on weekends, and the community argued for Ofshtein to close the patio 10 p.m. on weekends and stop food service by 2 a.m. (under the stipulations, he’ll have a limited bar menu until 4 a.m.)
“I think the general sense is that it was a good compromise,” said Harry Lipman, a St. Marks Avenue resident and attorney who represented the group of community members opposing Prime 6. “I think that as in every compromise, both sides are a little dissatisfied. But you have to give a little to get a little.”
At Wednesday’s CB6 meeting, the community board will vote on whether to endorse the stipulations agreed upon by Ofshtein and community members. If endorsed, CB6 would request that the State Liquor Authority add the stipulations to Prime 6’s liquor license.
“I am glad to hear there that all parties involved have finally come to an agreement on the best solution for both Akiva's new business venture and for the neighbors,” said Sharon Davidson, Executive Director of the North Flatbush Business Improvement District, which helped to broker the compromise. “There is an important lesson here: it takes a community to achieve this shared goal of living cohesively in our neighborhoods. Nothing gets accomplished by being combative or argumentative. The North Flatbush BID welcomes all new businesses into our district with the respect they deserve.”
Ofshtein just hopes his neighbors will now give him a chance to prove his worth.
“Im glad this part of it is over,” he said. “Hopefully we can move forward and coexist peacefully. If they give me a chance to be a good neighbor, hopefully everything will be okay.”