After the State Liquor Authority’s renewal of Café Déjà vu’s liquor license, it continues to be a source of controversy in the Morris Park community, as it recently citied for numerous violations on a NYC multi taskforce inspection, according to sources.
Café Déjà vu Lounge & Grill, located at 778 Morris Park Avenue, resumed normal activity the weekend of October 4, after the State Liquor Authority approved and processed its renewal request.
“All 46 members of Community Board 11 voted it down because of the problems with the establishment over the past two years,” said CB 11 member Joe Bombace. “Some problems have been corrected, but most have not.”
Though Déjà vu owner Robert Karagi claims to have no violations against him, the café allegedly has two upcoming appearances for minor violations.
Déjà vu was allegedly issued violations after a recent multi-agency sting, for not having a public assembly permit, no food handler visibly present during operation hours, uncovered garbage cans, improperly placed hand wash signs, ice scoop handle touching the ice, and an unreasonable noise violation.
“These are minor infractions, but we are continuing to go after them and doing whatever we can to have them closed down,” said CB 11 district manager John Fratta. “We have to resolve this problem.”
Community board members want to know why, with all the occurrences, the Déjà vu owner has yet to meet with local elected officials and board members to reach a solution or compromise.
Karagi made a statement attributing an increase in businesses setting up shop along Morris Park Avenue as a result of the success of Café Déjà vu. “I beautified this whole neighborhood, if you look around,” Karagi said. “There are more stores opening up here because of my business.”
Residents of Morris Park believe much of the success of businesses throughout this area, which continue to grow, should be attributed instead to the Morris Park Business Alliance.
“The Morris Park Business Alliance represents about 90% of the shops up and down the commercial corridor of Morris Park,” said Robert Ruggiero, president of the MPBA. “We are here to cultivate businesses with city agencies and attract viable tenants looking to open suitable businesses, and that’s what we have been doing the past year.”
Ruggiero stated that the recent controversy surrounding Café Déjà vu has likely hindered, not helped, the efforts of MPBA and individual merchants to make Morris Park a better place to do business.
“It’s an after-hours club that presents a problem for the community,” Ruggiero said. “That’s why he has so many people working against him, rather than for him.”
CB 11 is also looking into whether or not Café Déjà vu has a cabaret license; something the owner had indicated in the past his establishment possessed.
If the café has a cabaret license, it could negatively impact their ability to operate because it is located within 500 feet of the Morris Park Seventh Day Adventist Church and Our Lady of Solace, in violation of state law.