After undergoing a renovation into a restaurant, Café Déjà vu has recently stirred concert from residents, who feel its former problems are resurfacing.
In December of 2008, Rob Karagi, owner of 778 Morris Park Avenue, closed for renovations after numerous incidents surrounding the location warranted a meeting with Community Board 11, the 49th Precinct, and Councilman Jimmy Vacca.
A commitment was made by Karagi to transform the location into a community-friendly establishment, with reduced hours and a lighter ambiance to attract different clientele.
With the black glass front gone and a full redesign, it seemed Karagi was mending his ways. However, in recent weeks residents are once again complaining of rowdy clientele and noise.
Responding to this concern, CB11 district manager, John Fratta, along with CB11 members Joe Thompson and Bob Potter, conducted a drive by on Sunday, April 26 around 1 a.m., visiting some of the districts’ high profile locations.
“We went around to places where we were getting late night complaints,” said Thompson. “We went inside each place to make sure of exactly what they were doing and everyone was cooperative.”
The investigation warranted three concerns about Déjà vu: no interior view from the street due to lowered shades, couples observed dancing inside without a cabaret license, and the lack of double doors to contain the sound.
“The police have to be able to see the club’s inside from the street, but we didn’t see anything out of line as far as the crowd was concerned,” said Thompson. “It’s not the way it used to be, but they do have to live up to their agreement.”
Fratta plans to hold a meeting to discuss some of the concerns to keep the café community friendly.
“It’s not a restaurant, it’s a club, but we went in there and the people seemed orderly,” said Fratta.
Local resident and CB11 member Joe Bombace feels Déjà vu is still creating quality of life issues for neighbors.
“Even with the conversion, it’s the same church with a different pew, it’s just a disguise,” said Bombace.