No dancing! New Van Nest restaurant to open —with stipulations

They can dine, but they cannot dance.

Those are the rules a local community board is laying down for a new restaurant moving into a troubled residential corner in Van Nest.

Community Board 11 signed off at its January meeting on a liquor license application for Rury’s Restaurant, due to open in the coming weeks at 600 Van Nest Avenue in a location where the previous occupant was accused of illegally moonlighting as a lounge.

Though the local board is technically advisory, the State Liquor Authority takes a local board’s opinion into account when issuing liquor licenses.

Before Board 11’s economic development committee gave Rury’s the go-ahead, the restaurant owner signed a laundry list of stipulations to be followed from its opening until at least the end of 2014.

The eatery agreed to shut down its kitchen and bar space every night, including weekends, at midnight, four hours before the state-mandated closing time.

No live music or jukeboxes will be allowed, and please, say locals on the board: NO DANCING!

A specific clause that reads “no dancing at any time” was included in the board’s list of demands signed by Rury’s owner Carmen Rodriguez in January. The restaurant is not applying for a cabaret license, which it would need to justify any dancing on its premises.

“If even one or two people get up and dance to a jukebox, that’s a violation,” said Bernadette Ferrara, vice president of the Van Nest Community Association.

The no dancing demand comes from some board members’ concern about the restaurant’s corner locaton, which they say had become noisy and dangerous at night. Officers at the 49th Precinct know the corner as a hotspot, and there was a shooting nearby on Dec. 10, 2012.

Previous tenant Van Nest Café and Restaurant was accused of not helping the issue by hosting late-night parties, with live music and a cover charge. Though the restaurant received no SLA violations, neighbors were wary.

“We had a big problem with them,” Ferrara said. “They lied to us and did basically whatever they wanted.”

New restaurant owner Rodriguez could not be reached for comment before press time. But board members who have spoken to her say they are confident she’ll follow through on her promises.

“She was receptive to all of our ideas, and we’re happy that she’s opening up her business here,” said Board 11 Chairman Anthony Vitaliano.

If Rury’s and the community get along, they can renegotiate terms after Dec. 31, 2014, according to the signed agreement. Until then, neighbors will be keeping watch.

“We are going to work with her,” said Ferrara, “But she will be under a microscope.”

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail her at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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