Vice Unit slams Bobbie’s Café Lounge

The Bronx NYPD Vice Unit busted into Bobbie’s on Thursday, August 13 and shuttered the Hone Avenue cafe lounge. Bobbie’s has generated a number of complaints, 49th Precinct Captain John Greeley said. He recently asked the vice unit to step in.

The men in blue slammed Bobbie’s with nuisance abatement and arrested bartender Ardian Kacaj. Kacaj was shot near the café lounge on Monday, March 30 and arrested on Thursday, August 13 for illegal warehousing; Bobbie’s holds a wine license but has allegedly served liquor. Kacaj was arrested for illegal warehousing on Wednesday, May 6 and Wednesday, May 13, Greeley said. The Belmont resident was also arrested on Saturday, August 1, for operating Joker Poker machines, according to court documents.

On March 30, a 49th Precinct squad car spotted Kacaj kneeling in the street in front of 1835 Hone Avenue. Kacaj was heading to his vehicle when a man called out to him and fired a bullet at the bartender, he said. The cafe lounge was closed on Friday, August 15 and Sunday, August 16. Bobbie’s had a court date on Monday, August 17. Greeley expects it to reopen but the cafe lounge will be shuttered for a year if there is another illegal warehousing arrest, he said. The 33-year old Kacaj was arrested on two occasions in 2008 for operating Joker Poker machines, Greeley said.

The 49th Precinct, the Department of Buildings, the Department of Health, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Fire Department showed up at Bobbie’s unannounced on Saturday, April 4 and issued summonses forunlicensed liquor, tinted front windows, cigarette smoke. There were ashtrays inside the cafe lounge, Greeley said.

The new owner of Bobbie’s recently had it renovated and promised to emphasize the “cafe” aspect of “lounge cafe,” Morris Park Community Association president Al D’Angelo said. The owner planted trees on Hone Avenue. He redid the façade.

“I thought it was going to be a nice sidewalk cafe,” said D’Angelo. “I’m disappointed.”

Greeley thanked Vice Unit Captain Andy Johnson.

“He did a nice job,” Greeley said. “The 49th Precinct worked hard, too.”

Vice Unit Detective Jesus Capo made the arrest.

Two days earlier, on Tuesday, August 11, Senator Jeff Klein hosted a roundtable discussion with State Liquor Authority Commissioner Noreen Healey, Community Board 11 district manager John Fratta, Community Board 10 district manager Ken Kearns, Community Board 12 district manager Carmen Rosa and Community Board 6 district manager Ivene Galarza.

Healey shared knowledge of SLA procedures in an effort to empower the district managers. The roundtable participants discussed nightclubs that masquerade as restaurants. Healey promised to step up enforcement in the Bronx.

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