May 22, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
A 30th Avenue Greek restaurant that had plans to open a large sidewalk seating area has agreed to reduce its size after facing opposition from neighboring residents.
Piatsa Souvlaki, located at 36-02 30th Ave., opened about three months ago and went before Community Board 1 in April requesting to open an outdoor café with 36 tables and 70 seats.
At that meeting, a group of neighbors testified against the restaurant’s application, worrying that it would add pollution and restrict pedestrian passage on the already crowded avenue.
Owner George Sorotos subsequently withdrew the application and agreed to sit down with neighbors to draw up a more palatable plan; he was met with gratitude and applause.
However, the revised application that Piatsa brought back to the board on Tuesday – requesting 31 tables and 61 seats – did not satisfy neighbors as a significant enough reduction. The placement of seats also worried the restaurant’s upstairs neighbors, whose apartment entrance on 36th Street would be sandwiched between outdoor tables.
“Diminishing their request by five tables and nine chairs doesn’t really seem like much of a compromise,” one of these residents, Courtney Crawford, said.
As a result, CB 1 convinced Piatsa to shrink its outdoor café once again, this time to 23 tables with 45 seats, and in particular to remove eight tables that were adjacent the apartment entrance.
The Board then overwhelmingly approved the application.
Neighbors said they were satisfied with the decision.
“We can live with that,” Patrick Comaskey of the Norwood Gardens Neighborhood Association, a local civic group, said. “Less tables will always be a better situation, of course.”
“It’s a little more than we would like, but we could consider it a win,” Crawford said. “I won’t be putting my groceries on someone’s table when I try to walk in the door.”