War On Brunch in Williamsburg: Group Tries to Ban Outdoor Dining on Sabbath

Via Brooklyn Paper

A Williamsburg neighborhood group is waging a war on brunch — pressuring restaurants in one of the city’s mimosa-strongholds to open later, hush their patrons, and keep their diners inside.

Community Board 1 members want the city to enforce a little-known rule prohibiting restaurants from serving diners at outdoor sidewalk cafes on Sunday mornings.

“This would keep the sidewalks open for Sunday morning walks to church,” said Community Board 1 public safety chairman Tom Burrows. “Lokal, Enid’s, and Five Leaves consistently open their sidewalk cafe hours before noon on Sundays.”

But cafe owners say they will continue to defy a regulation barring them from serving poached eggs with duck hash to hungry outdoor diners before noon rather than risk losses to their bottom line.

“This is bulls—, it’s not good,” said Lokal owner Gino Kutluca, who starts serving sidewalk patrons at 10 am. “We get 60 percent of our business on Saturday and Sundays.”

The front lines of the bloody mary battlefield is a three block area near the northern tip of McCarren Park where several restaurants operate sidewalk cafes.

The community board has already fired its first shots at Greenpoint brunch mainstay Five Leaves, which preemptively removed two sets of unsanctioned outdoor benches last weekend after a warning from the neighborhood group.

The eatery’s owners hauled away the wooden planks from their 20-seat sidewalk cafe to avoid heavy penalties after residents complained the benches draw a cacophonous crowd that lingers while waiting to order ricotta pancakes, egg sandwiches, truffle fries, and brussels sprouts beginning at 8 am.

“Do they need a threat to be good neighbors?” said Burrows, who has adopted the rule of General Patton in the board’s war on brunch. “Take reservations so there aren’t hordes standing around not moving out of the way!” […]North Brooklyn’s brunch lovers — the foot soldiers in the conflict — vowed to continue dining in the face of a law they consider unjust.

“It doesn’t seem very relevant for city life,” said Williamsburg resident and brunch fan Jay Tate. “People in New York work a lot and if they want to be able to enjoy brunch on a Sunday, they should.”


  1. Im off to Sunday brunch right now. Brunch at Lokal is awesome!

  2. Really, CB1? Lokal as the crowded brunch spot? I’m not the biggest Lokal fan, but if it weren’t for Lokal, the Five Leaves crowd wouldn’t have an alternative and crowds would be way, way worse.

    I live a few doors down from Five Leaves/Lokal. While I can understand why the weekend brunch scene is obnoxious, it would be nice if CB1 targeted the real culprit that is taking the quality of life down a notch in the neighborhood : Nights & Weekends’ policy of blasting music until 3am on weeknights (weekends I can understand) with their windows and doors open. Love the bar, but the windows open with the music blasting on a Wednesday night? I’ve politely introduced myself as a neighbor and requested a few times for them to turn it down a bit or just simply close the doors. Each time, I get a really shit attitude and a ”no sorry.” Not a great way to get the neighbors to support your business.

    CB1- a quiet, orderly crowd that wants to eat on Saturday and Sunday is not your problem. Methinks you have bigger fish to fry.

  3. I don’t even think I’m up on the weekends when most people are having brunch. Sure one would have any other reason to be annoyed at sidewalk cafes, but to make room for church goers? Because literally the streets are flooded with them >.<

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