Upstart Cafe Becomes Enemy No. 1 In Manhattan Beach Over Beer & Wine Application

Upstart Cafe Becomes Enemy No. 1 In Manhattan Beach Over Beer & Wine Application
(Photo: Chillax Manhattan Beach Cafe / Facebook)
(Photo: Chillax Manhattan Beach Cafe / Facebook)

An upstart cafe has drawn the ire of community leaders over its application to serve alcoholic drinks on a residential street in Manhattan Beach.

The Community Board has submitted an objection to a beer and wine license filed last month by Chillax, a coffee shop located at 184 Oxford Street, around the corner from Oriental Boulevard.

“That is a residential block. It’s not a location for a beer and wine license,” said Community Board 15 chairwoman Theresa Scavo.

Chillax presence has been met with hostility since the restaurant first opened in November. Scavo said the community board immediately began receiving complaints from about the business attracting students from Kingsborough Community College who are parking illegally on the block.

Students clogging up residential streets near the college has long infuriated the neighbors, but Scavo said the cafe has made things worse.

“The community board from the day they opened started receiving complaints about double parking and blocked driveways,” she said. “This is only going to aggravate the situation.”

Chillax’s owner, Victoriya Midyany, disagreed that her restaurant’s patrons are creating a nuisance for neighbors.

“Why would anyone ever double park their car and go into a restaurant?” she said. “You know your car would be towed. It never happens.”

Midyany said she filed for a beer and wine license so that the restaurant could better accommodate people from the neighborhood during the summer. She also said the restaurant will only serve alcohol during evenings and weekends, when most of the college students are not on campus.

“When the summer comes and families want to go out for dinner or lunch, they can enjoy a glass of wine. We are planning to bring a nice menu to the community and serve dinner,” she said.

Judy Baron, President of the Manhattan Beach Community Group, has also submitted a letter on behalf of neighbors opposing the beer and wine license. She said the restaurant shouldn’t even be on the street in the first place. The property has a special variance for commercial use that goes back to when it used to be a real estate office, she said.

“This business is cheek by jowl to the home next door. You put a restaurant there, people gather outside, they go outside to smoking. It’s right next to a family with kids,” said Baron. “Having an establishment like that on a private street, even though they are entitled to do it, should not have a license to sell any kind of alcohol.”

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