In a meeting with the neighborhood, Ken Bernard and Jonathan Ahron, representing the Larchmont Bungalow, said they are operating as a take-out business.
When asked why they have tables and chairs in the restaurant, Mr. Bernard said they have furniture, including beds, to sell to their customers. There are signs posted saying all food is served “to go.”
When asked if the business is now a furniture store, Mr. Bernard said yes, that’s what their customers wanted, so that’s what they’re providing.
Asked if they’re really a furniture store, or just selling the furniture because it was there, Mr. Bernard said that in addition to food sales, the business has a bakery and lots of other retail sales.
Mr. Ahron said it’s a “concept store,” and there are similar businesses in New York, San Francisco and other cities. They also noted that Mr. Bernard and Mr. Ahron are tenants in the building, and not the building’s co-owners (with Albert Mizrahi), as has been reported.
When asked what percentage of the business the furniture sales represent, Mr. Ahron said he doesn’t know yet. Mr. Bernard said furniture sales wasn’t in their original business plan, and they just started, but there has been an overwhelming response from customers. He said they are constantly adapting to the demands of their customers.
When asked about the original purpose of the furniture that’s now for sale, Mr. Bernard said the original intent was to operate a take-out restaurant. But the landlord signed an agreement promising no tables or chairs, so they had to change their business plan.
When asked if the furniture sales aren’t really a “clever conceit,” and whether patrons sit on the furniture while they’re eating, Mr. Bernard said customers do try out the furniture.
When asked how many pieces of furniture have been sold and what prices they’re asking for various items, Mr. Bernard said they have sold some pieces, and have the receipts to prove it. He also said that if customers request specific pieces or brands of furniture, they will procure them.
When asked if he knew when he leased the space that this would be a sit-down restaurant, Mr. Bernard stated again that the Bungalow is a take-out restaurant, and not a sit-down restaurant.
When asked if he was aware that he was not allowed to have tables and chairs, Mr. Bernard said the landlord signed off on their original business plan. Mr. Ahron said the City asked the owner to sign the affidavit promising no tables and chairs, but that he and Mr. Bernard were not aware of it.
When asked which of them was present in 2009 when the agreement to not have a sit-down restaurant was reached, Mr. Bernard said he and Mr. Ahron were at the meeting.
When it was noted there is a sign at the restaurant advertising breakfast, lunch and dinner, Mr. Bernard said the sign has always been there.
The City Attorney’s office has since filed criminal charges against Larchmont Bungalow. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for April 11, 2014.
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