Kyma narrowly avoided closure Tuesday night after negotiating with the Roslyn Board of Trustees about the number of seats the restaurant could offer after continuously violating its agreement with the village.
Kyma, located at 1446 Old Northern Boulevard, is an upscale Greek restaurant that garners a high customership.
The village held a public hearing Tuesday night to consider revoking the restaurant’s permit, which would ultimately end its operations, after discovering it continuously seated more customers than what their permit from the village allowed.
Mayor John Durkin said the restaurant’s continuous violation of seating more customers than permitted has put the village in a tough position.
“Unfortunately the only remedy we have is revocation, which is, you know, I find very difficult,” Durkin said. “I have no desire, no interest in shutting anyone down, stopping them from doing business.”
Kyma’s permit allowed the restaurant to have 120 seats in total, spread out over the indoor and outdoor dining areas.
Roslyn’s Superintendent of Public Works Sam Daliposki visited the restaurant five times through July and September, finding the restaurant had 176 to 236 customers seated at a time.
Daliposki said that inside the restaurant he would observe about 175 to 178 chairs with people seated, but additional people would be occupying the restaurant in other spaces like standing at the bar.
The attorney representing Kyma, Judy Simoncic, told the board that Kyma’s owners have made “substantial efforts” to address the high occupancy issue, cutting the seats down by 40 since they last appeared before the board in July.
She said Kyma has also reduced the number of reservations they offer, denying people at the door who do not have a reservation.
Durkin said he met privately with Kyma owner Eirineos Christou to discuss a solution to the issue, which he said he was hesitant to do and does not typically offer.
In that discussion, Durkin said that he and Christou came to a handshake agreement that Kyma would abide by the 120-seat rule but that if he needed to add additional seats during select occasions, about 20 or so, then it would be okay.
After that conversation, Durkin said Kyma continued to violate that agreement.
“I feel embarrassed that I made what I thought was a handshake deal and it was violated almost immediately,” Durkin said.
Christou said he did not intend to violate the handshake agreement with Durkin. The restaurant has attempted to make changes to how many customers it seats, he said.
“It’s literally not coming from a place of disrespect or me not caring,” Christou said. “I am trying.”
Durkin proposed a compromise to Christou Tuesday night to avoid closure: Kyma can provide 150 seats upon approval by the village’s Zoning Board.
Christou opted to take the deal, narrowly evading the closure of his restaurant.
The Village of Roslyn also approved a special-use permit for a Van Leeuwen Ice Cream store for 1382 Old Northern Blvd.
The ice cream shop is being opened by Joshua Halegua, founder of golf performance facility Lab 18 also in the Village of Roslyn.
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream is a brand that is sold in grocery stores nationwide and served at scoop shops located throughout New York City and Los Angeles.
Michael Sahn, an attorney representing Halegua, said the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream store will fit within the character of the village and will cater to residents.
Frank Briggs Guglielmi, owner of YOLO Yogurt and Desserts, told the board he was concerned about the new ice cream store opening within 400 feet of his business.
“I just don’t understand the allowance of another similar type of store to be opening up,” Guglielmi said.
Village Attorney John Gibbons said the board is not able to deny permit applications for new businesses that are permitted within the business district.
Trustee Craig Westergard assured Guglielmi that there is plenty of business available in the village and that he thinks YOLO Yogurt and Desserts would not be negatively impacted by the decision.
The board also approved a series of local laws that Gibbons said are intended to update the village’s code.
Gibbons said every few years the village uses a firm to reassess the village to determine areas where the code needs to be updated. This is done through a walkthrough of the village with the mayor.
He said the suggestions varied, including updating definitions by centralizing them in a separate section, allowing for limited mixed-use development in the residential commercial district and changing the number of parking spaces barbershops, hair and nail salons are required to provide.
The Roslyn Board of Trustees will convene again at 7 p.m. on Oct. 17.