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A hot tamale of a Mexican restaurant that has given their Kensington neighbors angina for months has been shuttered by the police.
The NYPD’s civil enforcement unit padlocked the El Gavilan Mexican and Italian Restaurant, 501 Church Avenue at East 5th Street, on August 26 after the restaurant received numerous State Liquor Authority (SLA) violations and visits by police responding to neighborhood quality-of-life complaints.
As far back as May, neighbors have been complaining about the late-night parties at the establishment, which they say get louder when most restaurants close for the night.
The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. according to clearly posted hours on the store’s awning.
At a recent 66th Precinct Community Council meeting, residents complained that El Gavilan became an after-hours hot spot complete with lap and go go dancers.
Cops said that they found no evidence of these allegations, but did say that they had responded to repeated noise complaints by their neighbors.
The restaurant was reportedly tied to a handful of late-night fistfights, as well as several car break-ins.
The repeated noise complaints sparked a multi-agency investigation, where the SLA found numerous violations.
Police said that there were so many violations that both the owner of the restaurant and the bouncer had each been arrested. The bouncer had been arrested for not being properly registered.
“The SLA had been there four times and each time they found violations,” a police source said. “There were so many violations that we thought the arrests were warranted.”
By September 1, the restaurant was still closed. A notice taped to the security date encouraged residents to appear at an upcoming court appearance in downtown Brooklyn to speak out against the restaurant.
“This will be the time that every resident must appear in court to show that the restaurant must be closed because of how they are doing business,” the notice said. “It is your opportunity to have your voice heard. The more residents that appear, the stronger the case before the judge.”
Originally, a judge signed a temporary order to close the restaurant for three days. The order was extended until September 11, when the hearing will be held.
While police shuttered the place, cops from the 66th Precinct still held out hope that El Gavilan would become more community-minded in the future.
“We’re working together with the community, the restaurant and elected officials to make sure that there’s a reasonable ending and conclusion for everyone involved,” Inspector Peter DeBlasio, the commanding officer of the 66th Precinct, said.
Calls to the restaurant was not returned as this paper went to press.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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