Tag Archive | "Phao Thai Kitchen"

Sag Harbor Continues to Talk Tunes

Tags: , , ,

Tora Matsuoka has been in the restaurant business for 16 years, starting at Sag Harbor’s Japanese mainstay Sen when he was just 13 years old. Since then, he has become the co-owner of Sen and its sister restaurant Phao Thai Kitchen, consults regularly with restaurant groups and plans to continue to expand his culinary empire.

“I would like to say publicly, it is a great idea to legalize music in Sag Harbor,” said Matsuoka who spoke at Tuesday night’s Sag Harbor Village Board hearing on a proposed music permit that would allow restaurants like Sen to legally offer live music to its patrons. It’s a practice that has gained steam recently and made the village the go-to spot for those seeking more than fine cuisine on the East End.

“Owning a restaurant in Sag Harbor is more philanthropy than a business,” said Matsuoka, noting as a business owner he needs to make ends meet while contending with a short, summer tourist season.

Matsuoka was not alone at Tuesday night’s hearing, as several business owners expressed support for the legislation, but like Matsuoka asked for clarity in the law and to have the opportunity to sit down with the village board of trustees to ensure the legislation is something that benefits local businesses and protects the village from enduring a club-like scene on Main Street.

As currently written, a music permit would be free and businesses could simply apply with the village clerk to obtain one. Barring any issues or complaints, the permit would be automatically renewed each year as long as the business has not changed hands.

The law would allow live music to be played in restaurants no later than one hour after dinner service, and no later than 1 a.m. Bars and taverns would also be allowed to host live music, no later than one hour before they close, and all establishments would need to adhere to the village’s noise ordinances. Cabarets, discos or nightclubs will not be granted a permit, nor would any restaurant or bar with characteristics of a cabaret, disco or nightclub.

“Right now, the way it exists anyone walking down the street could say there is music going on and we would have to enforce [the current law],” said trustee Robby Stein, one of the proponents and authors of the new law.

Trustee Tim Culver opened Tuesday night’s hearing stating he has some concerns with the law as written, namely, that it should come with a permit fee, and that he wondered how late the village should allow businesses to have live music.

He added he would like the village to be able to immediately suspend a music permit should a problem arise, and ensure the business a hearing in front of the board of trustees within three business days, a concept the board agreed with as often village code issues can be tied up in court for months on end.

John Landes, co-owner of Bay Burger, just outside the village limits, said music at that establishment, which can be credited with the crescendo of live music in Sag Harbor this year, has been profitable, but also something the community as a whole has embraced.

“If the ordinance passes, we will find this is definitely a benefit to the continued expansion and life of the businesses of Sag Harbor,” he said.

Beppe Desiderio, co-owner of Blue Sky, said his main concern is that the village defines what music is, as he has had everything from Jim Turner’s open mic night to disc jockeys and even a drag queen perform with success.

“Once you decide that, I think we are going somewhere,” he said. “I think the most important thing at the end of the day is the decibel level, occupancy and safety.”

Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano said he was not interested in restricting anyone from having live music, but stressed defining what that is and what is allowed is critical for enforcement.

Before moving forward, Mayor Brian Gilbride suggested forming a committee of trustees, business owners and the police chief to sit down and discuss the law, ideally before next month’s village board meeting.

Justice Position Adopted

The Village of Sag Harbor officially created the position of Village Justice at Tuesday night’s meeting, the first step in the current administrations plans to revive plans for a Justice Court in Sag Harbor.

With little fanfare, and no protests, the board adopted the law which creates the position, although Sag Harbor Village Attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr. noted it is subject to permissive referendum, which means a resident can ask the board put the law up for a public vote if they gather enough resident signatures.

Lastly, the board discussed the possibility of extending its sewer main to the John Jermain Memorial Library on Main Street in the first public hearing on the matter.

The library has asked the village to extend the village sewer line for its proposed expansion of the historic library building, which is currently under review by the village planning board. The expansion would require three homeowners and the Custom House to also hook up to the line, as village code demands anyone with reasonable access to the sewer line become a user.

According to Gilbert Flanagan, the library’s attorney, the four property owners have been reached out to, but the library has yet to hear any comments back from them about the proposal.

Vinny Gartiello, the library’s civil engineer said given the expansion and the library site, the Suffolk County Health Department suggested this was the route the library should take as they would otherwise need a variance from their department for an onsite sanitary system.

The village sewer main would be extended down Main Street, said Gartiello, about 250-feet and down Union Street where it would connect to the library. The total cost of that construction would be paid for by the library and is estimated to cost upwards of $200,000.

Gilbride said he would like the village to reach out to the affected property owners and let them know should this occur they would have to hook up to the system, at their own cost, as the library has yet to offer to cover that expense yet.

The hearing will be kept open and reheard at next month’s village board meeting.

East End Digest April 16

Tags: , , , ,

Southampton’s MFA program in Writing and Literature will host its first annual performance of the Young American Writers Project on Saturday, April 25 at 7 p.m. Middle school students from five area schools – Bridgehampton, Pierson, Shelter Island, The Ross School and Eastport South Manor – will present nine plays written by the students, at Stony Brook Southampton’s Avram Theatre.
Directed by professional directors, the plays encompass a wide array of genres – from zany, comic fantasy to heartfelt, serious drama – and address a number of topics, ranging from time travel to family holiday madness.
The Young American Writers Project playwriting curriculum sends professional artists into classrooms twice-weekly over a period of two months. Students learn the basic elements of dramatic writing: how to develop ideas, characters, themes, dialogue, and scenes. One play from each participating class is selected for production at the Avram Theatre.
The program is helmed by Emma Walton Hamilton as executive director and Will Chandler as program director. Hamilton is a bestselling children’s book author, editor and arts educator. A co-founder of the Bay Street Theatre, she served as the theatre’s artistic co-director and director of education and programming for young audiences for 13 years.
Will Chandler served as education director and a teaching artist for the Bay Street Theatre. He has written a number of screenplays for clients ranging from Sony Pictures to actor Russell Crowe and has been a script doctor for ABC, NBC, and HBO, among others.
“Dramatic writing and production skills give young people unparalleled lessons in communication and collaboration,” Ms. Walton Hamilton added. “It enriches their confidence, and has a direct impact on their ability to become engaged and compassionate citizens in later life. This project represents a wonderful synergy between all the creative disciplines and values about which I am passionate.”
Beginning in Fall 2009, more YAWP programs will be available to high schools and middle schools. The curricula will encompass the other disciplines represented by Stony Brook Southampton’

s MFA program in Writing and Literature, including personal essay, poetry, screenwriting and fiction. Workshops will be offered to schools across Suffolk County in various formats. A summer workshop will also be offered in conjunction with the Stony Brook Southampton Summer Writers Conference.


Demolition Approved

Tora Matsuoka, owner of Sen Restaurant and the recently opened Phao Thai Kitchen, visited the Sag Harbor Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board on Thursday, April 9, to again discuss his sign for the Phao. Matsuoka had hoped to hang a 12 inch wide, and 5 inch thick, sign from the awning of the restaurant. Some board members, like Robert Tortora, felt the sign should be mounted onto the building over the awning. Matsuoka argued that the restaurant lies on the side of the street which gets the most sun, thus the awning is often put down. Matsuoka said when the awning is down a sign mounted to the building wouldn’t be visible to sidewalk traffic.
“The sign is less about design and is more about visibility,” said Matsuoka.
However, board member Diane Schiavoni was adamantly against this option. She preferred the sign be mounted onto a column in between the two windows of the restaurant – instead of being mounted above the awning or hung from the awning.
Eventually, the board reached a consensus. Tortora suggested Matsuoka purchase a piece of wood in the same dimensions as the proposed sign. The board asked Matsuoka to hang the piece of wood from the awning – so they will be able to ascertain whether the sign will be obtrusive.
“I don’t have a problem just looking at the [piece of wood] to see how the sign would look,” said ARB chairman Cee Scott Brown.
Approving the demolition of village homes has been a widely debated issue at the ARB recently, but on Thursday Erika Hecht’s proposal to demolish her home on Suffolk Street was approved after the architect presented a revised plan. The plans include the construction of a federalist Greek-revival style home, with five eyebrow windows and a recessed entrance. The board approved the demolition of the home, but asked the architect to return with specifics on which materials will be used for the project.
Of the project, Brown said, “I think it is going to fit nicely on the block.”


The Southampton Republican Committee held a second round of candidate screenings on Wednesday, April 15.
“I am excited about this second screening. During our first gathering in March turnout of interested candidates was so large we could not get everyone who wanted to be screened. Since then many others have reached out to ask to be considered for various town offices from the top of the ticket on down,” said Southampton Town Republican Committee Chairman Marc Stinchi. “While we will certainly miss him on the ticket this year, I think some of the added interest has been driven by Bill Masterson’s decision not to seek re-election after twenty years of outstanding service as Highway Superintendent.”
“I loved almost every single day of running the Highway Department,” observed superintendent Masterson. “And I would be remiss not to point out the men and women of the department who have gone above and beyond for the people of Southampton, some days under the most dreadful weather conditions but more commonly, day in day out with a commitment to doing the job for the taxpayer. It’s important the next candidate for the job, regardless of which party, be skilled in managing a large work force and that takes more than just being a perennial candidate for a job in town hall.”
“If we need to schedule a third screening we will. As I have said before incumbency is not a guarantee of the Republican Party’s nomination and we want to hear from anyone interested in running on the Republican ticket this year,” concluded Stinchi. “As a party we have to take a hard honest look of how we have fared both locally and at other levels in recent elections, as such we can be not be afraid of tough questions and hard choices if that is what is best for the town and for our party.”

Elections will be held this year for County Legislator, Town Supervisor, two Town Board seats, Highway Superintendent, Town Clerk, two Town Justices and all five Town Trustee seats.

Hampton Bays
Pampered Chef

On Sunday, May 3, the Animal Shelter and Adoption Center in Red Creek Park, Hampton Bays will sponsor a “Pampered Chef” cooking show, complete with recipe and cooking tool demonstrations. A part of the proceeds of all product orders placed through this event will go to support the Animal Shelter and its operations. The “Pampered Chef” is a popular resource for kitchenware, cookware and pantry goods. Local “Pampered Chef” consultant Fran Cirola will demonstrate recipe preparation using “Pampered Chef”

products that will be available for sale at the event. Cirola will present family and budget friendly recipes – with some meals costing only $2 per serving. RSVPs are requested. For more information call the Southampton Town Animal Shelter and Adoption Center at 728-7387.

Suffolk County
Planning Commission

For the first time in 10 years, the Suffolk County Planning Commission has formally released a new and updated version of its “Commission Guidebook,” which informs municipalities and developers of the standards the Commission will apply to projects. The guidebook reflects the commission’s efforts to ensure that future development projects in Suffolk advance three critical county-wide priorities including: ensuring adequate housing options for all residents, minimizing energy consumption, and increasing public safety.
Creation of the revised guidebook is one step in the commissioner’s efforts to promote countywide priorities, according to commission chair David Calone.
“The commission’s goal is to provide each of Suffolk’s 42 municipalities with the tools they need to address critical issues that have countywide impact, such as affordable housing, energy efficiency and renewable energy, public safety, and universal design,” said Calone. 
Long Island Power Authority President and CEO Kevin Law’

s office assisted in the drafting of significant new energy efficiency standards that are contained within the guidebook. Public safety is an important factor in the new guidebook, planning officials said. Significant design considerations were given to increase the visibility of areas running from streets to building entrances.
The Suffolk County Planning Commission is comprised of 15 members who are nominated by the County executive and are confirmed by the County Legislature. Of the 15 commission members, one represents each of the ten towns in Suffolk, one represents villages with populations under 5,000, one represents village with populations over 5,000 and there are three representatives at-large.

NY State Assembly
Volpe Forum

Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Jr., will host on Friday, April 17, a transportation forum with the Volpe Center and the Town of Southampton to discuss the initial evaluations of two transportation plans that have been developed as a result of feasibility study completed by the Volpe Center.
As part of a New York State-funded grant, the Town of Southampton has been the lead applicant along with other East End towns – East Hampton, Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island – in working with community interests and Volpe to evaluate a coordinated bus/rail system in addition to a proposed “second alternative.” Initial evaluations of both concepts will be presented to stakeholders and other interested parties, as well as the public, at the forum. Participants include elected officials from all levels of government, transportation advocacy groups and other entities.
The forum will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m., at the Suffolk County Community College – Eastern Campus, in Riverhead. For more information call Assemblyman Thiele’

s office at 537-2583.