P&G’s owner Mike Beck thinks it’s time to expand the “cornerstone of New Paltz,” both inside and out. In an application considered by New Paltz Village Planning Board members at their September 4 meeting, Beck is seeking to expand the cramped kitchen of the restaurant by pushing into the adjacent barbershop, as well as create a prep kitchen underneath the dining area, which presently hangs over two parking spots around back. Additional space along the bar inside would also result. As with many projects advanced for the downtown area, parking questions are central to this one.
The kitchen is “beyond capacity,” Beck said, and the space now occupied by Ricci’s Barbershop is the only place it can be expanded. Most of that space would become more cooking area, but for the street view. According to Beck, the waiting area for diners would be given more room by cutting the bar short; its corner would be farther from the front door, but its length would also extend into the new area.
Around the back, a second-floor expansion built in the 1980s for more seating is now over an open area for garbage, recycling and a couple of parked cars. Beck wants to close that in and make it into a food prep area and storage. Joseph Buglino, senior project manager of Eco Builders Inc., said he believes the overall parking situation could be improved despite the loss of spaces; he’s proposing making that section one-way-only. That could eliminate the dangerous practice of backing cars onto North Front Street. Drivers would have to proceed into another private lot off Church Street and exit there.
Beck told board members that he’s always taken responsibility for that lot, but he was in the process of formalizing that with his neighbors. In time, he added, he hopes to make improvements beyond a one-way sign to further improve the traffic flow.
“Do we want people to exit on Church?” asked board chair Eve Waltermaurer. Rich Suoto seemed doubtful, noting that while Front is already a through street, that one-way section of Church is not.
A public hearing for the proposed project will be held on Tuesday, September 18, 7 p.m., at Village Hall.