Yesterday, bedraggled Mario brother with no raccoon suits or lives left to give/restaurateur Sean Meenan cleared Bowser's armored New Orleans City Hall after an horrifying 3 year battle for becoming plywood. Yes, folks, the little cuban restaurant that could, Cafe Habana—which opponents have argued is not quite little enough— is heading to Esplanade and Rampart. Or, seemingly, it should be heading there soon. Meenan and team still need to acquire permits for the scaled-down build out—which will combine a long vacant gas station and a townhouse—and there's no telling if he'll still be "paying his lawyers all the way up to the Supreme Court" due to opponents' lawsuits. But, as Habana whisperer Richard A. Webster reports:
Defeating the appeal and securing the council's approval was the last significant challenge he is likely to face.
And what a challenge it was. The council voted 4-2 to deny opponents' appeal to kill the project with Susan Guidry and Stacey Head, who made a point of saying the project would "negatively impact" neighbors, voting in support of the Habana Outragers. Head also asked Meenan if he owed $3 ($3!) in back taxes on the property, and told him she "had a staff member take photographs of another property he owned and renovated that appears to show an illegal power hook-up." Behold Meenan's response:
"It seems like you had plenty of time to look through my tax records and send somebody from your staff to take a picture," Meenan said. "I wish somebody would have called me so we could have spoken on some of these issues before (the meeting)."
Head said that she only received the records the day before.
"This has been a three-year process," Meenan said.
"We owe you an apology for that," Head said. "That is completely unacceptable."
Now that Cafe Habana seems to be on its way to the Quarter's edge, the question remains of whether or not this will be a successful restaurant after the hullaballoo dies down. What do y'all think? Are you excited about Cafe Habana? Will you eat there? Answer the poll and leave a comment. Tell us why you do or don't support the upcoming restaurant. Don't be shy. All opinions are welcome.