Twelve Elm Street in Huntington Village used to be known for its coffee and cafe. Soon it may be known for its tea and tuna rolls.
The location, formerly the Elm Street Eatery, will be overhauled and become home to a new "sushi-fusion restaurant" named Kashi. The one-story diner will hold 70 seats, include a downstairs area, and serve food and signature sushi rolls with names like "American Dream Roll" and "Tuna Amazing Roll" from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The applicants, WSTB Corp. who will manage the property, came before the Huntington Board of Zoning Appeals Thursday night to request approval for the renovation and the use of a nearby municipal parking lot. The board granted their request, but had a few concerns.
"Will they be serving stale bread like their predecessor?" board chair Christopher Modelewski joked.
"No, and hopefully the service will be much better," John Breslin, an expert witness for the applicants, quickly replied.
Breslin said that there was no room to add parking at Kashi's location, and that the restaurant could use spots from the parking lot parking lot nearby to satisfy the parking requirement. He cited the recent case of Bin 56, a tapas bar that was granted a similar request a few weeks earlier.
Wayne Muller, a traffic expert from RMS engineering, gave the board a report about the parking lot, which services many of the shops, including the Japanese-Thai restaurant Bonbori next door to the Kashi location.
"That lot does reach capacity at certain times of the day and night," he said. But Muller said the lot was connected by a foot bridge to another lot which would alleviate parking concerns.
Muller also recommended that the board skip a site plan review, an expensive process that he said would not be necessary since only one minor exterior exchange was being made behind the restaurant.
Modelewski said the restaurant would still need an alley behind it, which was currently on the property of the now-closed Inter-Media Arts Center Theater next door. He warned that if the owners ever wanted to build in that area, Kashi would no longer comply with town code.
"You'll have to deal with it on the administrative level," he said.
The board granted the request and agreed to waive the site plan review process.