The popular village eatery Swing the Teapot, which is located at 6 Verbena Ave., is looking to expand next door in order to host parties. Details about the possible expansion were revealed during a recent village board meeting when owner Shane Moynagh and architect Mario Vergara went before the Village of Floral Park Board of Trustees.
Moynagh, along with his wife Ann, are longtime Floral Park residents and business owners since they also own the popular Tulip Bakery on Tulip Avenue, which is around the corner from Swing the Teapot. The Moynagh’s personally own both of the buildings.
“Swing the Teapot is a popular eatery with customers frequently asking about private parties,” Vergara said. “In fact, Swing the Teapot has in the past held private parties on Sundays primarily for Christenings, bridal showers, and the occasional funeral gatherings. Parties last between three to five hours. There were never any complaints from neighbors regarding noise nor were there any concerns about the lack of parking.”
Currently, Swing the Teapot no longer hosts private parties because it interferes with their regular customers. Months ago, the Moynagh’s decided to purchase the vacant building next door at 8 Verbena Ave. in order to facilitate private parties and convert the vacant building that was formally a business office into a party space.
“The layout of the party room consists of seating that is limited to 46 people,” Vergara explained. “The seating area will be flanked by a buffet station and service bar. The Moynagh’s are currently seeking the necessary approvals through the New York State Liquor Authority to serve beer, wine and alcohol. If approved, all alcohol will be stored in a secure area in the cellar. All food preparation will occur in the kitchen of Swing the Teapot. Mr. Moynagh has met with the Nassau County Department of Health, who has no objections to this arrangement, but has stated that the littering of the food must remain inside.”
In order to keep all of the food inside, the Moynagh’s are proposing a door between the cellars of Swing the Teapot and the proposed party room.
“Essentially, the route will start in the kitchen of Swing the Teapot and go directly to the stairs and on through downstairs through the communicating door and back to the rear stairway of the party room,” Vergara said. “This is a buffet service consisting of trays of food. This will be a fairly quick process. Typically, employees will consist of two servers and one bartender. It is anticipated that there will be live entertainment perhaps five percent of the time. Trash will be stored in the existing trash of Swing the Teapot, which is currently at 50 percent capacity.”
From previous experience of customers requesting parties at Swing the Teapot, approximately 90 percent of the parties are expected to be in the afternoon and evening from noon to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.
When it came time for the trustees to ask questions, Deputy Mayor Kevin Fitzgerald asked Vergara and Moynagh if the parties will only be on the weekends.
“From their experience, approximately 90 percent will be Saturdays and Sundays,” Vergara said. “Of course, funeral gatherings can be any day of the week usually in the afternoon.”
Right around the corner from Swing the Teapot is the Dalton Funeral Home. Many people who attend funerals at Dalton’s make the short trip to Tulip Avenue for village restaurants. In a village where parking is a hot commodity, the issue of whether or not enough parking would be available for funeral gatherings at Swing the Teapot was brought up.
“For the record, we have gone through a variance for alternate parking, which was granted without conditions,” Vergara said.
Trustee Lynn Pombonyo brought up the fact that Swing the Teapot on occasion has music nights and asked if the music nights would coincide with possible parties. Moynagh responded that if someone booked the party room at the same time, then yes.
“Referring back to what the decision was on the parking, can you tell me what was represented at the hearing in reference to the hours?” trustee Archie Cheng asked.
Vergara responded that they had indicated at the hearing that there was a plethora of parking available at those times [between noon to midnight] underneath the railroad.
“I don’t think anyone is questioning the evening hours,” Cheng said. “The question here is what you said about the funerals and that would not be at night. It would be during the day time. Where are people going to park?”
Moynagh responded that he wasn’t sure about the parking and that usually people who attend funerals and who come to his restaurant afterwards are small parties from 10 to 30 people.
“If 40 people come, I guess I won’t turn them down to be honest with you,” he said. “I expect them to come from Dalton’s so Dalton’s has parking. There are municipal parking lots, there seems to be enough parking.”
Mayor Dominick Longobardi was concerned about other groups besides funeral attendees who want to reserve the proposed party room.
“Even along the same lines such as luncheons,” Longobardi said. “It doesn’t have to be a funeral. I’m not even talking just holidays, but any time during the year. Parking is going to be an issue. I’m assuming that people will be parking wherever they can. You’re not looking to provide any type of parking to help them?”
Moynagh responded, “No.”
Longobardi closed the public hearing and will reserve decision about the possible expansion for a later date.