New year uncorks more requests for liquor licenses

Several new or modified liquor license requests have been submitted by local businesses recently, and trustees discussed the applications at their Tuesday night meeting.

Revealing that Baldinelli, 114 S. Washington St., is poised to be sold next month, village officials said the prospective new owner, who would keep it as a pizza restaurant, has requested a license to sell packaged beer, wine and liquor. The eatery currently has a license to sell beer and wine for in-house consumption only.

Toni Patisserie & Cafe, 51 S. Washington St., would like approval to sell packaged beer and wine. Because the shop does not have a license, the village’s code would need to be amended to accommodate the addition. Paul Pell of Toni said the request is both thematic and strategic.

“This would be to add some bottles of wine on our shelves,” Pell told trustees. “We’re a French place and it would add to our brand. And we’re trying to stay in business.”

Egg Harbor Cafe, 777 N. York Road, would like to sell beer, wine and liquor with its menu offerings, which would also require a village code amendment as the restaurant does not presently hold a license.

The final request for a liquor license was from Aaron Comes, owner of Frederick Lynn Haberdasshere, who is in the process of purchasing a building in the 1O block of east First Street for his business, according to village officials. As part of his model, customers would be offered complimentary spirits and also be able to purchase packaged alcohol.

In support of his application, Comes, who also has a showroom in Chicago, cited Nordstrom’s and Restoration Hardware among a number of stores now serving alcohol to enhance customer visits.

He also plans to host about 12 special events or tastings a year at which high-end spirits would be served.

“This is how I market my business,” Comes said, estimating that liquor sales would account for between 5 and 10 percent of the total business sales. “It’s just to offer something else on the menu that my clients are not able to source.”

Brad Bloom, assistant village manager, said the village attorney’s preliminary review indicates that the code can accommodate Comes’ business request.

“There are license classifications that it actually does fit into, so it does not require changing our license classifications,” Bloom said.

Trustee Scott Banke expressed misgivings about awarding licenses to merchants that don’t serve food.

“I get a little concerned that we’re inching closer toward bars, which gives me pause,” Banke said.

Trustee Luke Stifflear said because Comes’ haberdashery’s primary purpose is to sell clothing, he is comfortable with liquor sales.

“Serving alcohol is really a secondary (way) in order to make the whole experience better for their clients,” Stifflear remarked, noting that restrictions on the amount of liquor sales can be imposed as part of the licensing.

Trustees signaled support for all of the license requests.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean