Non-Applebees need not apply

Photo courtesy of
‘Every Food Fits – Fitting Alcohol into a Balanced Diet’
courtesy of ‘staceyviera’

Advisory Neighborhood Committee 5B10 wants to clamp down on alcohol sales along Bladensburg Road in NE, so if you want to put in a restaurant along there, well, you’d better have a big conglomerate behind you.

There’s actually two parts behind the request that will be discussed in a public hearing on October 21st from 1 to 3pm; The first part is probably a little more palatable to people, though I think it more negatively impacts the poor. The ANC would like to put a stop to all single sales of alcohol in their area, with the goal of cutting back on “litter, public drunkenness, and loitering.”

The second is more troublesome, I think: they’d like an ongoing moratorium “to prohibit any restaurant that is not a part of an established chain of restaurants from obtaining any temporary, conditional or permanent license to serve and sell alcoholic beverages of any kind on its premises.” Precisely what constitutes “an established chain of restaurants” is unclear and will presumably be hashed out in the public hearing, but I’d say it seems like a rather unpleasant restriction on local entrepreneurship.

Well I used to say something in my profile about not quite being a “tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy” but Tom stole that for our about us page, so I guess I’ll have to find another way to express that I am a man of many interests.

Hmm, guess I just did.

My tastes run the gamut from sophomoric to Shakespeare and in my “professional” life I’ve sold things, served beer, written software, and carried heavy objects… sometimes at the same place. It’s that range of loves and activities that makes it so easy for me to love DC – we’ve got it all.


20 thoughts on “Non-Applebees need not apply

  1. The District Government has made it abundantly clear that small, locally-owned businesses are not welcome. Generating the maximum dollar yield per square foot is the coin of the realm, and those sorts of revenues are only generated by office buildings and chain stores.

  2. what’s your source on this? kathy can’t possibly think that the ABC would even entertain something so silly as a ban on non-chain stores from carrying out their legal right, can she?

  3. IMGoph – the most recent DC Register has a notice of public hearing. It’s the very first item on this PDF and is very straight and to the point.

    Request Filed by
    Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5B10 (ANC 5B10) for a
    Moratorium on Single Sales of Alcoholic Beverages and to Restrict
    Retailers’ Class A, B, C, D and F Licenses
    Within ANC 5B10 Boundaries (800 to 1500 Blocks of Bladensburg Road, NE)
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009
    1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
    The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) announces a public hearing to receive testimony on the request of ANC 5B10 for a moratorium on single sales of alcoholic beverages and to restrict retailers’ class A, B, C, D, and F licenses within ANC 5B10 boundaries; affecting the 800 to 1500 blocks of Bladensburg Road, NE. ANC 5B10’s petition seeks the moratorium to promote the goals of (1) improving the quality of life of ANC 5B10 residents by reducing the negative impact on the community caused by the sale of singles, such as litter, public drunkenness, and loitering; and (2) encouraging and contributing to the economic revitalization of the Bladensburg Road corridor. The moratorium seeks to prohibit any restaurant that is not a part of an established chain of restaurants from obtaining any temporary, conditional or permanent license to serve and sell alcoholic beverages of any kind on its premises.
    The hearing will be held on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. at 941 North Capitol Street, NE, Board Hearing Room, Washington, D.C. 20002.

  4. How unbelievably dopey! As if TGIFriday’s would open up an outlet on Bladensburg Rd. or maybe I’m mistaken and the Olive Garden was just dying to open up on the vacant lot where the Cap City Diner is. Pfffftt!

  5. Then what the hell would you need me for? :)

    It’s really unfortunate that the city doesn’t place as much importance on keeping these things in their event calendar as they do putting it in the register. Obviously there’s the matter than the register is a legal requirement and that, apparently, departments deal with their own websites. But obviously the general public isn’t going to read those PDFs as closely as they might an event calendar.

    If you do want to monitor the register they appear here as they’re published.

  6. This is clearly targeted at the Capital City diner guys, who appeared at a recent ANC5B10 meeting.

    At the meeting, they were pressured repeatedly about whether they would want a liquor license. Over and over and over the diner owners tried to reassure the audience that they had no plans to serve liquor since it’s a lot of trouble and would cause people to sit for hours instead of eat & run.

    This is clearly targeted at them– no other restaurants are in the 800-1550 blocks of Bladensburg Rd.

    See, DC? This is why you don’t have nice things.

  7. here’s what you can do. go to this link:

    once you’ve downloaded that PDF, you can open it up and see the directions that you need to follow to leave testimony with the board.

    since the hearing would take place on a weekday from 1 to 3 (when many of us are at work and cannot get time off for something like this), you can submit your testimony via email.

    take the time to let the ABC board know that you’re not opposed to well-run, independent restaurants having a license to serve beer with a meal.

    don’t let the complainants conflate (valid) issues with single sales at carry-out package stores with the wholly-unrelated issue of having a beer or glass of wine with your dinner. those requesting this hearing are willing to stifle entrepreneurial effort at the altar of their narrow-minded view of what responsible adults should be able to do. we can counter this close-mindedness!

  8. The moratorium ban was already in motion before the capital city project was viable. The issue is separate and unrelated.

    If you want to drink with your meal, feel free to go to H Street, we have enough problems with drunks.

    Let’s keep moving towards positive entrepeneurial endeavors for Bladensburg Road. Not the same crap all over again.

  9. tehri: can you tell me how the capital city diner (or any other restaurant that allows you to drink with a meal) is not a positive entrepreneurial endeavor?

    why is there such opposition to property owners being allowed to open reputable businesses where alcohol is served? locations like this are not going to serve 40 oz. bottles of mad dog in a paper bag that someone can carry out on the sidewalk and drop on the ground when they’re done.

  10. tehri says “we have enough problems with drunks”

    I’m sorry, but people who are hanging out drunk on the street corner are getting their booze from liquor stores, NOT restaurants. People don’t sit down and have a few beers with dinner and then loiter on the street corners and piss in the alleys. The people who cause problems are buying 40s at the corner store, not a glass of chardonnay with dinner.

  11. @tehri: you say there’s a problem with drunks, so you propose banning alcohol sales at independent restaurants.

    All the drunks get their alcohol from the local liquors stores for $2-3, not from H St restaurants where you’d pay $5 for a single beer.

    What restaurants exist on Bladensburg Rd? Here’s a wake-up call: there are NO sit down restaurants from 800-1500 Bladensburg Rd. The diner is our one hope and it’s the only one that won’t have bullet-proof glass between you and your food.

    If you have a problem with the drunks, fine. Get MPD to do something about it or encourage the liquor stores to improve the area instead of discouraging restaurants from opening.

  12. Wow, what a horrible piece of legislation this would be. It’s difficult for me to see the ABC Board following this, even if it passed. Ill-conceived legislation such as this is precisely what DC–and the area around Bladensburg Rd. in particular–should be avoiding. Otherwise, what independent restaurant is going to want to come there?

    Tehri: Please, let’s elaborate on what “positive entrepeneurial endeavors” you anticipate seeing opening on Bladensburg Road anytime soon. Your target may be disreputable liquor stores, but what you would accomplish instead is to make a transitional area even *more* unattractive to independent restaurants and other establishments. Ask any retailer–arts, fashion, bookstore, homewares, etc.–and they will tell you that for a commercial corridor to thrive there absolutely must be a health mix of commercial retail and restaurants. The proposed “chains-only” moratorium is short-sighted and will serve only to stymie development along the corridor.

  13. Kathy Henderson, I see. Please use full names when talking about elected representatives. Even if their policy is disagreeable to you, try to respect the office.

    so, does ms. Henderson feel that people do not get drunk at Ruby Tuesdays? Or is it a tetotaller reaction because she knows that no national restaurant chain would ever open a place on bladensburg simply because there’s little chance for it to prosper?
    perhaps it’s that they will cater more to the black community than the independant bars than have brought an influx of white people to the area.
    The reasoning eludes me.
    your opinion is sadly unschooled. It’s unfortunate since your heart is in the right place, as is. Ms hendersons. But you are both coming to the wrong course of action for a better street and city.

  14. Having witnessed many Hearings before the ABC Board, rest assured they will not pass this absurd attempt to legislate who does and doesn’t get a liquor license. Just because the ABC Board is forced to endure this proceeding does not mean they give the subject any credence.

    Speaking of credibility, Kathy Henderson has none with the ABC Board. I have personally watched them dismiss 4 of her protests and they have very little patience with her unscripted rantings. Please attend, this promises to be excellent sport : )

  15. Pingback: Neighborhood Watch: In Trinidad, ANC Only Wants Chain Restaurants to Serve Booze - City Desk - Washington City Paper