October 9, 2014
It’s Election Day today, and I need your help. Here’s the deal.
There are nearly 70 restaurants in Minneapolis where the rules are different. Where you aren’t treated like a responsible patron and owners aren’t treated like valued members of the business community.
At those restaurants, including Broder’s, Tiny Diner, Piccolo, Anchor Fish & Chips, and Tilia, a restaurant in Linden Hills that I co-own, you cannot simply walk in and order a frosty Sweet Child of Vine or a glass of buttery chardonnay. Nope, according to our antiquated liquor license, you have to order food off our menu before we can quench your thirst. And I can tell you that has led to many, many awkward conversations with befuddled and frustrated patrons over the years.
Further, our license stipulates that revenue from alcohol cannot exceed 30 percent of our annual sales. It’s a ratio that is extremely difficult to reach because so many patrons come to Tilia to try the latest and best craft beers. (Which command a higher price than the beer selection that restaurants like Tilia would have carried when these ratios were set, needless to say.) We only have so much control over beer prices, as the price we pay to get some of the smaller-batch craft beers we feature is much higher. So, we could either stop featuring those beers or raise our food prices. Tilia and other restaurants bound by the same rules would very quickly lose some very loyal diners if we did either of those things in an effort to comply.
The Minneapolis City Council agrees that these rules are antiquated. The rules penalize responsible diners and business owners, and they’re woefully out-of-step with the modern restaurant scene. But the Council can only do so much. They recently voted unanimously to scuttle the 60/40 rules that governed some city restaurants, but only the voters of Minneapolis can change the City Charter, which governs the 70/30 rules that Tilia and nearly 70 other Minneapolis restaurants fall under.
If you live in Minneapolis and value neighborhood restaurants like Tilia, then I hope you will take the time to make your way down your polling place and vote YES on 2. We need at least 55 percent of the votes cast to pass this amendment, so every vote is critical.
Cheers and thank you!
March 26, 2015