As we noted, newcomer JoeDoe pled its case to the East 1st Street Block Association on Wednesday. A reader who was at the meeting wrote in to express his consternation that owners Joseph Dobias and Jill Schulster might have trouble getting a license to serve “small-batch spirits” (a community-friendly term for “sweet, sweet booze”).
I was at the neighborhood block association meeting yesterday in which JoeDoe's receiving its liquor license was discussed. I… found myself to be the youngest person in the room by about 10-15 years--I'm 24. The reason I'm writing in is because I think it's [worth] explaining the ridiculous, almost laughable, circumstances that caused the neighborhood block association to deny JoeDoe the immediate transfer of Quhnia's liquor license...
Misinformation… was presented by the more vocal members of the block committee who seemed to continuously say...that there should be a one-year probation of just beer and wine, making the assumption that the beer and wine license was guaranteed--apparently Prune functioned for more than year without their liquor license, but conversely their rent is supposedly obnoxiously low. Unfortunately, apparently the beer and wine license isn't as easy to obtain as the neighborhood block association made it seem, according to the attorney of JoeDoe--even more unfortunately, JoeDoe's lease is contingent on their obtaining the full liquor license. The problem is that this was never discussed with the JoeDoe owners in the room, but after both had left for the "private discussion" that resulted in the no liquor license vote.
The final, and most important problem, is the overall crabbiness of the people who were at this meeting. The majority, and most vocal, were people who had moved in 20 years prior at prices like $2000 for a building (of 8 units). They had no concept of reality and wouldn't have approved any restaurant, wanting there to be as little foot traffic on their block as possible. The only reason I'm writing in this wordy email is because I felt really sorry for the two co-owners who came in, were very articulate and, seemingly sincere, about their intentions, and the people in this meeting were crazy and a little too hasty in completely squashing something that they had obviously put a lot of work into.
In defense of the crabby neighbors, there is a bit of noise on the block (though we doubt a place like JoeDoe will add to it). We once sat at Quhnia, and every few minutes, like clockwork, flocks of very young girls headed for Kozy Café would squeal in terror as rats crossed their path. Kind of like trying to carry on a conversation next the Cyclone.