Council overrides Soglin veto, grants alcohol license to Mad City Frites

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin defends his opposition to Mad City Frites' alcohol license during a Common Council session.

Image By: Cong Gao

Despite much opposition from Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, the Madison Common Council voted overwhelmingly to override his veto of an alcohol license for Mad City Frites, a Belgian-style fries restaurant on the 300 block of State Street.

The process leading to the final vote, which ended in a 19-1 override Tuesday to grant the establishment a license, included long debates between Soglin and council members over the future of State Street, and particularly the future of retail.

“I’m relieved and I’m glad that it’s over,” Mad City Frites owner Taylor Beebe said following the vote. “It was a long process. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my Tuesday nights anymore.”

The process for Beebe’s license began last month when the Council referred the application to the Alcohol License Review Committee, which voted 4-2 in favor of granting the license Aug. 19.

The Common Council approved the license Sept. 1 by a 19-1 vote before Soglin quickly vetoed the measure, citing his desire to not approve any new licenses until a study is completed on how to improve State Street planning.

“I will not be silenced, whether the vote is 19-1 or 20-0,” Soglin said. “I feel that strongly because of the responsibility we have to 240,000 people who have, as recently as three years ago, wrote out a multi-million dollar check to remodel two blocks of State Street.”

Ald. Paul Skidmore, District 9, who voted against the license, emphasized his vote was not meant to voice opposition to Mad City Frites as a business.

“I think this is a good business, and I think [an alcohol license] could be warranted,” Skidmore said. “I just think we need to look at the overall policy before we grant new licenses.

Beebe said she recognized Soglin’s efforts to defend the city, but noted she takes attacks on her business personally.

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