City’s ALRC supports extending Cheba Hut’s alcohol vending hours, opposes gastropub

Cheba Hut is on track to sell alcohol past midnight after receiving a unanimous recommendation from the city’s Alcohol License Review Committee Wednesday to remove the restriction.

General Manager Dylan Soper requested to serve alcohol after midnight in order to remain competitive with other late-night restaurants like Ian’s Pizza.

“We don’t want to be like Wando’s or Haus on State,” Soper said. “We want to be a lot more downscale, but also give ourselves the opportunity to make a little bit of cash.”

Downtown area Madison Police Captain Carl Gloede said he was glad to hear Cheba Hut comparing itself to other restaurants rather than bars, considering one of the remaining conditions of the license is for the restaurant to sell food at all times of the day.

Also at the meeting, ALRC chose not to recommend approval of a new pub called Freiburg Gastropub, citing concerns with the potential impact on the already alcohol-dense Monroe Street neighborhood.

The pub would be moving into a space vacated by three shops at 2612 Monroe St. Applicant Jonathan Sosnowski and Agent Steve Weber presented the project as giving a new, bright feeling to the neighborhood with a London-style pub that serves food.

Sosnowski and Weber said they thought they had addressed the community’s concerns in a neighborhood meeting held two days before and were surprised to encounter opposition at the meeting.

“We’re interested in being good neighbors wherever we are,” Weber said.

However, the committee heard several complaints about the restaurant, including noise levels, late hours and parking availability.

Ald. Shiva Bider-Sielaff, District 5, said she did not support the application because of the neighborhood’s clear message about not wanting any more alcohol vendors in the immediate area.

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, supported referring the application to ALRC’s next regular meeting so the applicants could have a chance to address these concerns, citing Sosnowski’s good track record with four previously granted licenses in the downtown area.

While falling short of proposing outright denial of the project, the committee voted to place it on file, which only Verveer opposed. The applicants will have to wait 60 days before returning to the council.

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