The Alcohol License Review Committee granted Japanese restaurant Osaka House an alcohol license Wednesday after rejecting a request several months ago.
Jun Luo, owner of the State Street restaurant, requested an alcohol license in April, which the committee denied. Madison Police Department officers found Luo intoxicated and underage customers drinking on the second floor of the restaurant during a compliance check a month before the meeting.
Luo spoke in front of the ALRC and said that he hopes to change the focus of the second floor from a bar to additional restaurant seating. Luo said he has not drank since April, and noted his intention to grow the restaurant rather than garner a reputation as a nightclub.
During the meeting, Madison Police Department Capt. Carl Gloede read an email he received from owners of a property next door to Osaka House. The individuals opposed granting the restaurant a new license, citing frequent noise complaints from property tenants.
Members of the committee also noted their concerns, including Luo’s past missteps in management and location of Osaka House on the busy 500 block of State Street.
Despite these problems, committee members agreed that Luo made significant improvements and they would grant the alcohol license with a series of conditions. The conditions include that Osaka House cannot have entertainment, must receive more than half of its revenue from food and must stop the sale of alcohol at 10 p.m. every night.
The last condition relates to the back entrance of Osaka House. In addition to a front entrance on State Street, the restaurant has a back entrance on West Gilman Street, which was typically used by those heading up to the second-floor bar at night. The ALRC instructed Luo to remove a sign on the door that reads “Osaka Bar,” and to restrict the entrance to employees, deliveries and emergency exits only.
The ALRC also granted an alcohol license to Washington Market, a restaurant, tavern, cafe and public market on West Washington Avenue that is set to open in October. The Milwaukee Road Depot will house the new project.
License applications will face the Common Council in October for approval.