Monday, April 19, 2010

Olympic Cafe's Small Chances of 3 AM Appeal

Post and bottom photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Top image from Twin Cities Metromix.

Let's face it. Some businesses should not stay open until 3 a.m. (warning, link contains strong language). When the Olympic Cafe applied for a variance to stay open this late, they were rightly denied. The owners appealed that decision, and the appeal was postponed one cycle.

The hearing is now scheduled for Thursday, April 22nd, 9:30 a.m. at City Hall. People are strongly encouraged to contact their city council representatives and tell them emphatically that the last thing the embattled Hawthorn (sic) Crossings needs is an influx of traffic at three in the morning. Even the Pope has weighed in on this issue.

All kidding aside, there are legitimate REASONS why the request was denied in the first place. For instance... here for the original denial. I'll hit the high points though.

"The business has previously been issued citations for operating beyond the hours allowed under the C1 district regulations; thus the application to legally extend the hours of operation. Planning Staff has consulted with the applicable Police Precinct which does not support any extension of hours on the premises beyond what is allowed under the C1 district regulations." (emphasis mine)

"After consulting with the applicable Police Precinct, Planning Staff does believe that allowing extended hours of operation in this location could potentially be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, comfort and/or general welfare...the Police Department is concerned that extending the business hours would merely exacerbate the problems that exist in the area including loitering."

"The Department of Community Planning and Economic Development - Planning Division recommends that the City Planning Commission adopt the findings above and deny the conditional use permit to allow the existing restaurant to operate until 3 a.m. daily for the property located at 923 West Broadway (921 West Broadway)." (Emphasis contained in original quote)

If you go down to page 12 of this document, you'll see the response from the Olympic Cafe's representative. He gets shot down pretty impressively by the committee. His basic response is that, oh there isn't much of an issue with police calls to the business, so they don't have security. But goshdarnit, they'll hire some as soon as they expand their hours.

Oh, and as far as being cited twice already for operating beyond regular business hours, they're now saying they want to come into compliance. I've never run a business before, but it doesn't seem so hard to actually remember when your license allows you to be open and operate within those hours.

It should be noted that although the staff report says no word has come from the neighborhood councils, Hawthorne staff did invite the business owners or representatives to come to a community meeting in Hawthorne to discuss this. No one ever took up the neighborhood on that invitation, so the topic never came up at a meeting for HNC to decide one way or another.

Commissioner Gorecki made a motion to deny Olympic's request, saying, "I think there is enough evidence here, especially when I read the West Broadway email to us that really clearly points out that there has been a long term problem with this business. Its lack of attention to what’s happening not only with its business but with its surrounding impact on the community."

Commissioner Leupke-Pier seconded the motion, saying, "I live five blocks away from there so I’ve experienced this business and I used to live two blocks away from there prior to that so over a decade of living near that business which wasn’t there the whole decade, but only the last few years. I do want to say that littering has been a problem, loitering has been a problem. I know you said your client is doing what he can but apparently it’s not enough. You can say that people are outside and it’s not your problem, but if you run a business it is your problem. It’s consistently been a problem. Reading the West Broadway Business Association’s letter about how they tried to reach out and tried to engage your client to make this roblem go away or alleviate it, it seems as though your client isn’t really interested in making the effort to do the same."

The motion carried, 8-0. I predict the appeal will also be unanimously denied.


Anonymous said...

Can't we just shut down this business entirely? If the neighborhood doesn't want it there it should go!

Hilary said...

I agree, there are some businesses we just don't want in this community. That they are even allowed to operate during any hours is offensive to me. All it does is cause more problems for the community. This owner has a lot of nerve coming to ask the City to be allowed to expand the time his business is open.

It will be pretty funny when we can get this bad neighbor shut down for good. This is not the type of business that enhances our community.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't any business have to renew it's license with the city/JACC say every six months to ensure they are doing what WE want them to do?

TeresaL said...

The Old Highland Neighborhood Association voted 'NO!' to the request for extended hours of the Olympic Cafe. The store does not clean up around its store front and has done nothing to improve this over the years. Extending their hours will only make litter and crime worse and spill into Old Highland. We have enough problems as it is. They have no business operaring until 3:00 a.m. As someone said previously, "nothing good happens after midnight".

M. Clinton said...

There is a definite lack of amenities when it comes to late nght food in NoMi. As much as everyone in NoMi is about eliminating everything "bad," there HAS to also be focus on expanding amenities. Given the location of this business, I would say that I definitely DO NOT support 3AM hours; however, could the void of late night food in NoMi be filled by allowing late night delivery?

I've called Pair of Dice Pizza before right at their closing (can't remember exactly the time) and asked why they can't deliver any later. They said the city won't allow them to. Does anyone know if this is true?

Honestly, it really irritates me when I'm burning midnight oil working on rehabbing a house and then can't find a bite to eat anywhere. If it is the city regulating this, it makes me feel as if, because I live on the Northside, I am not deserving of late night pizza - while I imagine cars full of pizza driving all of the southside.

This void of amenities issue is really keeping the Northside down. Having just come here from south MPLS, I can tell you that I have had about an equal amount of shocked reactions that I would move somewhere with (what they perceive) as without amenities as I have with shocked reactions about crime and safety issues (again, perceived - I feel completely safe here).

Does anyone know what the city regulations are about late night delivery of food and how it compares with South MPLS?

Hans said...

I'm also curious about "late night" food delivery. It seems we can't get delivery to the eco-village area after 8pm... from any business anywhere.

Pretty lame considering how much more frequently cops were buzzing about my old place near the U and I could get delivery from anywhere until 3am. Hell they even found a dead guy in the snow bank across the street and I could still get delivery until the wee hours.

It seems like the businesses that refuse delivery are discriminating against what they perceive as a poor section of the population... and I can't say I blame them but dammit I want Pizza Luce at 2am and I WILL tip the delivery driver!

Anonymous said...

Nobody needs to be eating junk food late at night, especially in the EcoVillage. We need to be setting the standard for the community not emulating the unhealthy eating habits of south siders.

Let's go to Wienerschnitzel said...

For years late night in Minneapolis meant only one thing-- Pizza Luce.

Nothing against Pizza Luce, though others are now much better in my opinion, but seriously... How can there be only one late night option, other than fast food?

Sorry... I forgot about Village Wok.

Hilary said...

The City of Mpls should purchase the assets of Snap Pizza and make it a City-run enterprise that thrives in NoMi. The City owes us decent late-night food delivery.

M. Clinton said...

I don't argue the fact that pizza is not a health food. But I do not believe that is the reason they will not deliver pizza to Northsiders after 10 or 11:00. However, I do take issue with the fact that just because I moved to the Northside, I have now become less worthy of late night pizza delivery. It sounds like just one small thing, but there are SO MANY of these little small things that, when added up, really reinforce the mentality that the Northside is just a void of amenities because it is somehow "less than."

Ranty said...

I agree that it would be awesome to have some late-night food option in NoMi. And late-night delivery.

However, Olympic Cafe owners have illustrated -by their management and record- that they aren't the ones to do that. It's unfortunate.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

What Connie said.

Dan said...

I like having the business there. They are a legitimate business, as opposed to the cd/record shops along Broadway. I wouldn't agree to extending their hours, but don't try to get rid of a good business.

Low End Leroy said...

Fix the crime/safety/livibility issues, attract a more stable population, attract more commerce, receive late night food delivery.

It's a pretty simple formula.

It starts with us:
Pick up the trash in front of your house; Watch and Call; Be accountable; Hold your neighbors accountable; Do unto others...; Do not accept anything less.

Homewood Confidential said...

Am I correct in saying that Domino's Pizza won't deliver to much of NoMi?

I'm a Fast Freddie's/Pair of Dice fan myself, but just for the hell of it I punched my address and several others into Domino's locator and it appears they won't cross Highway 55. They'll deliver to Harrison, but *not* anywhere in 55411?

And the Camden location won't go south of Dowling? Is this for REAL?

Lionel said...

I totally understand why no one would want to deliver to NoMi. Would you want to go up to some house in NoMi at night with a pocket full of cash and some food? I for one wouldn't, and I've lived here my own life.

Let's face it, despite a few revitalization projects scattered about, NoMi is in tough shape. There are thugs everywhere. Until we get our house in order, should we really expect businesses to put their employees and profits at risk by delivering to the heart of the ghetto?

la_vie_en_rose said...

I kind of have to agree with Lionel. That wonderful area of Cincy I've mentioned I lived in years ago? Absolutely NO delivery from ANYONE. At no hours of the day. Why? Too many delivery guys and gals ended up shot, knifed, or worse. It really irritated me at first. That was the first time I lived in "the big city," and I expected food was just a phone call away. However, over time, I began to understand why the businesses had to stop...though I never stopped feeling like, "Don't we deserve the same treatment that other parts of the city get?"

I'm all too familiar with bulletproof windows in places, too. Before my husband grew ill, he made his living as a store manager (which required him being shuffled around various Taco Bells all over the Greater Cincinnati area). Because he had pretty successfully turned crappy stores into million dollar producers, the franchise rewarded him with shipping him to the most dangerous store in the city. Even with the glass in place, that didn't stop idiots from trying to rob the place. I think I developed an ulcer over the course of the year he worked there. I kept expecting to hear that he was killed (because he had the responsibility of delivering the daily earnings to the bank overnight deposit box). Not an experience I could go through again.

That said, does anyone deliver around here? I know about Pizza Hut, but they're practically across the street from me, so they don't deliver here.

Anonymous said...

Hey John, didn't some guy come to my house to deliver a pizza? and you CHASED HIM AWAY!!!

Homewood Confidential said...

Pizza Hut, Pair of Dice, and the downtown Sarpino's deliver to the Northside. I think Sarpino's is pretty new -- I just got their mailer a few months back. Fast Freddie's (Bryn Mawr Pizza) has been known to deliver as far north as Homewood.

Johnny Northside! said...

To Anonymous at 9:53.

Yes, I know who you are and the incident you are referencing. Hello from Dry Run, Kentucky. Email me your mailing address and I'll send you a postcard, OK?

In regard to the pizza man incident...

I still doubt he was REALLY a pizza man. I think he was, in fact, casing your house.