Board Hears Protest of Bullfrog Bagel’s Liquor License
May Opening Planned for Shop Near Eastern Market
by Larry Janezich
Last Wednesday, DC’s Alcohol Beverage Review Administration (ABRA) listened to more than 7 hours of arguments and testimony about the concerns of neighbors of 317 7th Street (steps from Eastern Market) – soon to be the home of Bullfrog Bagels. Owner Jeremiah Cohen told the board that a liquor license is necessary because a bagel shop needs brunch, lunch, and dinner service to make the business viable. He and partner Matt Frumin hope to open the shop in early May.
Nearby neighbors hired local attorney Ellen Opper-Weiner to press their case that 4:00am deliveries in the alley behind the bagel shop/restaurant and the noisy late night removal of trash from the second story dining area – down outside metal stairs to the indoor trash storage room – would impose an unacceptable burden on their quality of life. Residents want alley deliveries limited to the same hours for trash pick-up, 7:00am to 7:00pm, and a limit on how late trash can be carried to the indoor storage.
In addition, the immediate neighbors to the right and left of Bullfrog Bagels – Fairy Godmother and Woven History – object to the serving alcohol after 10:00pm at the two tables and four chairs planned for the balcony over the building’s front porch – a distance measured in feet from the windows of second story apartments in those adjoining buildings.
Cohen cited concessions he had already made in the interests of the neighbors, including giving up a deep fryer, and screening mechanicals to reduce noise. He pointed to the logistical difficulties in delivering carts laden with some 300 bagels up the stairs in the front of the building as opposed to up a ramp in the rear. He said the second floor dining area would have 34 seats including the four on the balcony and that over time, the four seats on the balcony would amount to a significant portion of his business.
With respect to the hours of service, representatives from Bullfrog Bagels claimed that it was the ANC’s settlement agreement negotiators that encouraged them to extend their weekend operating hours beyond what they requested in their liquor license application. That may have been a tradeoff for cutting back hours of operation during the week. The application for a liquor license which Cohen originally filed requested operating hours of 10:00am to 11:00pm, seven days a week. The settlement agreement negotiated with the ANC ended up specifying 10:00am to 10:30pm weekdays, and 10:00am to 11:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Alex Golding, who with a brother and his father, Ken – the latter a partner in Stanton Development – who together comprise the entity which owns the 317 7th Street, told the board that their company had spent $400,000 on renovations, essentially constructing a new building except for the façade. Golding said, “Tons of restaurants wanted the space, but we wanted someone who would fit into the street a little better.” Alex Golding, who also works for Stanton Development, told the board “we assembled four buildings and created 11 retail spaces on the block, as well as the Hine development across the street.” Retail space in the Hine development, he said, would be occupied by “restaurants, shops, and a vibrant mix of retail.”
317 7th Street, was formerly “The Frame Up” – the studio, shop, art gallery and home of prolific artist Richard Sheehy, who died in February, 2014. The Goldings bought it with the intention of leasing it to a restaurant. Their initial plan of outdoor storage for trash was modified at the insistence of ANC6B to provide for indoor trash storage. See here: http://bit.ly/1XF8Tef
Although the ABC Board did deliberate after the hearing they did not communicate any decision to the parties. The legal counsel to the board must write a final decision and issue it within 90 days, though it could come sooner.