ANC6B Lays Smackdown on Spike Mendelsohn’s Capitol Hill Burger, Pizza, Steak Joints
Alcohol Board (ABRA) Backs ANC6B’s Authority to Protect Residents’ Quality of Life
by Larry Janezich
On Wednesday, ABRA renewed alcohol licenses for Spike Mendelsohn’s three restaurants on Capitol Hill, but told him that they didn’t trust his ability to manage trash and rodent issues without specific direction from the Board – and they ordered him to take or continue a list of practices to address neighbors’ complaints. Mendelsohn and his family run three restaurants on the 300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE: Good Stuff Eatery, We The Pizza & Béarnaise.
In the decision, they affirmed ANC6B’s authority to establish operating practices to protect the quality of life of residential neighbors near the restaurants. At the same time, the Board rejected the argument of Mendelsohn’s attorney, Andrew Klein, that that trash and rodents have nothing to do with the liquor license.
ANC6B’s representative in the case was Alcohol Beverage Committee Chair, Chander Jayaraman, whose position was that restaurant operating practices are intimately tied to the serving of alcohol and to the issues of rodents, noise, odors and trash.
Jayaraman had asked ABRA to attach specific conditions to the license renewal: either 1) limit the hours of operation and sales until the applicant can demonstrate effective trash management practices, or 2) require the applicants to take specific measures to address the trash management issues. Earlier this month, Jayaraman was elected Chair of ANC6B.
Nearby residents played a critical role in making the case against the restaurants, providing eyewitness accounts and photographs documenting abuses and illustrating how the restaurant operations were affecting their quality of life.
After the order was issued, Jayaraman issued a statement saying, “I think it is important … that the Board found it “highly unlikely that the Applicants will comply with this requirement in the future without Board action.”
Jayaraman took issue with the owners’ assertions that the restaurants’ trash is picked up twice a day and that the restaurants power wash the trash area twice a day, which were included in ABRA’s Findings of Fact. None the less, he said, “the conclusion that the Board reached and the remedy that they imposed on the Applicant’s license are consistent with the recommendation that the ANC made in this case and which the ANC attempted to negotiate with the Applicant in good faith before moving forward with the Protest.”
In addition, Jayaraman stated, “ANC 6B is committed to working cooperatively with any and all establishments to find a mutually agreeable resolution to community concerns and address quality of life issues raised by residential neighbors. However, we hope that this will serve as a bellwether that the ANC will not shy away from strongly advocating on behalf of residents when there is evidence of egregious violations of District regulations.”
For previous posts on this case, see here: http://bit.ly/2fEJRgS