All the Garden Cafe wanted to do was serve wine with dinner, and all hell broke loose on adorable Junius Street across from a lovely little playground park in East Dallas. And by "all hell," Eater Dallas hyperbolically means: a few neighbors feared the neighborhood cafe would become a bar, and now their booze permit process is being held up while the owners try to clear up some misconceptions about what exactly their intentions are. (Which, to be clear, remains: basically, serve wine with dinner.)
The main problem is that a beer and wine permit doesn't necessarily prevent the city from saying patrons can't bring their own liquor. It just means the cafe can't serve liquor. For anxious neighbors, that conjures up visions of a concentrated entertainment district right on their adorable street where the kiddos play. Today, Mark Wootten (who runs the cafe while his dad, Dale, owns the property) sends an update clarifying his family's intentions and addressing more concerns from the neighbors, specifically what the "worst case scenario" would be if absolutely nothing is done to the zoning. Even now, he says, a developer could creating an entertainment complex that would "cater to the crowd trying to sober up on their way home from Deep Ellum or Greenville."
Wootton says an owner could pave the garden, adding 80 parking spaces, which adds to the space's retail allotment, plus build on a second story with a roof deck, which doesn't add to the official square footage as long as it's not covered, and stay open 24/7 with live music. And that's if nothing changes at the Garden Cafe. It's just speculation from their attorney about what a "$-minded" developer could do. Mark writes:
"As long as Dale owns the building this WILL NOT happen. I only feel it's important to outline the worst case scenario if the zoning is kept as is. As you often hear a worst case scenario from others referencing issues with dinner service. If you read the proposed PDD/SUP conditions you'll notice that our version of a worst case scenario will not be possible IF our proposals pass on September 14th."As it stands, the proposal for the Garden Cafe's booze permit limits the height of the building to one story, limits the total square footage, and puts restrictions on the hours of operation of any restaurant--they can only open until 10 p.m.
· Booze Battle Between Garden Cafe and Neighborhood [-EDFW-]
· Old East Dallas Cafe Seeks Zoning Change To Serve Wine and Beer [DMN]
· Garden Cafe in East Dallas Struggling Top Keep Its BYOB Parties [-EDFW-]
[Photo: Garden Cafe/Facebook]