Brookland Liquor Licenses – Menomale, Little Ricky’s And Brookland’s Finest

Given a lot of the chatter around Brookland these days about new restaurants, we thought readers would appreciate information regarding some of Brookland’s newer restaurants  and their liquor licences.

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We learned from an ANC 5B-04 meeting on Saturday April 27th that Menomale’s liquor licence was up for renewal. ANC 5B-04 Commissioner Caroline Steptoe spoke to immediate neighbors of Menomale and received only one very minor complaint. The deadline to protest their license renewal came and went without any issues on Monday April 29th, because they are viewed as good neighbors. Menomale is a craft pizza restaurant that just celebrated one year of being open and is  located at 2711 12th Street NE.

Little Ricky’s, has been open since November 2012 and its liquor licence is currently up for renewal. We spoke with Chase Moore, co-owner of the Cuban restaurant and he stated “Lola and I have worked hard to not just be in the community but to build community- a lot of that is being a good neighbor. To date there haven’t been any noise concerns expressed and certainly there have been no violations. We think most of the neighbors enjoy knowing there is a place they can go where everyone behaves responsibly and all are welcome.” As regular patrons, we couldn’t agree more! The deadline to send a letter in support of or protest their license renewal is Friday May 24th. Let’s hope all goes well there. Little Ricky’s is located at 3522 12th Street NE .

There has been quite a bit of discussion about the liquor license application of a new restaurant hoping to open in our neighborhood, Brookland’s Finest. The Brookland’s Finest team has applied to DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) for a “Tavern” license. My wife and I actually live pretty close to the proposed Brookland’s Finest location, so we wondered what a Tavern license means for the immediate neighbors. An article in the Ward 5 Heartbeat, which posted a copy of the Brookland’s Finest liquor license application indicated that it will allow the restaurant to “operate from 7am to 2am Sunday through Thursday and 8am to 3am on weekends”  with minimal food requirements.  Having said that, the sample menus as part of their business plan  indicates that they will offer substantial food service. However, this license will allow them to forgo keeping the kitchen open late as it would with a “restaurant” liquor license. Thus, if they do so, later hours will be for drinking only. Tyler Nelson, Editor of the Brookland Avenue Blog shared the following liquor license information about Brookland restaurants with us for comparison:

Menomale – Restaurant license
San Antonio Grill  – Tavern license
Optimism – Tavern license
B’Cafe – Restaurant license
Little Ricky’s – Restaurant license
We thought readers would be interested to know that the immediate neighbors to this location have been drawn into a debate about what this restaurant will mean for us. A Yahoo! Group in support of the restaurant has popped up here, ANC 5B-04 Commissioner Caroline Steptoe went door to door over last weekend asking us our opinion in a “for or against” format, while neighbors also received a letter from Tony Tomelden, a Managing Member of Brookland’s Finest and longtime Brookland resident. Mr. Tomelden’s letter described his commitment to the community and encouraged feedback from neighbors so they can work out any concerns ahead of time. His letter also addressed concerns that he is already aware of. As this process has unfolded, my wife and I have had many conversations with neighbors and the major concerns seem to boil down to noise, trash, and parking. As we talked to neighbors, we were also surprised to hear a lot of misinformation being spread about the restaurant. This prompted us to share the business plan distributed at the an ANC 5B-04 meeting on Saturday April 27th with neighbors and start a petition in favor of the restaurant. While we are generally in favor of the restaurant, we still feel that productive, civil, and reasonable discussions need to take place between immediate residents and the Brookland’s Finest team to make sure everyone is heard and happy. Brookland’s Finest liquor license application was submitted to ABRA over three weeks ago, but the placards have not been posted on the building yet, which means there is still time to have this constructive dialogue with the restaurant’s management team. We will keep you posted as to any new developments as they occur. The proposed location of Brookland’s Finest is 3126-3128 12th Street NE.

3 thoughts on “Brookland Liquor Licenses – Menomale, Little Ricky’s And Brookland’s Finest”

  1. Thank you for posting this clarifying, and illuminating, article regarding our local eateries. As a life-long DC resident I am generally not in favor of tavern licenses as I’ve always believed that the requirement to serve food along with alcohol created a slightly different environment than the one found in cities (e.g. New York, Chicago) that have no such requirement. That said, it really boils down to how involved the proprietor(s) are with the community.

  2. Regarding Brookland’s Finest tavern (CT) license application, this is not uncommon at all for restaurants across DC, especially smaller ones and even more so since ABRA changed some of the reporting and other requirements around the restaurant (CR) license several years ago. An alcohol license and a business plan are two different things, and since the ABC regulation changes, many restaurants that more than meet the 45% of revenue from food sales made changes from a CR to a CT license as it gives the businesses more flexibility in kitchen hours and much less administrative overhead — as a CR has specific requirements for everything from the hours the kitchen must be open to keeping 3 years of all invoices on site and ready for review at any time. Here’s some other businesses across DC that hold CT licenses: The Dubliner, The Occidental, Pizzeria UNO in Union Station, District Chophouse. You can see the list of all ABC licensees here >> http://1.usa.gov/13hIIgj

    What’s more telling of Brookland’s Finest plans to operate as a neighborhood focused restaurant is that they are not seeking an entertainment endorsement as part of their application, as noted in this Washington Post story >> http://wapo.st/13hFIk7 “They decided not to apply for what D.C. calls an “entertainment endorsement,” meaning no DJs, no live music, no karaoke – not even a jukebox. They did request a patio with 40 seats, which is intended for families as well as bar patrons.”

    Finally, if you have questions about the application process or what someone can or cannot do with an alcohol license, reach out to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration >> http://abra.dc.gov/DC/ABRA << they're happy to answer residents questions, and they're happy to educate anyone on what can be a confusing world of ABC licenses.

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