Riverside administrators agreed on February 18 to waive alcohol licensing fees for a handful of local restaurants and bars for a second year in a row amid uncertainty over COVID-19 restrictions that may remain in place later in 2021.
The village council will take formal action to waive alcohol license fees for The Chew Chew / Sawmilly, LaBarra Ristorante, La Estancia, Quincy Street Distillery and Mollie’s Public House next month.
Fees would also be waived for Catrina Bar, a new facility slated for 34 East Ave. which should open next month in the small downtown storefront. Liquor permits must be renewed no later than May 1 of each year.
Fees are quite a hefty annual expense for business owners. Depending on whether the establishment also has a take / deliver permit, liquor permits can cost between $ 1,050 and $ 2,700 per year. Quincy Street Distillery’s license is much cheaper at $ 385 to operate the small tasting room attached to the distillery.
“I think this is a time when we need to keep helping the restaurants as much as we can, and it’s a small gesture we can do to help them without a huge expense for the village.”
Trustee Patricia Collins
However, the total amount of revenue that Riverside collects from these rights, because there are so few liquor licenses issued in the village, is not that much. By waiving these fees, the village will lose approximately $ 8,000.
“I think this is a time when we need to keep helping the restaurants as much as we can, and it’s a small gesture we can do to help them without a huge expense for the village,” said the trustee. Patricia Collins.
The waiver does not extend to the Brookfield Zoo, which is partly within the Riverside business boundaries (the remainder is in Brookfield) and includes restaurants and other vendors that serve alcohol to visitors.
The zoo’s Class B liquor license costs $ 10,500 per year. Additionally, according to Village Clerk Cathy Haley, the zoo’s food service provider, SSA Group LLC, has applied for and received approval for a Class B license in 2020 to serve alcohol on zoo property. .
However, Haley said, no license is currently active since Brookfield has been forced to shut down for so long during the pandemic.
Trustees also agreed to expand the temporary use of the village rights-of-way to accommodate additional outdoor seating at facilities in downtown Riverside. When the state of Illinois eased restrictions on COVID-19 last summer as the number of cases fell, Riverside allowed LaBarra and Chew Chew / Sawmilly to expand outdoor seating on the public promenade and in public areas. street parking areas.
While LaBarra never extended their seats on the street, they placed tables on the public promenade, while The Chew Chew set up tables for a while in the street parking lot in front of the restaurant. Those street tables disappeared after The Chew Chew built their off-street outdoor seating area to the east of the building.
Last year’s order also allowed Mollie’s and La Estancia to expand outdoor seating in front of these establishments.