Whiteway Deli granted exception for liquor permit

New Whiteway Deli owner Scott McAlister received the stamp of approval by the Planning Commission Jan. 19 to begin the process of moving toward dinner service and the sale of wine, beer and liquor at the iconic Park and King neighborhood deli.

McAlister, who owns three bars and lounges on King Street, with plans to open a taproom, also on King Street, applied for a zoning exception to serve alcohol at the deli located as 1239 King Street, and for a waiver to reduce the required minimum distance of 500 feet to 400 feet from two nearby churches and a school.

During the Jan. 19 hearing, representatives from Riverside Avondale Preservation stated their position as neither for nor against, citing unavailability of information in a timely manner prior to the hearing, and requested a deferral, which was denied. Nancy Powell, RAP Zoning Committee chair, also expressed a concern with hours of service.

“Everyone loves Whiteway, and we would have no problem with a dinner hour, serving beer and wine, but the concern is the establishment would morph into something else over time,” said Powell.

McAlister’s attorney, Wyman Duggan, said at the hearing the client completely understands those concerns and provided four conditions which “went above and beyond” to address them.

Those conditions cited at the hearing included the following:

  1. The establishment cannot operate as stand-alone bar or nightclub. There will be no area set aside for dancing. There will be no amplified live performance of music or playing of music by a DJ. The establishment cannot operate as a bar only, but sections of the establishment may close down for no further seating as they empty of diners.
  2. The establishment shall operate as a restaurant regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Hotels and Restaurants at all times. There shall be no less one hundred twenty (120) seats at all times. The kitchen must be open with a full-service menu during all hours of operation. There shall be no sale of alcohol after the service of food has stopped.
  3. This exception is for the existing Whiteway Restaurant comprising three bays at 1239 King Street.
  4. This exception is for on-premises consumption only, and does not permit package sales.

Although the Planning and Development Department staff report indicates as such, there is no intention on the part of McAlister to apply for a state license to sell packaged alcohol for off-premise consumption, reiterated Duggan in a phone conversation with The Resident.

McAlister bought the Whiteway Deli property from longtime owner Sam Salem in September 2016. Salem and his family had run Whiteway Deli since 1962, first at another location on King Street, then moved the popular deli to its present location in 2008.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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