Local restaurateurs petition against onerous alcohol rule

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Beer tasting
The 70/30 ordinance restricts the amount of revenue restaurants can make from alcohol sales
Molly Broder, the owner of Broders' Pasta Bar, Cucina, and Terzo Vino Bar, is spearheading an attempt to rid the city charter of its 70/30 rule, which mandates that certain neighborhood restaurants earn no more than 30 percent of their overall revenue from alcohol sales. Restaurants currently affected by the rule include Chatterbox Pub, Pizza Luce, Corner Table, Birchwood Cafe, and Matt's Bar, among 65 others.

"I [knew] something needed to be done when we opened and I realized we weren't going to be able to make our numbers and then looked into it a little bit more," Broder said. "All of these little neighborhood places are tied to the city charter."

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Broder, along with Tilia's Steven Brown, the Lynn on Bryant's Peter Ireland, and Turtle Bread's Harvey McLain, recruited a lawyer to draft a petition against the rule. According to David Brauer of the Southwest Journal, they'll need a whopping 10,790 signatures to get on the 2014 ballot and a 55 percent vote from the City Council for the changes to be made.

The main aim of the petition is to get alcohol licensing out of the hands of the charter and within the regular purview of the City Council, Broder said.

"[The goal is] to be regulated by city ordinances in the city of Minneapolis, which then means that the City Council can decide by majority vote what the license is going to be," she added.

The initial thinking behind the 70/30 rule was that it kept restaurants from turning into full-fledged bars and attracting bar crowds to predominantly residential neighborhoods. The problem is that the rule makes it difficult for the 70 Minneapolis restaurants it falls on to serve nice wines and craft beers alongside similarly priced foods.

"This is a remnant of the end of prohibition," said Harvey McLain of Turtle Bread Company. "[The rule] really comes back to a time when there was a belief that wine and beer was evil."

Restaurants that fall under the 70/30 rule are also prohibited from serving drinks to customers before they order food. Restaurants that fail to comply risk losing their liquor licenses.

Broder will be hosting a meeting with concerned restaurateurs and a member of the charter commission to discuss the petition at Terzo today at 11 a.m.



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13 comments
Tracy Murray Thompson
Tracy Murray Thompson

Alcoholics need A LOT more sober, public, social places to go to, well after dark, with bar hours, and make them bar-like. This is kinda a tangent, but it's really important. We are SUCH a minority and it's ridiculous. It should reflect the supply and demand of the sober community. I just know it would work, as long as there's not too many locations and they are spread THROUGHOUT the TC area. People would be, without a doubt, LESS likely to fall off the wagon if this were the case and, no, I didn't say "never".

Tim Barbeau
Tim Barbeau

Ehhh, I'd sign that. Sure thing, Broder's is a cool place and I don't think they're turning into a den of Scum and Villainy if someone drinks one too many glasses there

skw8021
skw8021

Great, but they become hypocrites if they then go and lobby against Sunday sales and beer/wine in grocery stores (as many restaurants do).

TwinCities
TwinCities

Many restaurants have to deal with even harsher 80/20 and 90/10 requirements.  This is something they know when they open these spots.  It's stupid to act like they weren't aware long before opening their doors.


They could just be like Toby Keith's I Love This Bar in St. Louis Park.  They continue to go over their requirement and the city does nothing.  Make the city money and they'll let you break rules.

brill029
brill029

It would be nice to know the MLBA's position on this, and by extension its probability of passing.  

mcnelis85
mcnelis85

Welcome to the club. These blue laws restrict a lot of business owners and customers. 

KKMcManamon
KKMcManamon

@citypages I'd love my hood even more. I usually avoid these places for happy hour because of this which is a total bummer! 70/30 is insane.

TC4L
TC4L

Basically, become an asset and you can bend the rules.  It does make sense if you think about it.

TwinCities
TwinCities

@TC4L  More like pay the right people and they'll let you do it.  If you have the money, you can make it happen.


The Uptown area requires bars/restaurants to have parking as one of the requirements to operate in the area.  But you know the right people and grease the right palms and you can get away with not having parking like Bulldog Uptown and a couple others.

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