MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some Minneapolis restaurants are pushing to change their liquor laws. The problem is, the laws are tied to the city charter, so it’ll take a referendum to do it.
The restaurants have special rules that are supposed to protect neighbors, forcing them to sell at least 70 percent food. But with the price of craft beer and fine wine rising faster than food, the owners say those numbers just don’t add up anymore.
Molly Broder loves this corner in south Minneapolis, where she owns Broder’s Pasta Bar, Broder’s Cucina Italiana and now Terzo Vino Bar. But there’s one problem.
Terzo, Cucina Italiana and more than 65 other neighborhood restaurants in Minneapolis have liquor licenses that require a 70-30 percent split between food and liquor sales.
“We don’t want our neighborhoods to be disrupted,” Broder said. “We don’t want a bunch of saloons popping up all over the neighborhood.”
The 70-30 split means $14 worth of food for every $6 beer, or $21 for a $9 glass of wine. So, a burger and a couple $8 craft beers doesn’t work — and you can imagine the issue when they sell an expensive bottle of wine.
“We’re not talking about getting drunk,” she said. “We’re not talking about over-serving. We’re talking about quality over quantity.”
So, Broder and owners of other neighborhood restaurants like Turtle Bread and Lynn on Bryant are circulating a petition to get the special liquor licenses off the city charter. They don’t want special rules, but say there are other ways to keep their restaurants from turning into drinking joints.
“Liquor licensing does hold us accountable and they have a lot of tools in the toolbox to keep us clean,” she said. “We can’t over-serve, we can’t disrupt the neighborhood and we work with them on other criteria to make sure it’s a restaurant but not a bar.”
They need more than 10,000 names on the petition just to get on next November’s ballot.
It would also need a 55-percent super majority to change the city’s charter.
Only then would they actually be able to address the 70-30 split.