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Garden Cafe Loses City Council Vote. No More BYOB!

Steven “Don’t Call Me Dallas Dude Anymore” Doyle is “reporting” that the City Council turned down Garden Cafe’s owner Dale Wootton’s bid to get approval to allow diners to BYOB. And that includes charity events.

I just spoke with Dallas City Coucilwoman Angela Hunt. “At the end of the day, I talked with Dale and his son Mark and the community representatives and I moved to deny the removal of the dry overlay,” Hunt said. “Dale asked to pass the planned development district that would have given him more parking spaces for his tenants and I said sure. I had him go out and work it out with the neighborhood folks and everyone came back in and sang Kumbaya.”

Hunt says she eats breakfast at the Garden Cafe all of the time and this was a tough decision for her. “It wasn’t matter of trusting him [Dale], it came down to a matter the short term and long term matters,” Hunt said. “Now it’s three little shops in a neighborhood. It makes sense that it would be dry in a neighborhood like that. The neighbors closest to the project voted against removing the dry overlay. Once you remove it, you can’t replace it and we’ve seen the problems that can happen on Lower Greenville.”

Someone’s crying Lord, kum bay ya.

21 comments on “Garden Cafe Loses City Council Vote. No More BYOB!

  1. Why, if we give them a little bit of freedom we’ll never be able to snatch it away again!

    We’ve got to protect our phoney-baloney jobs here!

  2. “We appreciate that you bought this dilapidated building and restored an area that no one cared about, but well, we own you.”

    And, when he sells (as no one with business acumen would fault him for) and you have no tenants there and the building gets run down again. I guess the neighbors closet to the project will know who to blame.

  3. Aside from the pictures Dale may have released to the media the building Garden Cafe is in was a functioning building with businesses when he chose to buy it in 1991. The neighborhood surrounding the building was very much cared about in 1991 when Dale bought that building and was well on it’s way to being further restored. The other businesses in the strip are a day care, children’s clothing boutique and a children’s party business, I doubt they will abandon their businesses because they can’t sell alcohol. Please feel free to come visit Liz, perhaps then you will have a clearer picture of the situation.

  4. Translation for those who need it.

    “Aside from the pictures Dale may have released to the media the building Garden Cafe is in was a functioning building with businesses when he chose to buy it in 1991.”
    Unwritten: It looked like crap and housed the neighborhood rats, but technically, it was functional.

    “The neighborhood surrounding the building was very much cared about in 1991 when Dale bought that building and was well on it’s way to being further restored.” Unsaid: Except those of us who cared the most were unwilling to put our money where our mouths were. Besides slummy = lower property taxes.”

    “The other businesses in the strip are a day care, children’s clothing boutique and a children’s party business, I doubt they will abandon their businesses because they can’t sell alcohol.” Unsaid: They were also unwilling to move away if Garden Cafe was allowed a liquor license, because they knew it didn’t endanger their business models.

    “Please feel free to come visit Liz, perhaps then you will have a clearer picture of the situation.” Unsaid – Because now that we’ve gotten this sucker to build it – they will come. Now if we could just find a way to lower our property taxes again!

  5. @Borborygmus, I’m very sorry you are so angry about this, but insinuating that the neighbors surrounding that strip of businesses are somehow slum lords is not only false it’s disrespectful. The photograph you reference is from the late 70s not the early 90s, the individual the building was purchased from ran a restoration business in that space that supplied a lot of the neighbors with supplies to restore their homes. I’m not sure about your experience but typically neighborhoods that are not interested in raising property values do not become historic districts as both Swiss Avenue and Munger Place have been for nearly 30 years. If you are interested in supporting Dale I suggest you eat more frequently at his establishment rather than casting aspersions on the neighbors.

  6. ELH writes: “The photograph you reference is from the late 70s not the early 90s, the individual the building was purchased from ran a restoration business in that space that supplied a lot of the neighbors with supplies to restore their homes.”

    I guess even with all the restoration going on in this neighborhood with a 30 year historic designation the restoration business still chooses to sell out. Now a community oriented restauranteur asks for a BYOB permit and is pillaged by the neighborhood. A BYOB permit is going to diminish neighborhood values? These people–those with the well watered lawns in the historical district–are creating their own inner city HP bubble and care for nothing then their selfish interests. I hope he sells to someone who is as selfish as this community.

  7. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a BYOB or Wine and Beer permit. The only available zoning option is D (completely dry) or D-1 (alcohol service permitted). Perhaps if those options were available with city enforcement this conversation wouldn’t be happening.

  8. Sorry for my unfamiliarity of the zoning system. This is still a restaurant trying to make a buck by offering dinner with alcohol–beer, wine, hard liquor?–and planned to close at 10:00pm. I hear karma is a bitch.

  9. The Cafe is a successful business. It will remain one. The difference is the stress of all the traffic will remain day time only. Go to the Cafe. Enjoy it for what it is, not what you want it to be. There are lots of places within a mile to drink. Go there if you have to have a drink. And when you go be mindful that you are in a residential neighborhood. Angela Hunt Rocks!

  10. Angela Hunt also helped shoot down a bowling alley (that would serve alcohol) on lower Greenville. This was a concept from the guys who did Barcadia. It would have been a nice addition and filled some of the vacant space down there. Is there some kind of new temperance movement happening?
    This area has had bars and restaurants since the 1920’s. It shouldn’t shock residents to see alcohol served. I just hope that all these alcohol permits are not being denied so that we can make a more compelling environment for chain restaurants and stores (which I’m sure have deeper pockets for political donations).

  11. ELH – My dad took that picture just before, or maybe after he bought the building. He doesn’t remember exactly. I can’t believe you’re saying he lied about that. There was nothing operating here when he bought. The roof was caving in. Virgina also referenced new paving out front before he bought the building and even “new French Doors”. I’d love to show you/her the $50k receipt for the re-paving and new sidewalk in front. Or the $2k receipt for new trees in the park across the street (which I played in as a child). I wish I wasn’t responding to this ridiculous argumentative detail in a much larger issue, but I can’t help it. Two things have really upset me during this. The phrase “zoning goes with the land” I never want to hear that again. And, the accusation that we lied about that photo. That’s really upsetting and kinda hurts. Also, ELH, you might be interested in this..when he bought the land it came with plans for a two story office building and large parking lot. Assuming the next owner would be crazy not to dispose of this ratty old historic building, and make the most he/she could of the land. OK, I’m done. This has taken a lot of time and energy out of our lives. We lost. It’s time to move on.

  12. Mark is correct. I lived down the street back then and that building was abandoned (empty) and the only good thing that could be said about it was that it had potential. I’m glad that Mark was able to play in the park across the street when he was a child because my children couldn’t due to the broken beer bottles on the playground.
    I’ve never met Mark or his Dad but they have done an amazing job of recognizing the potential and transitioning that property from a severe eyesore to a source of pride for them and the surrounding area.
    The neighbors that fought against the permit have all benefited from Mark’s entrepreneurial spirit and know how. Sometimes I’m stunned at how short sighted the Dallas City Council can be but I know that I shouldn’t be.

  13. so, let me guess…me = angela hunt?
    seriously, Angela Hunt does not rock – no one who would cause damage to a business, especially in this economy, ROCKS.
    Mark and Dale have helped improve the economy and the neighborhood as a result and should be supported by us and our City Council.

  14. @me
    I agree with your sentiment about enjoying the restaurant for what it is, not what one would like it to be.

    Unfortunately what it is (or was) was a place which had BYOB functions. Also, unfortunately is that it is not as successful as you think.

    As for your argument about lots of places to drink: Don’t want a glass of wine with your meal? Don’t order one! There are plenty of restaurants that won’t serve you wine if you don’t order it.

  15. ELH
    So you would be happy with BYOB zoning, if it were possible, but apparently it isn’t, but a beer and wine license is a community disaster. What is the difference between the two? Worried about a future owner getting one of those hazardous liquor by the drink licenses? Then take your witchhunt to the TABC when the time comes. GC is your neighbor, and one that contributes a lot of civilization to your neighborhood. I guess you find any change frightening and to hell with a family’s livelihood if it means cars parked in front of your house up to 10:00pm.

  16. Not really sure why anybody would even want to BYOB at Garden Cafe. Unless it’s to ease the pain of waiting an hour and a half for your order to arrive.

  17. We live within 500 feet of Garden Cafe and we were very supportive of the permit request. It’s a real shame that it was denied.

  18. I live just a few doors away from the Garden Cafe, voted for removal of the dry overlay and contacted Richard Brown, City Planner; Councilmember Angela Hunt; and Commissioner Pauline Medrano to let them know that I supported the Garden Cafe and encoraged them to support the change. I guess my living a few doors away and supporting the GC does not matter.

    This is governmental proactive witch hunt by comparing the GC strip to Lower Greenville.

    I did not move to Munger Place to have the local government do everything they can to turn it into Plano South. I am wildly disappointed in my ‘representatives’.

  19. @Stella Did It – Thank you so much for your support! We really appreciate it! However, I feel I have to say that this wasn’t a decision made by the local government for it’s own reasons. I’ve seen a lot of comments referencing city hall at fault, and even Angela Hunt. Angela Hunt was very kind and helpful to us. She actively participated and listened to all sides. In the end she had to take the position of what the majority seemed to want. It seemed to me that the representatives wanted a transition to D-1. The neighbors that sent in their ballots did not. Over 100 people e-mailed City Hall in support of us. However, only 22 sent in a ballot in approval of the D-overlay removal, and unfortunately, 26 voted against. Then in the Council Chambers, there’s myself, my Dad, and our lawyer (the latter two in suits) sitting next to about 10 neighbors in opposition. It was definitely an interesting time for me to consider the power of local activism. (Try to subdue the dramatic sound of that word in your head) I’m just saying that it’s easy to blame City Hall or any other form of gov’t for not working the way you want it to work. However, you have a voice and it will be listened to. It’s easy to speak on a blog, but any real change will only come with a little sacrifice. Anyone that feels passionately about this issue either way ought to pick another issue coming up in City Council. Go down there when your issue is coming up for debate, and give ‘em your two cents. It’s really easy I promise, if you can get a couple hours off work that is.