The city legislation that limits the number of liquor licenses permitted in the South Side may soon get its first test.
At last week's South Side Planning Forum meeting Durid Aboud along with his attorney, Louis Caputo, addressed the community about Mr. Aboud's family's plans to open a restaurant in the 2200 block of E. Carson Street and their desire to be able to serve alcohol at the restaurant.
According to Mr. Aboud, they would like what amounts to little more than a service bar to be able to serve the diners at their Middle Eastern restaurant a glass of wine or beer or a cocktail with their dinner. Mr. Aboud explained that his mother is the cook at the restaurant and they wouldn't be open into the wee hours of the morning or offering specials to bring in those solely there to drink.
What the Abouds are asking is for the South Side to take a leap of faith. The first part of that leap is easy, for a decade or more the Abouds have operated BaBa D's in Oakland as a family friendly restaurant frequented by students and hospital employees and intend to operate the South Side restaurant in a similar manner.
It's the second step in that leap of faith that has some South Side residents concerned. The only kind of businesses in South Side that are more prevalent than bars (or restaurants with liquor licenses) is restaurants, with more than 100 eateries in the neighborhood making for healthy competition for dining dollars.
Restaurants (and bars) open and close all the time and that is a concern for the economic stability of the neighborhood, but if this particular restaurant is permitted to open with a liquor license that location is tied to a liquor license. Should the Abouds decide to sell there would be nothing preventing a sports bar or similar enterprise from opening in the same location. A similar situation recently occurred with Tuscany Café closing after a decade and a sports bar opening in its place.
That being said, the Abouds should be permitted to open their restaurant with full use of a liquor license. Based upon the presentation made by Durid Aboud, the restaurant will be an asset to the neighborhood and not a detriment. Decisions based upon what might or might not happen in a year or ten should not influence what is proposed for here and now in this case.
If residents are concerned the Abouds may fail in their endeavor and sell out to a less desirable business, they should make every effort to patronize the restaurant and assure their success.