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Berry's booze bill busted

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:50 PM

Drinks won't be allowed for The Dinky's patrons in Bresson Park anytime soon as council voted four to two to deny a resolution to sell alcohol on city property.

Steve Euton, council president, indicated the matter was settled. "There are no further items on the council agenda or in committee," he said after the meeting Tuesday night. Council members Robert Carleton and Dwight Tkach voted for the proposal, while Chris Mushett, Tera Thornhill, Shane Penrose and Skip Wilde voted against the measure. Tom Stoll was excused from the meeting.

But Doug Berry, owner of Berry's Restaurant, said later he will consider alternatives. "You pretty much only get one shot to do the same thing in the same form and that would be hopeless. But we're not going to give up," he said later at his restaurant.

"There are a whole bunch of ways to do this," Berry said. "Tonight we'd be packed," he said, speaking of the mild weather and empty outside seating.

"The hang-up is on city property," he added. "The restaurant business is extremely difficult. We'd like to keep it in town."

But Berry still faces opposition from residents. Ashford Mullins, a resident since 1948, spoke at the council meeting to oppose any form of alcohol served in a public area. "It's bad enough on the inside and it's worse on the outside," he said.

Mike Babcock, of Linwood Avenue, didn't give his personal views on the issue, but asked council members to follow the will of the majority. "Remember the oath of office you took when you were elected, to benefit the majority of the people," Babcock said.

Berry's daughter, Leslie, who works at the restaurant, spoke up for the proposal at the meeting. "We're not just a bar. We're a restaurant," she said. "Alcohol is just a small part of our business."

Wilde was the only council member to speak about the issue before voting. He read from an e-mail he had received that said Norwalk doesn't need to encourage the consumption of more alcohol and the proposed legislation seemed to benefit only Berry's and not other businesses in town.

Berry agreed after the meeting that the decision for council was difficult. "But if you don't ask, the chances of receiving are none," he said.

His daughter said later that she hoped townspeople would remember the legacy Berry's has built in Norwalk. "We've been here for over 60 years and we've shown our loyalty," she said.

Since the resolution allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages on city property downtown didn't pass, council removed the resolution to enter a lease with Berry's Restaurant to serve alcohol at Bresson Park.

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