Berry's booze bill busted

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.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

 

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.

Comments

harold r myers ...

THIS WAS A GOOD MOVE

no-booze (Anonymous)

Until I read what Doug's daughter had to say I never realized I needed to bow or get down on my knees to pay my respect to the Berry family for their "legacy" and "loyalty" they've created here in Norwalk. My goodness, how did this town ever come into existance or operate if it wasn't for them? After I dried my tears when I finished reading this article I began to ponder how the city of Norwalk could make things right with Doug and apologize for not letting him walk over the public and get what he wanted, how utterly selfish of us! We all should be ashamed! So I now can inform every business here in town, some of whom have been here a lot longer than 60 years, you mean nothing to the people or the economy of this town becasue my eyes have been opened. We all need to concentrate our efforts to keep Berry's open and Doug's wallet fat because of all the good he's given to us. Our only hope now is if they do close because we wouldn't let them serve booze in our park, we'll all need to pray as hard as we can to Doug. If we're all very lucky, Berry's will rise from the dead on the third day!

Happy (Anonymous)

Boo, hoo, hoo for you Doug. Finally we will NOT have to hear about this issue anymore! The only legacy I know of Doug Berry is that he has slept with 80% of his staff over the years producing many children and treats his employees with a few choice words, thrown plates, cups, whatever is around when his temper gets in an uproar.

Snow Dog (Anonymous)

It is too bad that the Berry family doesn't put this kind of energy back into the restaurant. Maybe it is just me, but I feel the prices have gone up and the quality of the food has gone down. Bob Evans is leaving Berrys in the dust.

hometown girl (...

I moved from Norwalk several years ago and now live in a "desirable" southern city. How I wish that I had a mom and pop restaurant to go to and take my kids for a milkshake or dinner where people knew my name!!! All I have are the usual chain restaurants that are overpriced and unremarkable. Shame on you Norwalk for kicking one of the good things you have in your small town. You have no idea of what you have right under your nose! When I heard of the idea in the park I thought what a great idea it was. Many restaurants in the south have al fresco dining, it is very popular (and they ALL serve alcohol). You obviously don't know the possibilities of what you have just thrown away and how pleasant it could have been to many people (maybe even you). Berry's had a great idea to make downtown Norwalk better and you shot it down, what out of spite? I read the Reflector to keep up with local news and usually I enjoy it but not this!! Firstly the scathing comments from some of you are totally unfounded and frankly tasteless. I'm sure Berry's would rather not have been the headlines on this isssue and did not request the coverage that it got from the Reflector!! It does them no good to alienate potential customers.
Congratulation all of you on your total lack of vision!

no-booze (Anonymous)

All those al fresco dining places (ALL serve alcohol) you have down there in that "desirable" southern city, how many of them are doing it on public property? If what you call allowing a single person to bend laws in their favor and con the city into providing them cheap property to fatten their own wallet a lack of vision and you say we have it, I say thank you. In a situation like this lack of vision = a smart community. My last statement is this, since you moved away and therefore don't pay city taxes here, who are you to scold us? If you don't like the decision and think this was so unjust, then move back, pay taxes and gain the right to complain.

re:hometngrl (A...

now i have a simple ? for u!excactly why do u think that norwk would be a better place only on the aspect of serving alcohol at berry's?if you live in a disirable city in the south,how come your complaining of having these chain restaurants,but yet you state that alfresco rest. are all over the south?can't u take your child to one of them for a milkshake?another thing also,just because someone may know your name doesn't alway's mean that they are a sincere friend 2 u!I'm 45 yrs. of age,& Mr.Berry has never called me by my name.furthermore neither has any of the employees!please don't be so harsh on the citizen's of norwalk!

Jonathan Christ...

I have been reading the comments on this issue for the last couple of weeks and The only nearly credible point against this is the limited use of a portion of a city park. But we have used public property for non-public uses in the past, we have even given public property away, such as, Wood St for the new Walgreen's store, Jefferson St, for Motor Panels, and Monroe St for St. Pauls Catholic Schools, when these situations lent no other options, leasing this property to Berry's isn't any different, except that the city will still own the property. I too believe that most of the people in Norwalk are apathetic to this issue. They do not care one way or the other and would not be opposed to the opportunity to atleast give it a try. I believe the council members who voted against this measure made a mistake and should have given this a test run. This of course if just my humble opinion.

no-booze (Anonymous)

Doug and his daughter better get on the same page when they let themselves be quoted in the paper. His daughter is quoted as saying, "Alcohol is just a small part of our business". Yet Doug responds to the reporter, "Tonight we'd be packed" assuming the resolution would've passed. So what's the deal? Either alcohol means nothing to you and is only one tiny benefit you can offer to your customers that will put a few extra bucks in your pocket or this would've been one huge bonus allowing you to stuff your pockets full of cash. Which one is it? Next time you both better get together and get the story straight before you feed us another line.

American 1st (A...

This issue doesn't really affect me one way or the other but I would just like to make an observation. It is obvious that if an out of town interest wanted the same thing as Berry's, Norwalk would give them a loan, the park and tax abatements. We always fight our own. By the way, if you prefer Bob Evans food, you probably prefer to live in a trailer.

JEF (Anonymous)

As most are very aware, over the past several decades communities across the U.S. have incrementally lost much of their home grown retail businesses to company owned national chains and franchised food operations. In certain respects, one town is pretty much beginning to look like a clone of the next. Development of the likes of the Cline St. extention which is little more than a road to somewhere else, merely helps to deepen the pass-through community character of Norwalk. Mr. Berry's expansion plan was a small indicative step to perhaps modify the atmosphere of uptown to where tourists on their way to the Lake would stop and enjoy some of the finer qualities of The Maple City. Hopefully certain elected officials and their minions are as enlightened in their inventiveness to find the wherewithal to grow the local business taxbase as they are in their antagonism towards Mr. Berry's modest proposal. Let's trust that all of those who care about the future of Norwalk will also have the desire that City Council's majority vote was not ultimately a pyrrhic victory.

New London (Ano...

Hey Berry's If you feel Norwalk has jerked the welcome mat out from under you, Come to New London "The Frindliest Spot in Ohio" we have a building just for you!!

I'm thinking the old J'Patricks restrant might be right for you. It even has a BAR in it!! We don't have a restrant in town anymore and you would be greeted with open arms!

Twisted (Anonymous)

This is to "no booze" I'm not sure if you've ever had an interview with a reporter but words are often taken out of text and twisted. Now I'm guessing just by chance that that is what happened. I was at the council meeting and Leslie stood up and spoke and when she stated that alcohol was only a small part of their business she was making a point that the atmosphere they were attempting to provide in the park was not an all night booze party, they are hoping to be able to provide their guests with the option of an alcoholic beverage with their meals. And yes mr./mrs. "no booze" I do believe along with the Berry's that the ability to serve alcohol in the park would be a huge guest attraction. I mean when I am deciding where to have "date night" on a beautiful summer evening with my husband, without a doubt the first thought that comes to my mind is where would we be able to be served outside tonight. And yes I do enjoy a glass of Merlot with my meal. And yes though it may only be a small part of my meal, it without a doubt would be an influential part of where I choose to dine.

personal (Anonymous)

and for all of you taking personal slams at the Berry family. Shame on you. This is a business matter/ matter with city council. Neither of which has anything to do with the personal lives of any of us. And for those of you who took personal stabs at the Berry family. I'm guessing you may have been fired from the restaurant? Maybe it's you who need to pick up and move on to something else.

cjp (Anonymous)

so whats wrong with stuffing your pockets full of cash walmart,walgreens, mcdonalds and giant eagle have no problem stuffing away and im sure sleep fine at night knowing there screwing the little guy. Mr. Berry has every right to make a buck and come up with creative ways of doing so,would it have been so horrible to drink outside? other than it being a public "park" whats the problem oh yah morals, our children will become alcoholics, drop out of school and become low lifes are you kidding me to those who think our children witnessing public drinking will have a harsh effect on them i assume you have never taken them to any college or professional sporting events, cedar point[they sell beer] or how about the st.pauls festival,st. joesphs festival milan melon,all of which sell beer, and are geared toward your children. and no you dont have to bow down to the berrys but respect for the fact that they have continued to stay in business for over 60 years and keep approx. 50-60 people employeed at any given time, most of those employees live in norwalk and spend there money here and vote, i know i do. So please remember citizens of norwalk the thing that makes norwalk so quaint, like our uptown, will soon not exsist all will move north to the land of big business so long to the little guy.

AlterEgo (Anonymous)

This should not be about the Berry's personally. It should be about does this help a business and not hurt other business or the community. And the answer is Yes, it helps a business without hurting any other business and does not negatively affect this community.

re:twisted (Ano...

your explanation certainly proved nothing to me. You tried to say it was taken out of context and by your own explaination it wasn't. She tried to tell council that if they said yes, so few people would sit in the park drinking becasue it's such a small part of their business, nobody would notice. Well, there's quite a difference between a few and "packing them in" which Doug said would've happened. So what story is it?

cafp (Anonymous)

Having traveled in this country and some European countries, the thing I like the most is enjoying a meal and a glass of wine with friends, while outside. I am heartily disappointed with the decision to restrict grown adults from enjoying this pleasure. We can count ourselves lucky to have a dedicated family business right here in this small town. But, we are not too small to have something special, as I think this would be. I have grown tired with the chain eateries, poor meals, dirty restrooms, sticky tables, and being just another tip to some server. I love being somewhere and knowing everyone by name. You know that if something isn't quite right, they will make it so. Lets hope the dialogue stays open and perhaps this could be a possibility. Done responsibly and with the focus on fun for grownups (wouldn't that be nice for a change?) I know I would behave myself!

no-booze (Anonymous)

I never realized Berry's was the whole economic glue that held uptown Norwalk together. Just think if we would've let him take over the parks uptown years ago, we'd be in competition with towns like Chicago and New York. I'll bet if you dig back in their history you'll find that one significant moment when those cities granted someone the right to serve booze in a public park and three weeks later they were building the Empire State building and the Sears Tower. Now that we've said no to drinking in a public park again, we've set the growth of Norwalk back another 100 years. We've cursed our children to live in this quiet, clean, and safe town for many years to come. How can us adults sleep at night knowing that?

twisted (Anonymous)

my point was that during the council meeting an email was read that gave the idea that Berry's was attempting to push a drink fest into the park. My point was the Leslie stood up and spoke that alcohol is a mere attraction to guests. The option to have a drink of your meal or a cocktail outside of Berry's is something that would be very appealing to guests in choosing where to dine. If you were to hear all she had to say you would have come into better understanding that they feel as well as consumer demands proving that while beer/liquor/spirits may only be a beverage the ability of an establishment to provide such an option draws in more business. A group of 10 dining at Berry's may only have two or three drinks, yet they chose to dine at Berry's because of the fact that those two or three people were able to have a drink during their visit. Hopefully I've gotten my point across to you, if not I'm sorry maybe you should contact Leslie herself.

response to no-...

norwalk is a quiet,clean and safe place to live for the most part but its not exactly mayberry we do have our problems one of which will be no uptown for our children to enjoy as adults one day if we dont support our locally owned and run businesses and if that means a drink outside with a meal after a long week of work and paying taxes than sign me up, and yes Berrys along with Crider jewelers,Mossman music,Excel bike shop and many more are norwalks uptown economic glue. In these businesses you are not a number or nameless consumer you are a friend,lets pass that on to our children. oh and i sleep just fine at night but with locked doors for i am not naive.

see you at the ...

I hope Berry's just buys the park and does what they want with it. It is just a glorified walkway now. I am envisioning a nice patio maybe with an outdoor fireplace and some checkers tables!! I can't believe some of you are against this!! What is the real reason I wonder. What a nice place it could be in our town...maybe a few more people might stay and spend their money in Norwalk instead of beating a path to Sandusky!!

response to see...

Bravo what a wonferful vision you have ill meet you for a game of checkers and a glass of wine!!!

hometown girl (...

my point, gentlemen, was: The "desireable" southern city that seems to be so coveted in today's society is really nothing more that well groomed monotonous strip malls disguised as "quaint" places where no one sets down roots or knows each other's names and no one cares!! Yes, I would love to go to the bank or supermarket or local restaurant and run into people I know.... Again, perhaps you don't realize what you have in a small town and how much better life is there rather than here in this so called "desireable" place. P.s. I DO own property in Norwalk and pay taxes AND have the right to complain all I want. I hope to move back as soon as I can AND go to Berry's patio and have a milkshake AND a beer with my dinner with my kids!! Maybe play checkers too...........maybe they will have a pumpkin carving party...it would be quite nice I think...

T$Ribinson (Ano...

ok , can we please put this issue to rest now . it is ridiculous the way that everyone makes everything a personal attack about the family whom the story is about !! whether its the Berry family , or the Brant family or whomever!! the facts are that the majority of the citizens don't want alcohol in public parks in norwalk .. it isn't a personal vandetta against Berry's or anyone else !! and i also want to say a special "thank-you" to councilman Skip Wilde , who personally was in favor of the drinking in the park , or maybe it is better to say that he did not object to it , but he knew that the people that he represented , did NOT want this approved , and so he voted the way that he knew that the people he represented , wanted him to , instead of the way that he wanted to .. it is refreshing to see anyone in the "government" structure who remembers that his job is to honor the people that he represents . Thank -you Skip

T$Robinson (Ano...

ok , can we please put this issue to rest now . it is ridiculous the way that everyone makes everything a personal attack about the family whom the story is about !! whether its the Berry family , or the Brant family or whomever!! the facts are that the majority of the citizens don't want alcohol in public parks in norwalk .. it isn't a personal vandetta against Berry's or anyone else !! and i also want to say a special "thank-you" to councilman Skip Wilde , who personally was in favor of the drinking in the park , or maybe it is better to say that he did not object to it , but he knew that the people that he represented , did NOT want this approved , and so he voted the way that he knew that the people he represented , wanted him to , instead of the way that he wanted to .. it is refreshing to see anyone in the "government" structure who remembers that his job is to honor the people that he represents . Thank -you Skip

JEF (Anonymous)

At last report, Huron Co. has an intolerable 7.9%unemployment rate. What percentage of this high unacceptable number is concentrated in Norwalk? For decades, multitudes of young people have exited the area in search of gainful employment, started families elsewhere and never returned except perhaps for an occasional visit. Without meaningful jobs for the youth, the tax burden for city services will increasing fall disproportionately on those who've remained - largely seniors. The current extent of Uptown pedestrian traffic is highly symptomtic of the almost always fatal disease of economic and urban decay. Though viewed as perhaps minor in scope, the defeat of Mr. Barry's modest request is indicative of a provincial attitude that while it helps to maintain Norwalk as a "A Kid's Place," tells them also to move on after they're of age.

reality (Anonymous)

Why is everyone making such a huge deal because one company was told "no you can't" by the city? Simply letting someone serve alcohol in a public park will never be the one simple thing that will turn the Norwalk economy around. How many companies over the years have asked the city to change zoning laws so they could expand into areas not zoned for commercial use and were denied? The city heard their idea, debated over it and in the end decided it was not in the best interest of the city to allow a zoning change to happen. That's it, it's over and deal with it. Take for example right now what's happening at Motorpanels here in town. Business for them is in horrible shape. Many people are laid off and a few rumors are floating around that if things don't change in the world economy, they'll close this place up and merge the work into another plant somewhere else. If that day ever does come (I hope it never does) and the city offers them an incentive package to stay, where does being able to drink in a public park stand as a good reason for them to stay? We're putting the cart before the horse here. Let's work on the city infrastructure and making sure our kids stay in school so they become a well educated workforce to offer current companies along with future businesses that may look to come here. We can look into how we spend our leisure time when the economy improves.

It would be won...

I really do hope something works out for Berry's Restaurant. Hopefully it works out that they are able to purchase the park..I do think it would be lovely. I can't imagine a better outside setting to dine in. Better that any place in SANDUSKY! Checkers, Pumpkin carvings, how about a movie in the park over dinner and a glass of wine!...Good Luck to Berry's Restaurant!

Ando (Anonymous)

Of course this decision will not change much here in town, and if it had
passed it would not have changed much of anything either

Of course this decision will not change much here in town,
and if it had passed it would not have changed much of anything either. A few
more people would be attracted to the setting and would probably enjoy
themselves. It also would not change the life of Mr. Mullins who I believe has
a personal problem with alcohol or Berry’s just by his “It's
bad enough on the inside and it's worse on the outside.” comment..

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