BYOB liquor launches in Oak Park

Buzz Caf? is the first restaurant in town to request new license

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Laura Maychruk, owner of Buzz Café, 905 S. Lombard Ave. in Oak Park, is the first restaurant owner to apply for a new license in the village required to allow patrons to bring their own liquor, wine or beer to drink with meals.

The new ordinance requires restaurateurs to pay a $500 fee to the village, along with a one-time $250 application fee. They also must send employees through a state-certified alcohol server training program and get liability insurance. BYOB licenses require businesses to serve only between the hours of noon and 11 p.m.

Business owners also must appear before the Liquor Control Review Board, a citizen commission in the village, for approval for the license.

Maychruk, whose restaurant has allowed diners to bring in their own alcohol for about 19 years, said applying for the license, paying the village application fee, sending her employees to the alcohol training program and getting managers fingerprinted set her back about $1,000.

She will appear before the Oak Park Board of Trustees on Tuesday, Jan. 22, to receive the BYOB license.

Asked why she did not want to apply for a full liquor license, Maychruk said she employs teenagers, which would preclude her from getting such a license. Liquor licenses are more expensive, too, she said.

"It's just not that kind of place; it's not a bar," she said.

She said that only about two tables a week bring their own bottles.

Maychruk said now is trying to figure out how to recoup the money she spent on the license and other costs. She might hold BYOB date nights with specials to attract new business.

Businesses that had been allowing BYOB received a cease-and-desist letters from the village last year, notifying them that they were not allowed to offer BYOB at their establishments.

Two village trustees, Deno Andrews and Simone Boutet, voted against the ordinance, which was approved last May.

Andrews said at the time that requiring businesses to pay for a BYOB license is "government overreach."

"I think this is a somewhat well-thought-out solution that doesn't have a problem," Andrews said. "I'm not aware of any BYO issues that have come up in the village in recent times."

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Reader Comments

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Robert Milstein from Oak park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2019 6:28 AM

The governing philosophy needs an over-haul. Development can happen without high rises; fees, if appropriate, can be low; zero based budgets where each department must justify their spending and cutting to get their dollars allocated; an attorney that reports to the Board not the Manager; a new Village Manager and a new President will bring some necessary reforms. This fee is symptomatic but is not the problem. Lastly, the developers are welcome and we should work with them, but we need to limit structures height and look much better. Whiteco looks like a gulag prison and at South and Lake we have the sister prison. I know it is not easy to govern, but lets get serious about the Village's "look and feel".

Marie T Perkins from Oak Park  

Posted: January 22nd, 2019 10:06 PM

Keep voting in Abu-Taleb and his cronies. First he changes his title to Mayor, then he's slowly but surely turning Oak Park into a mini Chicago with all of the high rises. And now these outrageous fees on small businesses. This village isn't his to do what he wants. Time to vote him out. Are we sure his last name isn't really Daley?

David Montgomery from Oak Park  

Posted: January 22nd, 2019 1:23 PM

Yep ! Looks like the Ringling Brothers Clown Car unloaded at Village Hall.

Mike Hanline  

Posted: January 22nd, 2019 9:48 AM

Shame on the village leadership. Again...

Bruce Kline  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 9:15 PM

Robert this is a perfect example of why we have to vote most of these clowns out of office. Whether its spending money or grabbing other people's hard earned monies, they just can not help themselves.

Robert Milstein from Oak Park  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 8:30 PM

The dollar amount attached to this is ridiculously high. It is a fee to control a problem that never existed. It is largely a how can we get more money law. Current restaurants should , if they must, have 90 days to comply and pay a one time fee of $100 max. and a yearly fee to renew at $100/ year for 5 years. Restaurants coming after the ordinance becomes law should have $250 fee to appply and $150 per year for 5 years to renew the license. Renewals after the 5th year would be increased by a set percentage. This is not necessary. Let BYOB drive business generating traffic and revenue

Jason Cohen  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 5:26 PM

Why wouldn't OP allow say a 90 day window for current businessss to get a heavily discounted license at least. Then make it this price for all businessss after that. Feels like a penalty for those that have been allowing this with no issues which doesn't make sense.

Mickey Agney from Oak Park  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 4:58 PM

Again Oak Park just makes decisions without any research on why they came up with these decisions. Chicago should be an example of research who doesn't even have a a bybo license. And they can still charge you a cork fee, and be legal. Here they want to charge you twice. From all the empty business through out Oak Park, you have to wonder how business friendly this town is. Be kind to your businesses and residents, by allowing them to bring their alcoholic beverages to dine at places that don't want that to burden that responsibility. And then would Never get that license, because it will we make financial sense.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 2:44 PM

The Village has made the simple act of a couple adults drinking a bottle of wine at a restaurant table, instead of their own kitchen table into excessive fees, forms, and classroom training. These trustees have a god complex the moment they get a couple thousand votes and become the Lords of Oak Park. Their self importance knows no bounds.

RoseMary Gange  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 6:30 AM

This is a ridiculously expensive fee. S50 should suffice. Business friendly?

Bob Larson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 18th, 2019 6:21 PM

$750 few seems like a lot to pay for something that will not really generate additional profits for the business. Looks like a cheap money grab by the village. I can see maybe $100 to pay for the administrative costs.

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