12 July 2008

All Cower Before the Newark City Council

From this week's Newark Post:
Kildare's pushes back opening to late July.

To summarize: Kildare's planned to be open by now, but the Newark City Council, in a 4-1 vote on June 9, said, "No, you really should wait on this so we can define the terms of your business to our liking. It won't cost you any money to sit around doing nothing, will it? Well, we frankly don't care." Essentially, the NCC wants a public hearing to restrict the use of the outdoor deck (close at 11 pm S-Th nights, 1 am Fri and Sat nights). Why? Because people might actually enjoy themselves drinking beer outside, and we certainly can't have anyone having fun in Newark!

Of course, the owner of Kildare's caved and said, "That's fine," mainly because he still doesn't have the liquor license and doesn't want further delays or scrutiny from the city. Of course, he didn't say that (savvy to the bullying nature of political power that he is)...but why would you conceivably want to close the deck at 11? Certainly I would like to enjoy a cold malted beverage from time to time on the outdoor deck after 11 o'clock on a weekday. I enjoy drinking beer outside. And the deck overlooks a big parking lot. There is no legitimate city interest in closing the deck early - the city is just acting in typical killjoy mode.

08 July 2008

Entrepreneurs in Newark, take note (part 1)

If you want to make money and add to the quality of life in the city, focus on developing a pan-Asian restaurant - combining Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and/or Thai cuisines. But especially Thai. Wow, the Thai food options in northern Delaware are just horrible.
I can guarantee that, assuming that you have high quality food, a reasonable price structure, and can serve alcohol, this restaurant will be very, very popular.
Seriously, what are the best current options for Asian cuisines on a walkable Main Street? Pad Thai at Home Grown; no ambience (but very good food) at Number One Chinese; and the very underrated Saigon (which suffers from poor location, but should be more heavily patronized).

06 July 2008

Kildare's - or what's wrong with the Main Street dining scene

This post may appear to be premature (and prejudicial to boot!). I am, of course, happy to see a restaurant/bar (but especially a bar) occupy the Shaggy's space. And I have been to Kildare's in West Chester and on 2nd Street in Philly - they're both enjoyable, social places where I've had a good time. It's a relatively small, localish chain, in the mold of BrewHaHa or Peace. Places that I really like, in other words. I am sure that I will enjoy and be a regular at Kildare's.

But that's what's really wrong about Kildare's - it's a known commodity. The council/ABC can look at a track record in food service and feel comfortable that it's primarily a restaurant, not a drinking establishment. No risk for them - their asses are covered.

Ugggh. It's going to look really nice - they're spending a lot of money on interior and exterior design, following the mold of other Kildare's. Not doing anything to create something new in Newark. Delaware - the land of the chains, doing everything possible to crush the unique. Actively discouraging people from doing something new and different through the power of licensure.

Oh - and have you seen the food prices? It's NOT going to be a place to get lunch or dinner at a decent price. Well, all of the design and renovations cost money. And they need to get their money from food, according to the ABC. Though that doesn't mean the drinks will come cheap. Again: I don't blame Kildare's - it's their business model. I blame the mayor/council/ABC for being intolerant of organic growth on Main Street.

To recap: good food, good drinks, should be popular, I look forward to it opening; but it was approved under a highly controlled process for the primary purpose of extracting more money from the Main Street dining crowd, rather than allowing Main Street to evolve on its own to the dynamic space that should be present in a town with 20,000 college students, associated faculty and staff, and a diverse range of nearby high-income industry.