City Council took the unusual step on Aug. 11 of reversing the decision of the City’s Liquor Commissioner, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, and permitted the issuance of a liquor license to D&D Dogs at 825 Noyes St. D&D Dogs plans to serve beer and wine only.
Mayor Tisdahl said concern from the neighbors over the DMK Burgers license, as well as D&D’s image as a “hot dog stand,” informed her decision to deny the license. She said her decision was “no reflection on the people who own or work at D&D, but they chose the name D&D Dogs… there are plenty of other establishments with the name ‘dogs’ who will be requesting liquor licenses.”
Only Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, agreed, saying his concern was that a place such as the Little Island might request a license. A location in the middle of an intersection would not be a safe place to serve beer and wine, he said. “If someone could convince me that this is not a precedent, I could support it,” he said. No one could.
It did not matter, as citizen after citizen rose in support of D&D Dogs. The owners were consistently praised as valued members of the community and good neighbors. The fact that they already have a liquor license for D&D Finer Foods, which is attached to D&D Dogs, also appeared to bolster the argument in favor of the new license.
Several aldermen and residents pointed out a fundamental fairness issue. If the City allows a license for a hamburger restaurant basically next door to D&D, then it would be “fundamentally unfair” to deny a hot dog restaurant the same privilege, particularly when the one has been a good neighbor for more than 40 years and the other has been on the block only 18 months.
Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, tried to change Ald. Tendam’s mind. “Not all [owners of] hot dog stands have exhibited already that they want to have a liquor license. I think they’re truly different from a hot dog stand.”
Alderman Judy Fiske, whose First Ward includes D&D and whose Fit & Frisky Pet shop sits across the street from the restaurant, tried as well. “I don’t know any restaurant that has done so much for its community” as D&D Dogs, she said. “To say ‘no’ to D&D Dogs, it just flies in the face of all fairness.”
Fairness convinced others. “I think it is a thing of pure fairness,” said Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward. She said she supported the measure because of her residents, who contacted her overwhelmingly in support of D&D.
Ald. Tendam would not be persuaded. In the end, Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, called the question, and the measure passed 7-1. It is the first time in recent memory that the Council has overruled the Mayor/Liquor Commissioner on a liquor license issue.