By DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC | It takes two hands to hold a Whopper, but only one to hold a beer.
A Burger King at 106 Liberty St. is planning to sell beer alongside its fast food fare. First it had to petition the Financial District Committee for a beer license.
The application process started with a topic other than alcohol at the Wed., Sept. 3 meeting: trash.
“I have complained numerous times about the garbage,” said committee member Pat Moore, whose building faces Liberty. “The garage is disgusting— its on the ground, its leaking, its running.”
Moore said she has called the Dept. of Sanitation several times about the problem.
“One thing shouldn’t have to do with the other,” she said. “But I don’t need to have now on top of that, people beer drinking outside and hanging out.”
At the meeting, one of the owners of the Burger King franchise, Rob Powell, said he was not aware of this and would try to resolve it. He also suggested that perhaps the rubbish should be attributed to another establishment on the street.
“I’m blaming you for your garbage,” Moore retorted.
After promises of resolving the garbage problem, the committee had other concerns of when and who would serve the beer. With two high schools near and fast food workers including teenagers, the committee wanted to make sure that the alcohol would not end up in minors’ hands.
“There’ll be no minors dealing with the alcohol,” said Powell, who then explained that his Burger King had table service upstairs with waiters. “We’re becoming more of a traditional restaurant.”
The committee recommended approving the license. The matter goes to the full board Sept. 23, before the advisory resolution goes to the State Liquor Authority, which is likely to grant the license since there is not community board opposition.
The beer would not be available for take out and will be served in a clear cup. The restaurant will use identification scanners that are used at clubs to ensure an ID is valid. Powell also assured the committee that is hiring an adult staff to wait tables.
“I’m not here to be a burden on the community,” he said. “[The beer is] to help me enhance the average check. Costs are going up — between wages and electricity, I can’t keep up.”
Powell later told the Downtown Express in a phone interview that he had received overwhelming requests from tourists to offer beer on the menu. “It’s going to be a game changer for us,” he said.
After setting the hours the beer can be served, the committee approved the license.