Is it fair to restrict the number of Liquor Licenses?

14 04 2009

I was eating in my favorite New Jersey Diner on Easter with my kids. I’ve known the owner of Tiffany Diner in Ramsey, NJ for maybe 20 years now. Harry still cooks maybe 6 or sometimes 7 days a week and to be honest, I’m sure he loves almost every minute of it.

In the town of Ramsey, the Tiffany Diner is like an institution with around 40 years of memories from every person who has ever lived there. The place stands out among Bergen County Restaurants for a couple reasons. It was the first non Paterson Styled New Jersey Diner in Northern Bergen County and as such it was always filled with customers 24 hours a day during the 70’s and 80’s.When the diner opened in 1972 there were few really excellent restaurants in the area so Tiffany Diner was “THE” place to go for nearly every family or social event. Check out their New Jersey Diner Food Gallery for a jaw dropping and mouth watering look at part of their menu.

tiffany-diner-outside-550x368But now there are at least 25 restaurants in the town of Ramsey alone, and with T.G.I.F.’s and Houlihans and Chilies and 9 Chinese Restaurants and 10 Pizza places, the competition is severe and traditional diners don’t get the volume of business they used to faced with the huge competition. But there is another factor and that brings up the point of this article.

Ramsey New Jersey limits the number of Liquor Licenses to 5 in the Borough. That means the value of these Liquor Licenses is probably around half a million dollars or more – that is if you can get one. So a law restricting Liquor Licenses made in the 1960’s is hurting the smaller family owned restaurants in favor of the corporate mega chain restaurants who can afford to plow down the smaller places to put up a parking lot. In my professional opinion, this is an ABSURD LAW. The town should offer a limited license to small volume operators like the diners. They could do that without hurting the big places that have a huge bar business by restricting the Diner Type operators to 2 drinks max per customer.

Well anyway the world is changing fast and as we look at laws that restrict the number of Liquor Licenses we also have to look at the bigger picture. Are the big bars serving an average of more than 1 drink per hour to their customers? You better believe it. That means almost by default the people that go there to do some “serious drinking” are getting behind the wheel of their car over the legal limit for alcohol consumption. And who’s fault is that? The Police? The District Attorney? Let’s investigate that with the next post and think about whether it’s absurd or NOT !!

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