Schmid says he modeled his ordinance after similar laws in University City, which require businesses to sell 50 percent food in order to receive a liquor license. The suburb also has a separate provision of its liquor law that allows bars and restaurants to sell unlimited amounts of alcohol provided they exceed $275,000 in annual food sales.

Blueberry Hill owner Joe Edwards says he was contacted by Schmid last year to discuss how the U. City laws have affected his restaurant. "I can see both sides of the argument," says Edwards. "A lot of people blame the demise of Gaslight Square to lax liquor policies. People could open a place without much money. If the business did well, the owner usually ran a decent bar and obeyed the rules. If it didn't, they'd open the floodgates to anyone – minors and brawlers. The district went downhill pretty rapidly after that."

Edwards suggests a compromise might be for Schmid to alter his bill so that it places a minimum dollar amount on food sales instead of basing it on a percentage of a bar's total revenue.

Crossroads: Developer Will Liebermann says Alderman Craig Schmid's liquor policy stifles growth.
Jennifer Silverberg
Crossroads: Developer Will Liebermann says Alderman Craig Schmid's liquor policy stifles growth.

In the meantime, developer Will Liebermann says Schmid's policy puts a stranglehold on growth on Cherokee Street.

"Ultimately it undermines the credibility of people trying to develop Cherokee Street," says Liebermann. "I'll take would-be investors down the street and tell them, 'You can put a pub on this corner, but not this corner. But if you really want to open a bar on this corner, you still can. You just need to sell a lot of peanuts along with the drinks.'"

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