Below is a letter to the editor written by Wellesley resident Dave Andelman, president of the Restaurant And Business Alliance, the CEO of Phantom Gourmet, Inc.:
I was proud and pleased when my brother Dan bought a home in Wellesley. Because he has two small children, I volunteered to bring them takeout from Captain Marden’s one night. Realizing I was early, I went to The Cottage, where I sat down at the bar to enjoy a glass of Pino Noir after a very long day at work. The bartender, rather than greeting me, said “Do you know our policy?” I confessed that I did not. He informed me that, in Wellesly, one must order food in order to order a drink. Since I was about to have dinner with Dan’s family, I didn’t want to eat. However, I did want that drink, so I agreed to order soup. The bartender said that “soup doesn’t count”. I asked who determined that soup didn’t constitute food, and I was told the police. I laughed, thinking it was a joke, but I realized it was the truth.
Wellesley and Newburyport are the only two towns in our state that require customers to order food in order to receive an alcoholic beverage. While well-intentioned, I urge Wellesley to modify this rule. Why forfeit the local meals tax money that will inevitably go to other towns? Why punish great, responsible local business owners like Ming Tsai at Blue Ginger? Why make it harder, in these tough times, for bartenders to make a living? Why inconvenience residents who may like to have one drink on their way home to dinner or to meet their neighbors? Why discourage potential home buyers (like me) and business owners thinking of building stores and signing leases?
The Restaurant And Business Alliance suggests that the rule be modified so that:
1) Restaurants with one hundred seats or more can serve alcohol without requiring that customers order food. It would be the decision of the town to allow a restaurant with less than one hundred seats the same privilege.
2) After 10PM, customers will not be able to order drinks without food.