Alcohol earlier in the morning: Downtown Dayton restaurants seek change

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Alcohol earlier in the morning: Downtown Dayton restaurants seek change

The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce’s petition drive to place on the November ballot a measure that would give several restaurants and pubs in downtown Dayton, including the Oregon District, the ability to start serving alcohol at 10 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. on Sundays was successful, chamber officials announced today.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections have certified that there were sufficient signatures on the petitions gathered by the chamber to place the issue before voters in precinct 1-B in this fall’s Nov. 7 general election, chamber officials said.

The Dayton chamber is launching its “Vote Yes” campaign today and unveiled a Brunch Bill web site urging precinct voters to do just that, according to Chris Kershner, vice president of public policy and economic development for the chamber.

“This collaborative effort will support and contribute to our downtown Dayton residents, businesses and vibrancy,” Kershner said. “Dayton restaurant owners have invested in downtown, now it’s our turn to help them grow.”

Kershner said last week that a number of downtown Dayton restaurants approached chamber officials about seeking the change.

“We looked at the brunch scene in town, and concluded we want to support the vibrancy that these restaurants have created,” Kershner said. “Restaurant owners were telling us, ‘Our customers want to order a mimosa or a Bloody Mary with their Eggs Benedict.’”

The change, if approved by voters, would apply to only those restaurants and bars in Precinct 1-B, which includes the Oregon District and the area around the Cannery and part of the Water Street area. Affected restaurants would include Lily’s Bistro, Corner Kitchen, Salar Restaurant & Lounge, the Dublin Pub, and Basil’s on Market, among others.

Lily’s Bistro is among restaurants in the Oregon District and downtown Dayton supporting a Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce effort to allow restaurants to serve alcohol starting at 10 a.m. rather than 11 a.m. on Sundays. This photo shows tacos from Lily’s menu. CONTRIBUTED Staff Writer

Steve Tieber, owner of the Dublin Pub, is serving as chairman of what the chamber is calling the “Brunch Bill Coalition,” a group of 15 bars, restaurants and other businesses in favor of the change.

“Sunday Brunch is one of our busiest days of the week,” Tieber said in a chamber release. “Liquor licenses give restaurants the ability to open up at 5:30 in the morning, six days a week.

“Opening up an hour earlier on Sunday would increase the opportunity for business regardless if a customer would like to have a Bloody Mary or mimosa or not. Passage of the Brunch Bill will create additional jobs, and in turn, bring people to downtown.” 

Jeff Gonya, president of the Oregon Historic District Society, said the neighborhoood association has not taken a stand on the “Brunch Bill.” Residents of the Oregon District who live south of East Fifth Street will not vote on the issue because they are not in Precinct 1-B.

“But personally, I think it’s a good idea,” Gonya said. “We used to be a ghost town on Sunday mornings, and now I see some families coming down to enjoy brunch.”

Emily Mendenhall, owner of Lily’s Bistro, told this news outlet last week that her restaurant and Blind Bob’s, a restaurant/bar operated by other members of her family, support the effort.

“Lily’s only recently expanded our hours from 11 a.m. to 10 a.m. for Saturday and Sunday brunch, and it’s been an inconvenience to our customers to have to tell them that they cannot order certain items until 11 a.m.,” Mendenhall said. “It seems arbitrary to say that a customer can’t order a Bloody Mary at 10:59 a.m, but at 11:01 a.m., it’s okay.

“Being in the business of hospitality, we want to be able to accommodate our guests, and brunch goes hand in hand with the ‘Sunday funday’ of relaxing and maybe imbibing a little bit. So hopefully, moving forward, we can start that Sunday funday vibe when we open our doors up to welcome our patrons.”

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