DeKALB – With approval from the DeKalb City Council, $6,000 is about all The House Cafe owners need to start serving alcohol again.
DeKalb aldermen unanimously approved issuing the the House Cafe a liquor license during their meeting Monday. However, owners Brian and Alex Fausett need $6,000 to pay for the license and purchase beer and wine.
The Fausetts have been working with the city to obtain a liquor license since before they decided to lease the business in March.
“We knew it was a very important part of keeping the House profitable,” Brian Fausett said.
Before the all ages music and arts venue at 263 E. Lincoln Highway closed in October, it was grandfathered into a defunct liquor license that allowed people to buy beer or wine without purchasing food. After months of conversation with city staff about an appropriate liquor license, as well as ways to curb the loitering complaints and curfew violations, the Fausetts applied for a restaurant liquor license.
With a restaurant license, the House will only be able to serve beer and wine with meals. They also will issue wristbands to patrons over 21 and require minors to leave 30 minutes before curfew.
Ward 5 Alderman Ron Naylor asked for tighter restrictions, but City Attorney Dean Frieders assured him the liquor license did not need further restrictions because the city's police department has a proactive compliance program.
The plan was enough to satisfy Mayor John Rey, who complimented the Fausetts on their efforts to make the business a positive part of downtown DeKalb.
“I'm very pleased with the attitudes the owners have taken with a reasonable business plan for that mixed age venue,” Rey said.
Although they have support from the council, they need financial support from the community.
When they bought the business, the Fausetts set aside enough money to pay for the liquor license, which costs $3,5000. But they encountered more than $11,000 in unexpected expenses.
The Fausetts on Saturday started a campaign on gofundme.com that has so far netted them $1,975.
They hope to have the liquor license within a week and will work with alcohol vendors as time and money allow.
The Fausetts also see the potential to seek a different type of liquor license in the future that would not require patrons to eat a meal in order to have a beer. But in the meantime, Alex Fausett said, the couple is happy to have a restaurant license.
“Maybe what we need to do is have a restaurant license for a while and prove to the city that we can serve alcohol and still be a responsible, all ages space,” Alex Fausett said.
How to help:
Visit www.gofundme.com/c59ubo to contribute to the The House Cafe's liquor license expenses.