Como business seeks liquor license

The owner of Sporty’s Pub & Grill is seeking support from the community.

Trischa Heitman visits SportyâÄôs Pub & Grill once a week, wishing she could drink a glass of wine or a mixed drink. But she canâÄôt. Sporty’s is located in a commercial district near the corner of 22nd and Como Avenues Southeast, where the city of Minneapolis does not allow new liquor licenses. The district is two and a half acres in size, and would need to be seven acres to allow liquor licenses, according to a city ordinance. In 2005, the Senate authorized the city to issue a liquor license to ManningâÄôs Café and Bar across the street from SportyâÄôs , which at the time, held an on-sale wine license. Joe Radaich , owner of SportyâÄôs, said he is gathering support from neighbors and customers by having them sign a petition to present to Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis , and Sen. Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis . Radaich said he also has started a Facebook group, an e-mail campaign and sent out more than 400 postcards to neighbors and customers urging for support. Not having a liquor license has affected business, he said, forcing him to turn away many of his customers. âÄúEveryday people come in here and they say, âÄòCan I get a shot or a mixed drink?âÄô and we say âÄòno,âÄô they walk out and go to ManningâÄôs,âÄù Radaich said. âÄúItâÄôs a daily event and itâÄôs tough.âÄù

ManningâÄôs perspective

ManningâÄôs, located directly across the street from SportyâÄôs, obtained a liquor license in 2005. Larry Manning has owned the bar for the past 46 years. He said he does not think SportyâÄôs will get a liquor license anytime soon. âÄúWeâÄôre not worried about it,âÄù he said. âÄúWith the type of trade he has, the younger crowd, heâÄôs not going to be able to come up with enough food sales to qualify for the liquor license.âÄù Radaich said food sales have doubled after SportyâÄôs underwent a major renovation in 2008, including all new windows across the front of the building. Radaich also said he added a student discount to attract more customers. Manning said he worked two and a half years to obtain a liquor license. âÄúIâÄôve worked hard and a long time to get a liquor license, and I do qualify,âÄù Manning said. âÄúAnd as long as he qualifies like I did, to have the needed parking and the food sales, I guess more power to him.âÄù

Neighborhood reaction

Larry Paradise has been a resident in the Como neighborhood for the past nine years. He said if SportyâÄôs were allowed a liquor license, the neighborhood would remain unaffected. âÄúI donâÄôt think it will have any effect on [residents],âÄù Paradise said. âÄúI donâÄôt think it will make any difference if thereâÄôs another bar on that corner serving liquor.âÄù Paradise said even though ManningâÄôs has had their liquor license since 2005, he has not noticed any substantial changes among the neighborhood, such as noise increases. Heitman said she thinks adding a liquor license would help the business thrive and expand. âÄúI think it would just be fair,âÄù Heitman said. âÄúGiving one business the upper hand versus the other, when they are right across the street, doesnâÄôt seem fair at all.âÄù