Liquor Board Post-Mortem: Of Love & Regret, beer at a wings restaurant

The Baltimore Sun

Of Love & Regret, Brian Strumke's upcoming bar in Brewer's Hill, got an endorsement from the Baltimore Liquor Board Thursday.

The board conditionally approved the bar's liquor license, pending a meeting with the Canton Community Association. Of Love & Regret is a creative and business collaboration between Stillwater founder Brian Strumke and Ted Stelzenmuller, chef and co-owner of restaurant Jack's Bistro in Canton, and is expected to open some time this Spring. 

But the bar's license wasn't the most watched portion of Thursday board meet. That would be arguments over a wings franchise restaurant in Woodmere.

The question before the board was, can Wingstop serve beer, alongside its trademark chicken?

Over ten Woodmere and Hilltop neighbors showed up to protest the beer license. Sheila Wilson said the area was already teeming with crime, and beer sales at Wingstop would only exacerbate the problem.

"We cannot allow our community to go down," she said.

Bidjaan Kassam, Wingstop's general manager, said the restaurant had taken the extra step to allow only one beer purchase per person, and to limit sales to those making dining orders. He said the beers are available at all of the franchise's 500-some locations as an added amenity for customers.

"While people are waiting for food, they can also enjoy a beer," he said. Mel Kodenski, his attorney, also pointed out that the restaurant had over 100 signatures in support.

A representative from the Baltimore Development Corporation also spoke out in support. And the liquor board inspector responsible for the restaurant's district backed up the Kassam's assertion that Wingstop was a restaurant first. She also said she hadn't seen any loitering outside in the months since she's inspected the restaurant.

Board chairman Stephan Fogleman said the board understood beer sales could conceivably have a negative effect on the community, but he was concerned denying the license could dent economic development in the area. 

 In the end, the board, which was missing commissioner Elizabeth Smith, was split, which meant the license was denied.

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