Menomale, Pizza Napoletana and Craft Beer, Facing Liquor License Fight in Brookland

2711 12th St, NE

Looks like All Souls isn’t the only one with a liquor license fight on its hands. There has been an epic back and forth on the Brookland listserv. The owners of Menomale write:

We could not be more thrilled with the out pour of support from the neighborhood! Though this has been one slowing process after the next, this has also been an invaluable opportunity to meet/chat with everyone personally.

When we had begun the process for our ABRA license we had invited Mr. Bennett over to the restaurant to view our progress. We had a wonderful talk for over an hour at which time Mr. Bennett pledged his support and invited us to introduce ourselves at an ANC Meeting. We attended several meetings even providing food. This again was awesome, and generally had a blast meeting everybody. Following the meetings Mr. Bennett did not return our calls or emails for 2 weeks. During which time we received a letter from ABRA stating that signatures had been collected against us initiating the protest process.

To be clear our license intentions have at all times been open and vocal. We clearly discussed this and even fielded questions at our first ANC meeting.

Collecting signatures this past weekend several neighbors informed us that Mr. Bennett had campused their house collecting protest signatures.

In all honesty we had felt a bit betrayed and hurt after his open pledge of support.

Thank you everyone for your time.

Your Friends,

We learned that Menomale hoped to come to 2711 12th St, NE back in Jan. 2012. Stay tuned.

28 Comment

  • I, along with MANY of my fellow Brooklanders, am so excited about this place! We stopped by to sign the support petition Saturday and got a tour – the oven is a thing of beauty. And they’re planning to have 22 beers on draft, including the local options.

    Vaughn Bennet, the ANC commish that filed the protest, wants them to not serve liquor from 2-6 pm because they’re 3 or 400 feet from an elementary school! Funny how that doesn’t seem to be a problem in the rest of the city…

    I am so sorry these guys got caught up in petty DC politics and I hope this goes as smoothly and quickly as possible for them.

    Good pizza in Brookland! I wasn’t sure if I’d ever live to see that day!

  • They forgot the golden rule of DC. Namely, you have to line hands with gold to get things…

    • This guy should be taught a lesson by way of the owner’s of Menomale selling out to a larger franchise-type restaurant (maybe a hooters?) with much deeper pockets to bribe, cohort, and peddle their way through an even bigger/gaudy development that offers little to the surrounding community. As a further smack down to this creep, we can watch as his neighbors fall one by one as they are eventually bought out by a modern condo developer with immense political clout and even deeper pockets.

      How dare these people open up a small pizza place in “his” community.

  • When does a restaurant go about getting a liquor license? If you’re opening a pizza and beer place, do you secure your liquor license before making significant investments in the building?

    What is Bennet fighting? Is it to restrict sales before 2-6pm? That actually seems reasonable, if an elementary school is a few hundred feet away.

    • I simply don’t understand the significance of Menomale’s proximity to the elementary school. Does Mr. Bennett think that the new pizza place is going to serve alcohol to children? Is Mr. Bennett concerned that this place will be throwing loud drunken parties between the hours of 2pm and 6pm? Is he concerned that people will get drunk between 2pm and 6pm, get in their cars, and run over children? While these would be seemingly valid concerns, I just have a hard time imagining that this sort of establishment would create such problems. For goodness sake… its a pizza place.

      I frequent We the Pizza and Pete’s, two pizza places I would consider to be similar to Menomale, and I have never seen anyone in either of those establishments who appeared drunk. For the most part, patron’s of this sort of pizza place are just looking to have a beer or cocktail with their pizza and then move on. This isn’t a bar and I find it extremely unlikely that anyone would treat it like a bar or night club.

      At the end of the day, it just seems like petty NIMBYism. I’ve lived in Brookland for three years, and I have to say that many of the “long-time” residents of this neighborhood have a hard time accepting change. Many long-time residents want to preserve Brookland as a snap-shot of the 1970’s when their children were small and still living at home. Alas, these long-time residents are now elderly and, no matter how they try, clinging to their fantasies about preserving Brookland as it existed when they were in their prime simply isn’t a viable option. They don’t necessarily object to pizza and beer… they are fundamentally opposed to change. Of course, saying that one doesn’t like change never sounds like a good argument, so the long-time residents seize on other issues, like school proximity, in an attempt to preserve their isolationist view of the neighborhood.

      • i look forward to being old and having the young folk not respect what i think about a neighborhood i’ve lived in for 30 years.

        • Hopefully, you won’t be clinging to a time in your neighborhood’s history when it was full of abandon buildings. And hopefully, you will understand that people’s needs change over time and what met a community’s needs 30 years ago doesn’t necessarily meet their needs today.

          Or maybe you will fight to keep those abandoned buildings, afterall, they were abandoned when you moved in, so why should you expect anything else.

          • you didn’t have to move there. but now that you have it isn’t suitable?
            you see a neighborhood full of abandoned buildings. do you know what it is that they see? they are part of your community, but you don’t seem to know much beyond their desire to have nothing change. do you know what it is that they do like? some of the “community” do have their needs met. we all need different things.
            i’m all for change, and i love bars and all. but at the very least strive toward what you want without stooping to the pathetic level of insulting older folks and senior citizens. it’s just disgusting.

        • Darn whippersnappers with their outrageous desires to have food that’s not questionable Chinese slop shoved through a bulletproof window! Beer and wine served outside of paper bags at bus stops! Rotten kids pushing for an end to used car lots, the most unChristian collection of churches this side of the Lord’s Army, and abandoned derelict buildings! Pot dispensaries pushing out good, solid crack houses!

        • Ohh look “long time resident” entitlement! Didn’t take long for that to rear its ugly head.

          I look forward to being old and enjoying my neighborhood change for the better.

        • “i look forward to being old and having the young folk not respect what i think about a neighborhood i’ve lived in for 30 years.”

          I look forward to being old too and living in a nice neighborhood. A neighborhood that continues to thrive once I’m gone. Perhaps the details are lost on you, but in case you didn’t realize: Menomale is moving into a recently rehabbed building which had been vacant and severely neglected for years and years. I ask you, is it better for the neighborhood to be full of blighted properties or locally-owned eateries? I believe a reasonable person would respond that locally-own restaurants are better than blighted properties. I’ll say the same thing when I’m 40 and I’ll say the same again when I’m 80. This isn’t about respecting or disrespecting long time residents. Indeed, to suggest that my observations are disrespectful is, itself, disrespectful because it presumes that a person’s voice on community issues is proportionately tied to the length of time they’ve resided there.

        • To:
          “i look forward to being old and having the young folk not respect what i think about a neighborhood i’ve lived in for 30 years.”

          I’ll see your 30 years and raise you 18 years.

          I was born and raised in Brookland 48 years ago and still live there (and I’m African American if that makes a difference to anyone).

          I’m looking forward to a change in Brookland and welcome the addition of Menomale as well as other good restaurants and establishments (Wings to Go just doesnt cut it!).

          As i tell folks at work, change is a constant. In this case the change is for the better.

          When is the ANC commissioner election? I think Mr. Bennet needs to be sent packing by the residents of Brookland.

    • How is that reasonable? There is a charter school located on the other side of the Franklin Ave bridge that is next door to a liquor store?

      Are you afraid that the elementary school students might wander in on their way home and grab a beer? They, of course, would have to abide by the laws that prevent them from serving minors.

      And this is a small, family pizza parlor. Not a strip club. In any case, there are restaurants, bars and liquor stores all over the city located as close or closer to schools than Menomale is to Noyes Elementary. I don’t understand why this situation should be treated differently than any other.

    • Why is this reasonable? Please explain.
      Also, the entrance to Noyes is on 10th St NE, Menomale is on 12th. I think that the school is perhaps from building to building (as the crow flies) the distance is a few hundred. However, I believe that walking the school is quite a greater distance from the restaurant.
      Also, do you have other examples of restaurants being thus restricted? Brookland Elementary is quite close to Santa Fe. Luke C. Moore is right across the street from Colonel Brooks. Neither of these have restrictions. Why should Menomale? I agree with Brooklandite that elementary school students are not going to be adversely affected by this restaurant. Please explain why they would be.

  • sounds like a front…what’s this guys real problem with the pizzeria? near a school? what a cop out. it’s not a nightclub! chill out, guy!

  • Wow this Mr. Bennett guy sounds like a real swell guy. Is he the same guy who sued the United States Chess Federation for $150,000,000?

  • Why can we not have nice things in Brookland? There are so very few restaurant options in this neighborhood and places with good wine and beer selections. This hold up is stupid. Simply stupid.

  • From the various listservs, it seems quite obvious that this is being orchestrated as some sort of vengeance because of issues with other establishments and their licenses.

    It’s been blatantly said that owners Menomale don’t deserve a license because they are assumed to be white, and have only been in the neighborhood since December. And are from California. Oh, the horror.

  • Bobby’s Q or i think they call it Optimism got a liquor license, and this is a nightclub / lounge. I have been told that by the owner himself. He apparently is a long time resident of Brookland and his bar on 12th and Kearney is one block from a school. He also only brings in MD people who park all over, are extremely loud late night, and smoke all night under the illegal awning that he erected Christmas Eve to avoid being shut down. Oh yeah they all drive drunk back home too, I watch every night. So tell me why a pizzeria who wants to serve draft beer is not allowed…. DC politics

  • Gotta love DC development politics. According to the Brookland Heartbeat, the six most immediate “200 footers” who protested the 901 Monroe Street development (currently Col. Brooks) will be getting $5,000 each for landscape improvements.

    Guess I can’t blame these folks for also trolling for their bribes…

  • Who cares if there is a protest by the area neighbors?! TRUST ME, that ABRA doesnt care! I live in Truxton Circle and have participated in two protests against liquor licenses and went to the hearings and the ABRA still rules in the store’s favor. Let me add that these were liquor and beer and wine establishments and not restuarants. We had a ton of ppl at the hearing as well as a lot of signatures and guess what, IT DIDNT MATTER! I would bet $1000 that they still award the license and maybe throw in a voluntary agreement, they dont care about the area or its development, ABRA only cares about revenue. Just saying it like it really is.

  • brookland_rez

    Who is this Mr. Bennet? Is he someone with ABRA? As a Brookland resident, I support this business and their liquor license.

  • What a shame. The sooner Menomale opens, the better. It sounds like Mr. Bennett is holding a grudge or something. As far as I can tell, he has yet to even share why he is opposing Menomale to his constituents. The longer he waits, the more suspicious this whole saga gets. Sorry for your troubles Menomale. My family and I are really looking forward to your arrival! Please let us know how we can help you overcome this pesky obstacle.

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