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Mozart's, Global Gallery

Businesses plan to ask area voters for liquor privileges

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Global Gallery hired a firm to gather signatures.

Anand Saha sent out his children and employees.

The different approaches produced the same results: Voters in two of Clintonville's wards will be presented with local liquor options in the May 7 primary election.

Connie De Jong, executive director of Global Gallery, 3535 N. High St., hastened last week to assure voters in Ward 10-A that the store and coffee shop has no plans to evolve into a bar.

Likewise, Saha, who plans to open a Mozart's Cafe in the former Cord Camera building at 4784 N. High St., wants residents of currently dry Ward 22-C to know liquor sales will be a minor adjunct to his restaurant and pastry shop.

"I'm not a bar," said the owner of the existing Mozart's Bakery and Piano Cafe at 2885 N. High St. "I don't want to be a bar. I don't drink, so I don't encourage anyone to drink. You're not coming to Mozart's to get drunk ... because the owner will kick your butt out of there.

"How much more direct can I get?"

"For us, it's really about expansion and improvement of our mission," De Jong said. "We're not becoming a bar. We're not changing who we are as an organization."

If anything, the executive director for the Clintonville location of Global Gallery said, offering fair-trade wines and locally crafted beers is a natural fit for the organization.

"In part, fair trade is our mission and purpose, so we're always looking to expand the line of products that we're carrying," De Jong said.

"The other part is we also partner very closely with the (Clintonville) Farmers Market," she said. "We want people to enjoy local foods by pairing them with ethical wines and beers. Particularly, when we added the Wednesday market (last summer), it would have been fun to have added wine demonstrations, but we can't even get a short-term wine license for that. We also do fundraisers for different kinds of organizations that we host at our store.

"Right now, the only way we can do wine at the store is if it's a private party, but we really want to become inclusive."

Global Gallery decided to opt for a professional firm, Young Independent Consultants Inc., that specializes in liquor options, referendums and initiative campaigns.

In part, De Jong said the traditionally high voter turnout in Clintonville required a daunting number of signatures in order to qualify for the primary ballot.

"We made a previous attempt, and it's clearly not our skill set," De Jong said.

Saha said he couldn't afford the services of a signature-gathering operation.

"I had to rely completely on my employees and the neighborhood to make this happen," Saha said, adding he sent his son out to put fliers on doors near the proposed restaurant.

"I actually, to be really honest, had some doubts," he said. "It was ridiculously cold. It was snowing every single day. No one wants to open their door and have a draft come in, but it did happen. I'm very happy to have the neighborhood support us."

The local liquor options for Global Gallery and Mozart's would allow weekday sales and Sunday sales of beer and wine, the latter restricted to 10 a.m. to midnight.

Ward 20-A is bounded on the north by Hollenback Avenue, the east by North High Street, the south by West North Broadway and the west by the Olentangy River.

The boundaries for Ward 22-C are Morse Road to the north and North High Street to the west. The eastern border is a jagged line from Beech Hill Avenue south to a few blocks west on East Beechwold Boulevard to south on Sharon Avenue to west on Wetmore Road to south on Sellers Avenue and finally to west on East Beaumont Avenue.

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