I missed this the first time around because somehow Gmail thought it was spam. Saint Ex is appealing to their neighbors regarding their liquor classification and their business model in general. Excerpt of the letter here, full letter after the jump.

Our successful business model, sometimes referred to as a “gastropub” or a “brasserie,” has posed a regulatory challenge for the ABRA. The success of operations that blend restaurant and bar is in high demand by many of the young, single professional DC residents that have recently moved to the city.  But, this demand has also caused many groups of vocal and active neighbors to demand that ABRA strictly define these businesses into either restaurants or taverns and enforce regulations accordingly.  This increased enforcement of kitchen closing times and other restaurant restrictions to slow the growth of the restaurant-bar hybrid is only encouraging operations like Café Saint-Ex to seek Tavern licenses in order to maintain control over their businesses.

Café Saint-Ex wishes to operate legally, but does not know of a successful way to extend our kitchen hours without compromising our dedication to food quality, or compromising our fiscal responsibility to our investors.  The only other option is converting to a Tavern, but this term has become a lightning rod for conflict in the neighborhood.

Get in touch with your local ANC and voice your opinion. I certainly don’t want to see St. Ex go anywhere, in between meeting my boyfriend there, enjoying their patio, and having fun, crazy dance nights there, it’s become important to me. And it is definitely an important part of the neighborhood’s character.

Full letter after the jump.

Dear Neighbors,

In six years of operations our first “serious” Alcohol Beverage Control infraction happened on Tuesday February 6th 2008 at 12:30 am when an inspector cited our company for having our kitchen closed.

In those six years, Café Saint-Ex has paid over 1.5 million dollars in sales tax, had in constant employment an average of 50 DC residents, vigorously worked for the betterment of our community through extensive donations and volunteer service and remained consistently, in the words of the chairman of the ABC board, “one of the best operators in the city.”

Yet despite this, the manner in which Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA.) chose to inform Café Saint-Ex of its decision to enforce a regulation that no ABRA representative had mentioned in 6 years of inspections, was to issue a fine of $2000 and a one-day license suspension.

For those unfamiliar with our business, we are a successful neighborhood, dining destination that has a lively nighttime business. Saint-Ex is so successful, that if we had served the scheduled suspension, it would have jeopardized a day of work for up to 18 district residents and could have potentially cost our city up to $900 in sales tax.

Our successful business model, sometimes referred to as a “gastropub” or a “brasserie,” has posed a regulatory challenge for the ABRA. The success of operations that blend restaurant and bar is in high demand by many of the young, single professional DC residents that have recently moved to the city.  But, this demand has also caused many groups of vocal and active neighbors to demand that ABRA strictly define these businesses into either restaurants or taverns and enforce regulations accordingly.  This increased enforcement of kitchen closing times and other restaurant restrictions to slow the growth of the restaurant-bar hybrid is only encouraging operations like Café Saint-Ex to seek Tavern licenses in order to maintain control over their businesses.

Café Saint-Ex wishes to operate legally, but does not know of a successful way to extend our kitchen hours without compromising our dedication to food quality, or compromising our fiscal responsibility to our investors.  The only other option is converting to a Tavern, but this term has become a lightning rod for conflict in the neighborhood.

We have no plans on changing our successful business model and we had hoped neighborhood representatives would recognize the positive impact Café Saint-Ex has had be in the past six years and support our change.  However, both, the local Area Neighborhood Commission – ANC1b – and the adjoining Dupont Circle ANC – ANC2b – on the basis of, “peace, order and quiet” have protested our Tavern license.  Café Saint-Ex is confused with their decision and with the negative comments made at both meetings.  We hope to learn how our customers feel, and understand the pervasiveness of the feeling that Café Saint-Ex has become a problem for the “peace, order and quiet” in the neighborhood.  Please sign our sheet and let us know.  We encourage you to look to see if you live in the two ANC’s and let us know if you agree with their decision and descriptions of Café Saint-Ex.

Thank You,

The Management and Staff of Café Saint-Ex