'Biker bar' story misses point
Updated 5:16 pm, Tuesday, November 1, 2011
In the Fairfield Citizen article on a special meeting of the parking authority Oct. 12 on the proposed Cafe Society to go into the westbound Southport train station ("Southporters fear biker bar at train station," Oct. 14), I wish to take exception to the tone and irresponsible headline which played nicely to audiences but had little to do with the content of the meeting.
Ten people spoke and only one mentioned anything about a motorcycle hangout. The rest spoke in moderate language and gave good reasons why they are concerned: 1) The proposed Cafe Society would be a food service operation with hours similar to a diner -- approximately 17 hours/day seven days/week; 2) the intensity of this kind of food service operation is not suited either to the historic and carefully restored westbound Southport train station or to the adjacent residential neighborhood only yards away and 3) beer and wine service combined with the diner-like hours creates a situation which is excessive -- there are already four restaurants serving food and alcoholic beverages within easy walking distance of the westbound Southport train station.
Reporter Reilly chose to use a comment by a Southport resident who was asking what might happen if the owner of this proposed operation should fail -- not an unreasonable question since food/drink operations are notoriously difficult to run, demanding exhausting hours and many pressures -- and offered the (question), "What is to prevent it from becoming a motorcycle club afterward?" To suggest, as reporter Reilly did, that Southporters "fear" a biker bar is not remotely fair. In fact, no one spoke against this proposed operation on Oct. 12, rather they reasonably asked for consideration of moderation of the excessive hours proposed and the reconsideration of the plan to serve alcohol.
The entire tone of the article made it seem as though the people who actually live in the area -- including, at last count, 19 children on Spruce street alone -- didn't have a point. When I moved here 21 years ago, there was exactly one place in walking distance that served alcoholic beverages. This operation, should it open under the current plan, would make number five. Why can't it sell, as planned, coffee and breakfast items in the morning, some lunch fare -- using, as it must, the spill over from the lot leased from Trinity Church on the other side of the tracks -- and then offer dinner fare without the alcohol? The last thing we need is inebriated patrons walking, or far worse, driving home after a snootful at Cafe Society.