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Birmingham Sushi moves ahead on liquor license

By Grace Lovins

Downtown Birmingham restaurant Birmingham Sushi, located at 377 Hamilton Row, is moving forward in the process to regain its liquor license after the city’s planning board met on Wednesday, November 8, and reviewed a special land use permit and final site plan and design review for the establishment.

The restaurant underwent an ownership change, according to planning director Nick Dupuis, which resulted in the restaurant losing its bistro license back in 2021 due to some challenges with the transfer. In November 2022, the city commission approved an initial bistro screening application, according to Dupuis, so the restaurant could begin the special land use permit process.

According to attorney Kelly Allen, with Adkison, Need and Allen, PLLC, the owners of the restaurant applied for a license with the city’s police department, planning department and for a conditional liquor license with the state’s liquor commission.

The conditional license, per Allen, means that once you apply with the Michigan Liquor License Commission with certain conditions, an applicant is able to get a license within 20 business days, but they still have to go through the permanent approval process. The owners also applied for an SDM, specially designated merchant license, to be able to serve beer and wine to go.

Dupuis said the restaurant is proposing no changes or remodeling, but they need to obtain a special land use permit and final site plan review in order to get their license from the Birmingham City Commission. There were only two things, Dupuis said, needing the board’s consideration: dumpster screening and an outdoor dining platform.

The back alley behind the plaza houses the back entrances to the area's businesses, the businesses' dumpsters and a strip of public parking. Board members noted that they feel the whole alley needs work, and they don’t think it would be fair to impose it on the applicant.

Board members voted unanimously to recommend approval of both the final site plan and design review and the special land use permit. Birmingham Sushi will head to the city commission for final approval.


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