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Commonwealth bistro application moves ahead

By Kevin Elliott

The Birmingham City Commission on Monday, April 12, approved one bistro license application, by existing business Commonwealth Cafe, to move forward, and paused on two new applications.

Under the city of Birmingham’s bistro license application process, the city may approve two new bistro licenses each year and up to two to establishments which have been open in the city for at least five years. Applications are required by October 1 each year, with a follow up application open April 1 if the two new bistros are not filled.

In October of 2020, the city commission forwarded initial screening applications to the planning board for a full review. Those applications included Bloom Birmingham, 239 N. Old Woodward; Sushi Japan, 176 S. Old Woodward; Vinewood Kitchen & Cocktails, 724 N. Old Woodward; and one existing applicant, Whistle Stop Diner, 501 S. Eton.

Birmingham Planning Director Jana Ecker said all three new applicants have submitted materials to the planning board, with just Vinewood being complete, as of Wednesday, April 14.

Three new bistro applications were received by the city for the spring application period. Those bistro applications received included Commonwealth Cafe,; Maple & One, proposed by the owners of The Mad Hatter for the adjacent storefront; and The French Lady, which opened on N. Old Woodward last fall.

“As three new bistro applications are currently in the planning review process, the city commission may not wish to consider any new bistro applications at this time, pending decisions on the three applications,” Ecker said.

However, she said the commission may want to consider the application for Commonwealth, as other than Whistle Stop Diner, no other existing establishments have submitted applications in more than five years.

The commission voted unanimously to move the Commonwealth application forward to the planning board for full review. A date has not been set.


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