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Whole Foods bistro gets green light to reopen

By Lisa Rose Hook

Maple Road Taproom, located within Whole Roods at 2100 E. Maple Road in Birmingham, is permitted to reopen as a bistro after it closed temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic, and no action was required by city commissioners at their meeting on Monday, May 9.

A public hearing to review provisions of the bistro's special land use ordinance had been placed on the commission agenda as the restaurant space had been observed being used as a storage and employee break room, which is not permitted with a bistro license. The commission moved to renew the Maple Road Taproom's liquor license on March 28 and set a special meeting to review the special land use permit on the May 9.

The establishment has been open since May 1 for full service. It was reported that city staff paid a visit to the location to ensure that they were indeed open for regular service, and returned to the commission with a package, including a photo of the Taproom and the hours of operation, although Whole Foods did not have specific hours listed in the original subcontract.

Staff noted that "they are open for business, we saw patrons enjoying food and the restaurant was set up as in the final site plans.” There were no building violations, however there were fire code violations which have been reportedly resolved.

The consensus was that based on recommendation from city manager Tom Markus, there was no need to take action.

Kelly Allen, the attorney representing Whole Foods, was present for the Zoom meeting, which was open to the public.

Marcus said, as a “memo” to Allen, "I think it would be appropriate that a representative from Whole Foods be present at these meetings. It seems like almost every other license holder would have a representative here because something usually gets lost in translation," he noted. He requested that she convey to management that they be physically present at the next opportunity.

Allen assured Marcus that there were indeed members of Whole Foods Management attending the Zoom meeting and that she didn't think it was necessary to have management present at the meeting, as they were included on the call list. She called it an "oversight" on her part and stated that she would make Whole Foods management aware of his recommendation.


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