Council Unanimously Approves Tiny Boxwood’s Alcohol Variance
Landscape architecture firm Thompson + Hansen, which purchased the old JMH property at 3636 Rice Blvd. in March, was seeking an alcohol permit for a new Tiny Boxwood’s café. Council needed to approve the variance to serve alcohol because they are within 300 feet of West University Elementary.
Council unanimously approved the alcohol variance with three votes. Councilmember Chuck Guffey was absent and voting rules were suspended so Councilmember George Boehme did not have to vote.
City Attorney Alan Petrov agreed with Boehme that he did not have a conflict of interest and could vote on the alcohol variance, but Boehme said he preferred not to vote.
“I see no reason for him to abstain from this,” said Mayor Bob Kelly, who was the only one opposed to Boehme not voting. “He’s an elected official.”
Council approved two-to-one Boehme’s request to not vote on the alcohol variance.
Gregg Thompson, co-owner of Thompson + Hansen and Tiny Boxwood’s on West Alabama Street, said the new Tiny Boxwood’s will be a “chef driven café that revolves around a meal.” He said they want beer and wine to be part of the dining experience.
“Our café is not a bar with any stretch of the imagination,” Thompson said. “We have no desire for our café to be a drinking destination.”
Thompson said they chose the old JMH building as the location for a new Tiny Boxwood’s because of West U’s sense of community.
West U has “a sense of place, a sense of history and a sense of community,” he said.
The proximity of the old JMH building to the neighborhood is another benefit and Thompson said he hopes people will walk to the café.
“We would love to have people walk or ride bikes to the property,” he said.
They have also looked into a shuttle service that would pick up and bring home customers.
“It’s a fun way to get people up there without having to drive,” Thompson said.
Thompson said that their slowest time of day is when school is letting out. He said parents are welcome to park in the parking lot when they pick up their kids from school.
The café, which will open later this year, will be open Tuesday through Saturday for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Sunday for brunch.
Fourteen residents addressed council during the public hearing. Twelve were in favor of the alcohol variance; two were opposed because of alcohol being in close proximity to the elementary school.
“I enjoy going and getting a glass of wine with dinner,” David Wuthrich, a Marquette Street resident said. “It would be a welcome addition to the community.”