The Edison Restaurant, formerly known as the Brew Pub, in Cascades Park is due to open in late summer. Tallahassee Reports has learned that the individual the City of Tallahassee chose to partner with, Adam Corey, is now in trouble with the state of Florida over an audit of a restaurant he currently owns, 101, which is located downtown in Kleman Plaza.
Adam Corey is listed as a principal of the Tallahassee Hospitality Group, LLC which lists the 101 Restaurant as its address in public records.
The audit from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is addressed to the 101 Restaurant located at 215 West College Avenue and says in part, “The findings indicate that you FAILED to meet the 51% requirement. Our Bureau of Enforcement will be notified of these results.”
The full audit can seen here.
At issue is the amount of liquor that can be sold at the 101 Restaurant. The beverage license owned by 101 allows for food sales of 51% and liquor sales of 49%. The audit reveals that for a two month period – October 2014-November 2014- the percentage of liquor sales for the 101 Restaurant was 60.3%.
During this period, food and non-alcoholic sales totaled $225,603 for the 101 Restaurant. This means the beverage license would allow for just over $216,000 in liquor sales. However, the audit shows liquor sales totaled $337,348, which is approximately $120,000 more than allowed.
City Commissioners, including now Mayor Andrew Gillum, held out that Mr.Corey was the right partner for the controversial development in Cascades Park because he was a successful restaurant owner.
One of the concerns of residents living near The Edison was that the location would eventually become a bar, and with that, would come late nights and unwanted issues.
Also, many restaurant owners have told Tallahassee Reports that the only way The Edison could survive is if it sold more than the 49% of liquor allowed.
Business owners that have seen the audit told Tallahassee Reports, that due to the profitability of liquor sales, they doubt 101 Restaurant could survive by following the 51% rule.
Another issue that has surfaced with this audit is how competitors of the 101 Restaurant are effected by the violation of the beverage rules.
Businesses that desire to sell more than 49% alcohol must buy a “Quota Liquor License.” These licenses can be hard to get and are expensive. Tallahassee Reports has been told that, when available, prices range from $100,000 to $500,000.
Clyde’s and Costello’s, located downtown near the 101 Restaurant, owns a liquor license, and would have an advantage, one the owner paid for, over the 101 Restaurant, if the beverage rules were followed.
Mike Ferrara, owner of Cabo’s Taco’s, who has voiced his concern over unfair competition from The Edison, told Tallahassee Reports “I paid $150,000 for my liquor license and it is unfair for someone to blatantly ignore the rules for their own personal benefit. It hurts local businesses that are following the rules.”
Tallahassee Reports also reached out to Scott Carswell, owner of The Moon and a liquor license, who said that “this has been an issue for as long as I can remember. It is unfair to other law abiding business owners. Restaurants without a liquor license should close at midnight.”
Dave Ericks, who bought Clyde’s and Costello’s in 1976 says it is a fairness issue. He told Tallahassee Reports that “a SRX license (allowing 49% liquor) is relatively cheap and liquor licenses run between $400,000 an d$500,000. Those owners with a SRX license that say they are a restaurant and sell 60-70% liquor are taking money out of the pockets of those of us who invested money in a liquor license.”
Tallahassee Reports has reached out to the City staff for a comment and to the Department of Business Professional Regulation. We will report any comments when they are received.