Brandywine cleared for outdoor dining, serving in Cedarburg
Approval comes ahead of first full weekend of business

By Laurie Arendt

June 27, 2018

 CEDARBURG — The timing couldn’t have been better for one of Cedarburg’s newest restaurants to receive a unique agreement that exemplifies an evolution that’s occurring as the city bridges the past with the present.

“This agreement is sort of a creative approach to the issue,” said City Attorney Mike Herbrand to the Common Council Monday night in regards to the outdoor alcoholic beverage license application submitted by Rhiannon and Andrew Wilson, owners of Brandywine, W61 N480 Washington Ave.

Herbrand noted that due to the age of the buildings in the downtown historic district, it can be challenging to figure out where private property ends and the public right of way starts. To try to determine this, many locations would require a new survey to be completed, which is an expensive proposition.

“We don’t exactly know,” Herbrand said. “We don’t know if (Brandywine) service will occur on their property or if it will infringe on the public right of way. What this agreement does is allow it.”

With this approval, the Wilsons will now be able to set up three tables on the south side of their building and five tables at the front. The issue encountered during their application process was that servers could potentially be taking and serving alcoholic beverages into the public right of way, which is prohibited in the city by ordinance, except under certain circumstances, such as festivals.

“If we don’t actually know where that line is, are we liable if something happens?” asked Council Member Rick Verhaalen.

Herbrand said that the agreement addressed that issue.

“By the terms, they will be insuring the right of way space and indemnifying us,” he said of the city. “They still have to follow the liquor licensing rules, too.”

The matter had been discussed at the Plan Commission level on multiple occasions, the Landmarks Commission and had been reviewed by both the chief of police and the city engineer before reaching the Common Council for approval, where it passed unanimously.

The first year of the agreement will run through Dec. 31, 2018, at which time the Wilsons can reapply for another year. Council members briefly discussed making the application valid for an entire 12-month period starting on Monday, but decided that because we are in prime outdoor dining season, it made more sense to do it on a calendar-year basis. This would also allow the applicants to address any possible concerns brought to the Common Council without having to suspend their outdoor dining during the process.

“I can’t see there being a lot of outdoor diners in January,” Herbrand said. “Only the strongest of the strong would be doing that.”

While Brandywine opened with a limited menu during Strawberry Festival, Andrew Wilson noted later in the meeting that they would be fully open this weekend for business.

<<EARLIER: Brandywine outdoor seating hits snag