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No Wine Seen for Stone Harbor’s Sea Salt 3.15.2006

By Al Campbell

STONE HARBOR – Proprietors of the 40-seat Sea Salt Restaurant at 8307 Third Ave. would like to serve local wine with dinner, and informed borough council March 7 of its desire.
But the restaurant is a dozen blocks from the downtown area to which sale of alcohol beverages is confined.
The intent was to serve local wines, “as a convenience to my clientele and to help sustain my small business,” said Deanna Ebner.
 “We try to work as much with local produce and products of south Jersey whenever possible. We find it a little hard,” said Ebner. “It’s great to support our vineyards offshore and offer something different.”
“We’ve looked into this in the past,” said Mayor Suzanne Walters.
The ordinance dictates that retail sale of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption is allowed on:
_ Both sides of 96th Street from the west side of Second Avenue to a point 590 feet west of the west side of Third Avenue.
_ Third Avenue both sides, from the southern side of 96th Street to the northern side of 97th Street.
Establishments in those areas cannot extend back 110 feet, or half the width of the block.
The Yacht Club of Stone Harbor is excluded from the ordinance.
Solicitor Michael Donohue noted what several other restaurants did in the past, when trying to win a nod to serve wine by the glass with dinner.
The state would issue a permit, but the borough would object, citing its policy not to allow serving of alcohol outside the designated zone, Donohue said.
Not all is lost he was quick to note. That’s because the planning board is weighing a change in that zone. If planners advocate expansion, the matter would then be up to council.
Ebner asked that the zone be reconsidered, since serving alcohol outside the present zone would “benefit businesses and the town, and help support New Jersey businesses.”
She assured council she spoke only for herself, and said it was the town’s thrust to “get more businesses like mine, and bring more restaurants in here.”
She said the borough could be “known for its restaurants as well as its retail.”
Ebner said there was a  “lack of restaurants” in the borough. There are about a dozen, not counting take-outs.
“It’s a difficult business, but I love it,” she said. Then she reminded the council “what it takes, and costs” to remain in business locally.
Having the ability to serve wine with dinners wouldn’t add that much, she said, but it would bolster business revenue.
Contact Campbell at (609) 886-8600 Ext 28 or: al.c@cmcherald.com

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