Burger Tap & Shake, ANC Reach Agreement
After a surprise appearance at last night’s Tenleytown Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting, it seems that Burger Tap & Shake owner David Weisenberg and the ANC have finally reached an accord on the restaurant’s plans for a new location at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Albemarle Street.
The path has not always been smooth for the two sides, despite both being eager to bring BTS to the neighborhood.
Weisenberg first appeared before the ANC in February, and things quickly became heated once he learned the commission intended to protest his liquor license. The protest was, in commission chair Jonathan Bender’s words, “a placeholder” while the two parties negotiated the final terms of a settlement agreement. The placeholder argument didn’t sit well with Weisenberg who fired back with some choice words.
A few minutes of venting and proverbial chest pounding later, both sides were able to simmer down and pave the way for a civil hashing out of an agreement. The points of contention centered on BTS’s original plans for an outdoor bar in the patio that runs along Albemarle Street and the hours of operation, which the ANC believed would be “a detriment to peace, order, and quiet.”
In an agreement dated March 12, BTS agreed to remove the outdoor bar, though beverage service will still be available in the outdoor patio, and cut back the hours of operation. The restaurant will now be open from 8:00 a.m. until midnight Sunday through Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The outdoor patio and restaurant kitchen will cease operations one hour before closing.
The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration approved the agreement on March 25, and the two parties signed the final version last night.
But wait – there’s more. BTS originally proposed mounting three televisions on the exterior wall that faces Albemarle Street, but the ANC wasn’t on board with that. In a March resolution, commissioners argued that: “a) installation of TVs is inconsistent with the tenor of the neighborhood… ; b) playing TVs at the intersections of Albemarle Street and Wisconsin Avenue is likely to encourage congestion… ; and c) outdoor TVs create light pollution and a beachfront atmosphere inconsistent with peace and order.” Oh, and they want those crazy kids to get off their lawns, too – just kidding.
Weisenberg, hoping to stave off further delays in permits for the outdoor space, made an impromptu appearance at the April 8 ANC meeting to sort out the TV issue. To his credit he sat patiently through nearly four hours of the regular business meeting. However, that patience seemed to run out when he and the commissioners began discussing who should have called whom to address the outstanding issue and whether TVs should or should not be outside.
At times it sounded more like a squabble between a teenage couple rather than a local government meeting. Complaints easily boiled down to: “You didn’t call me.” “Well, you didn’t call me either.”; “You only want to meet up at the last minute.”; and “None of my other friends think you should have a problem.”
As midnight neared, the commissioners and Weisenberg finally roughed out an agreement that would allow BTS to hang a single, 50 inch television at the rear of the patio with the screen facing toward Wisconsin Avenue. The agreement will hopefully clear the way for the Public Space Committee to approve BTS’s plans and the restaurant to begin renovations.
So with all that out of the way, what can Tenleytown expect at the new BTS location? The restaurant will feature its signature gourmet burgers, made in house from custom meat blends, and upscale shakes, but with a price point under $10. The patio will accommodate roughly 40 diners, while the interior will seat 50. No word yet on when BTS might open.
Oh, and if Commissioner Tom Quinn gets his way, there will be bike racks – lots and lots of bike racks.