An alcohol ban present since the early 1990s may be overturned in order to allow a branch of the upscale Japanese eatery, Yusho, to serve alcohol when it opens in the University-owned building formerly occupied by Third World Café. The restaurant is scheduled to move into the building in late 2013.
Former Charlie Trotter’s chef and Yusho owner Matthias Merges was not aware that the University-owned property was a designated “dry spot” when he agreed to the location at East 53rd Street and South Woodlawn Avenue last year. However, he is still set on the location.
Due to redrawn precincts, the building is no longer in the 38th precinct that was originally voted dry. However, it still falls under the original alcohol ban. Because of this, the University circulated a petition around the first precinct last month, where the building is located under the current precinct maps, asking its residents to have the ban overturned.
According to Calmetta Coleman, spokesperson for the Office of Civic Engagement, the University has received signatures from over two-thirds of the residents in the precinct, the number required to overturn the designation. The process is currently in a 30-day waiting period during which residents can challenge the reversal of the ban.
Though Merges said sake and wine are integral to the Yusho dining experience, he was optimistic about the University’s efforts.
“We love the space and the neighborhood,” Merges said. “We explored our options and contemplated not doing it. But we feel very confident that with the due diligence of the alderman and the public, we will be able to reverse the ban.”