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Buckets Deli Lives to Fight Again

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 by Jacob Cottingham

Popular neighborhood sports bar Buckets Deli got what they wanted by default at the City Council meeting Thursday — the decision on their zoning case was delayed because Council Member Brewster McCracken was not present to vote.


Buckets Deli’s owners are facing charges that they violated their current zoning as a restaurant, because they have been selling more beer then food. So, while awaiting trial, they are simultaneously trying to sell more food, and apply for CS-1 (commercial liquor sales) zoning so they can legally sell a higher percentage of beer. But if the Council denies the zoning change to CS-1, they might lose both options. So, they asked the Council to give them more time.


The case against Buckets started because neighbors started calling 311 to complain about noise emanating from the establishment on 2020 E. Cesar Chavez Street. Neighborhood activist Frances Martinez read a letter to Council from a doctor saying a neighbor’s increased blood pressure was linked to the noise of the deli. Martinez also showed Council a series of photos depicting beer trucks and other cars pulled in front of residents’ driveways. Neighbors say Buckets has increased loitering and traffic in the area. They also point out that Buckets had made illegal improvements to their lot (which Buckets has already remedied with the city).


Buckets is trying to reform itself to stay open as a restaurant. It’s re-opened for lunch, and expanded the menu to include additional food items like hot wings. Buckets’ data show food sales now much closer to beer sales. Buckets’ attorney Kareem Hajjar brought Council some graphs showing 48 percent of their sales are now food.


Council Member Mike Martinez made a motion to postpone the case to April 23, which Sheryl Cole then seconded. Council Member Brewster McCracken was absent from the zoning session and Martinez explained that the Council has a policy of postponing action in matters involving a valid petition unless a full Council is present. It takes six votes to overcome a valid petition.

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