ANC votes to allow alcohol at local eatery

ANC 3D voted unanimously to allow La Forchetta, an AU-leased restaurant, to obtain its Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration license on March 7. The restaurant will open April 1.

The owners of La Forchetta, an Italian restaurant at 3201 New Mexico Ave., have been working to open to the public and to obtain an ARBA license since October. Neighbors had voiced concerns about college students drinking at the restaurant, according to ANC 3D08 commissioner Lee Minichiello. La Forchetta resides in his ANC district.

“We have a self-interest as a community in supporting this enterprise,” Minichiello said. “We need to make sure we’re helping them to be successful.”

ANC 3D’s commissioners contracted a voluntary agreement with La Forchetta owner Hakan Ilhan on Dec. 15 to limit alcohol consumption by students. The restaurant will not allow drink promotions or offer beer by the pitcher to anyone.

Other clauses “of value to the community” in the agreement included limited trash pickup and an employee parking lot paid for by La Forchetta. Both clauses were approved and included because of community concerns.

The body within the ABRA who reviews the agreements, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, deleted the clauses regarding employee parking and trash pickup because it would not be able to enforce these.

The ABRA board members also said they would decide which changes made to the agreement in the future were “substantial” and worth notifying ANC about to ensure that the appropriate decisions are made, according to Minichiello.

In response, La Forchetta wrote a letter to the Board saying the restaurant would uphold the deleted parts of the ABRA agreement, even though they were not included.

After some argument and the possibility of a community protest, the commissioners decided to accept the modified agreement and letter at the meeting.

“I don’t believe in getting in a pissing fight,” said 3D09 commissioner Ann Haas, who motioned to accept the proposal.

La Forchetta attorney Steve J. O’Brien stressed the importance of accepting the agreement and letter in order to prevent the restaurant opening from being delayed and money lost.

“This is a very elegant and family restaurant of great value,” Ilhan said.

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