By CHRISTOPHER AMATI
The Medici on 57th restaurant is thinking of pursuing a liquor license. Traditionally a BYOB establishment, the Hyde Park fixture is facing increased competition from new establishments springing up around the neighborhood.
Kirsten Esterly, general manager of the Medici, 1327 E. 57th St., said the effort is still in its early stages.
“We’re just starting to explore the possibility,” Esterly said.
She said the license has not been applied for yet and community response is still being gauged.
A statute forbidding liquor sales within 250 feet of a school or church has been the impediment to the Medici serving liquor in the past. Ray Elementary School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., is directly across the street from the restaurant.
According to the City of Chicago Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department’s website, “…Licenses for the retail sale of alcoholic liquor will not be issued for establishments within 100 feet of any church (some exceptions to this rule exist pertaining to locations near churches), school (other than an institution of higher learning), hospital, or home for the aged or indigent…the transfer of a license may only be approved if the local alderman introduces an ordinance to lift the moratorium.”
The changing market prompted the Medici’s desire for an upgrade in status. There have been a number of liquor licenses issued to establishments despite their proximity to churches, with the given assent of those churches.
Nando’s Peri Peri, 1447 E. 53rd St., which is across the street from United Church of Hyde Park, 1448 E. 53rd St., and Target, 1346 E. 53rd St., which is across the street from Nichols Park, 1355 E. 53rd St., and Murray Elementary School, 5335 S. Kenwood Ave., have agreements that allow liquor sales despite their close proximity to the institutions.
Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) is reportedly in favor of granting the Medici a liquor license and will be in attendance at the Medici’s community meeting to discuss the matter. The meeting will take place at the restaurant on Tuesday, March 14 at 6p.m.