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Shanghai Bistro gains liquor license

Shanghai Bistro, an American Chinese restaurant and sushi bar that arrived in Hudson last February, will receive the additional Class B liquor license that the city subsequently made available.

The City Council on Monday night unanimously picked Shanghai Bistro to receive the license over a proposed night club in the now mostly vacant River City Center on Second Street.

There was little discussion of the issue prior to the vote.

Mayor Dean Knudson noted that the city had advertised the availability of an additional reserve liquor license after the council on Feb. 17 voted to allow one license for every 600 city residents.

The previous quota, adopted in 2007, had allowed one license for every 650 city residents.

The immediate effect of the action was to allow the city to issue 18 Class B licenses, one more than was previously allowed.

The one-time fee for a new reserve license is $10,000.

Knudson said Shanghai Bistro owner Henry Chan and the man proposing to start the night club in the River City Center were the only two to apply for the liquor license.

James F. Tousignant submitted the proposal for the Aqua Pearl Night Club & Lounge that, according to an accompanying hand-drawn floor plan of the establishment, would occupy 31,000 square feet of the former Econofoods grocery store space.

The plan showed the night club as well as a Saint Peter's Cathedral & Banquet Hall, a coffee shop and an art and frame shop.

The grocery store has been empty for several years.

The Shanghai Bistro, located in a former Country Kitchen building on Gateway Circle, has earned good reviews from Hudson diners since its opening.

Chan said in his application that being able to serve alcohol would increase his business and create more jobs.

Knudson pointed out to City Council members that they could approve one or neither of the liquor license applications.

The Municipal Code instructs council members to consider the following criteria in evaluating liquor license applications:

1. The number of employees and creation of new jobs proposed by the applicant;

2. The expansion of the tax base resulting from any new construction;

3. The adequacy of parking and ability of city departments to provide services to any new establishment;

4. Any adverse impact that the proposed premises may have upon adjoining neighborhoods or other businesses;

5. The number of alcohol beverage licensed establishments already operating in the area;

6. The proximity of the proposed alcohol beverage licensed business to other alcohol beverage licensed establishments; and

7. The potential future need for alcohol beverage licenses to be available in other areas of the city.

After Knudson reported that the council's Finance Committee had recommended granting the available license to Shanghai Bistro, a motion to do so was quickly approved without any comment from alderpersons.

Wine license

The council also approved the last wine license available in the city under its quota system.

The license was granted to Ryan and Kay Timm, who will be opening the Toscano restaurant and wine bar at 520 Second St.

The restaurant will serve salads, Panini sandwiches and flat-bread pizza, in addition to the wine, according to the Timms' application.

The Timms also plan to sell cheese, olive oil, pasta, condiments and gifts, according to their application.

The city has a limit of 10 Class C wine licenses that can be issued to restaurants only.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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