Gilmore's Getting a Liquor License?

By DAN KRISTIE, Daily Local News Staff Writer

WEST CHESTER — Another liquor license might be coming to the borough.

Borough Council on Tuesday night granted Peter Gilmore, owner and head chef of Gilmore’s Restaurant, permission to apply to the state for an economic development liquor license.

If he receives the license, the number of liquor licensees in the borough will increase to 40.

And Gilmore’s, a high-end East Gay Street establishment that serves contemporary French cuisine, will cease to be a BYOB.

Council members voted unanimously in favor of the license. They said that while an excess of liquor licenses has contributed to the alcohol-related nuisances prevalent in West Chester, Gilmore’s is highly unlikely to add to these nuisances.

“I don’t see supporting the license as inconsistent with getting the liquor problem under control,” said Councilman Jim Jones. He said that Gilmore’s attracts an older, moneyed crowd — not the binge-drinking young people who cause problems on weekend nights.

Council President Holly Brown said that if Gilmore’s switched from a BYOB to an alcohol-serving establishment, its patrons would likely drink no more than they are drinking now.

“We will not change the amount of alcohol served,” Brown said. “We will just change the source.”

An economic development liquor license — the type Gilmore intends to apply for — is different from a normal liquor license. Economic development licenses are intended for restaurants, and they are intended to support local economies.

While normal licenses can be brought and sold, economic development licenses cannot. If Gilmore closed his restaurant, changed its name, or moved it to a different building, the license would disappear.

And, in order to keep the license, Gilmore must demonstrate that his alcohol sales do not exceed 30 percent of his total sales.

Gilmore said he qualifies for an economic development liquor license because his restaurant has recently been struggling.

“Without this license, I don’t think I could continue to do business in West Chester,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore added that his restaurant draws economically well-off individuals to West Chester and contributes to the borough’s reputation as a destination town.

Gilmore, a former chef at Le Bec-Fin, a well-known French restaurant in Philadelphia, opened Gilmore’s nearly nine years ago. It is usually open only at night, and it has a relatively small dining room.

Gilmore said that if he is granted the liquor license, he will open a service bar at which servers can make drinks. But, he said, he will not open a sit-down bar.

And, he said, he will not change the character of Gilmore’s.

“This is a fine dining restaurant, and it’s going to stay that way,” he said.

To contact staff writer Dan Kristie, send an e-mail to [email protected].

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