New Asian restaurant and sushi bar NaNa Asian Fusion decided to eat the cost of a $10,000 reserve Class B liquor license as the Village Board approved the permit Monday.
Owner Nick Zheng hopes to open sometime this month, with a full liquor bar, but with Shorewood businesses already holding Shorewood’s 14 Class B licenses allowing them to serve hard liquor, beer and wine, Zheng’s only option was to apply for a $10,000 reserve license.
"He has decided not to wait...because they would like to open fully equipped," Trustee Ellen Eckman said.
State law allots municipalities a set number of Class B licenses for issuance and some reserve Class B liquor licenses based on its population, which are required to be sold for no less than $10,000. Shorewood has eight reserve licenses.
The $10,000 cost of the license is a one-time charge and the license can be renewed annually for $600.
However, Zheng previously told Patch that village officials told him there’s a chance he could be reimbursed for the license.
Village officials are actively vetting ways of solving Shorewood's liquor license issue.
Monday, the Village Board approved increasing the number of beer-only licenses Shorewood can issue from three to five. Shorewood also has three wine-only licenses available.
Officials say some new businesses have been issued full liquor licenses, with plans to only serve beer. Increasing the beer-only licenses will allow Shorewood to possibly free up some full licenses in the future and ensure prospective businesses aren't discouraged from opening up shop in Shorewood.
"We have some indication that one of the new businesses that came in and took one of the full licenses might have done beer and wine-only, but neither were available," Eckman said.
In addition, officials have discussed starting an economic development grant program similar to what other communities facing a liquor license shortage have also done.
Zheng and co-owner Ka Bo Wong are the third generation of restaurant owners in their family. Their relatives have opened various types of Asian fusion restaurants in New York, California and Florida including a chain called Wild Ginger.