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Bike path restaurant

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Bike path restaurant

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:15 am

I wasn't sure if this should go here or in the eats section, but here it goes. Local restauranteur Chris Berge is proposing a wayside style restaurant along the southwest bike/pedestrian path that won't be accessible by motor vehicles. While only open from April until October, I wonder if it could succeed given the fact that the weather in Madison is sometimes inclement even during those months.

Chris Berge, co-owner of Restaurant Magnus, the Weary Traveler and Natt Spil and cofounder of Barriques and the Blue Marlin, plans to build a bike-path-bound cafe on the city's Near West Side that would be inaccessible by car, serve local food, produce zero garbage and cater to the city's burgeoning bicycle population.

Described as "a hobbit hole meets the American Players Theatre meets a 1950s National Park recreational area," the "Badger Den" would be a "bike-in" bar and grill open from April through October.

Food would be served on plastic or ceramic dishes at seating made from tree trunks. Coffee and juice would be dispensed in purchasable mugs that would fit in a bike holder. And to capture the zeitgeist of the Wisconsin north woods, beer and wine would also be on the menu.
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby pattymcnutt » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:43 am

Don't new buildings have to be handicap accessible nowadays? I wonder how a place that is only accessible from a bike path would meet that requirement. Or would there be an exemption of some kind?
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby Galoot » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:01 am

The building can easily be made handicapped accessible. There is nothing in the law that requires that the roads *to* the building be handicapped accessible, is there?

I love this idea. And as several people pointed out in the comments over on madison.com, you regularly see people in wheelchairs and motorized carts out on that section of bike path.

What about that guy who has the food "cart" out on Lake Waubesa? That is one heckuva lot less "handicapped accessible" than this bike path cafe would be.

I just biked the 18 mile Madison loop, plus a loop around Monona, and was wishing that there was a place like this--a bike path pub, where I could stop and fuel up on some good liquid carbs. The Farm Tavern was the closest thing, and fit the bill nicely.
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:01 am

pattymcnutt wrote:Don't new buildings have to be handicap accessible nowadays? I wonder how a place that is only accessible from a bike path would meet that requirement. Or would there be an exemption of some kind?

Are motorized wheelchairs allowed on bike paths?

edit: From the above post, it appears so.
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:03 am

Sounds awesome, thanks for linking. I travel on the SW path daily, so this would be great. However, it doesn't make much sense to purposefully exclude automobiles. I can understand not wanting to provide costly and space-consuming parking, which might accomplish the same end.

Patty - thanks for pointing that out! If it's not the ADA that stops this, maybe it will be zoning, landmarks, or an alcohol licensing issue.
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby rabble » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:10 am

I also expect it to be temporary. It'll probably do good business at first and taper off like a lot of things do. But it will probably also serve as an indicator of what else might work. A marketing experiment, if you will. And who knows, it just might work.

I'll certainly make an effort to get out there and check it out even though it's way outside my usual biking range. I usually ride my bike on errands and when I hop on just to go riding I don't have much time. I could check it out on my lunch hour I suppose but I'd rather do it when I can sit back with a beer and a burger.

I could take a furlough day and spend it crying in the cafe, maybe.
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby Goober McTuber » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:17 am

ArturoBandini wrote:If it's not the ADA that stops this, maybe it will be zoning, landmarks, or an alcohol licensing issue.


How much TIF money is he asking for?
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby jjoyce » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:36 am

ArturoBandini wrote:If it's not the ADA that stops this, maybe it will be zoning, landmarks, or an alcohol licensing issue.


So it appears you're opposed to this idea, proposed by a successful local businessman who has multiple restaurants employing dozens of people and stimulating the local economy by being committed to using local providers whenever possible. Is that accurate? You wish to see this fail? Why? Because you don't like seeing innovation, risk taking, new thinking in our city? Isn't that an anti-business stance?

I say much better this than another bullshit steak place that goes out of business after three years.

The knee-jerk, anti-bike crowd is growing ever more red in the face with stuff like this, which on its face sounds like a really cool idea. At this point, it's clear it's just an idea and needs some work and all parties appear up front about that. Sounds a lot like the Shake Shack in New York's Madison Square Park, which is fully accessible to anyone who isn't hoping to be able to park just outside (as is the case with many restaurants in actual cities).

Chris Berge, for whatever reason, gets a bad rap from some in this town and it might have something to do with his talking about how he's encountered places like this while skiiing in Scandanavia and biking in Germany. I think there's a lot of jealousy going on there (I certainly wish I had been on a skiing trip to Scandinavia). I think the guy has been one of the major engines behind the local food movement, which is a development that's very hard to oppose.
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby O.J. » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:53 am

Did you even read Arturo's post, Jason? Do the phrases "sounds awesome" and "this would be great" appear to come from an opponent? Speaking of knee-jerk...
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:54 am

jjoyce wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:If it's not the ADA that stops this, maybe it will be zoning, landmarks, or an alcohol licensing issue.


So it appears you're opposed to this idea, proposed by a successful local businessman who has multiple restaurants employing dozens of people and stimulating the local economy by being committed to using local providers whenever possible. Is that accurate? You wish to see this fail? Why? Because you don't like seeing innovation, risk taking, new thinking in our city? Isn't that an anti-business stance?

I like the idea a lot. I don't like the fact that anytime someone has such an idea, it's a practical necessity to run it by the mayor and the city before even finishing the business plan. It should be possible to construct and build a business (and then let it fail or succeed on its own terms) independent of the review of the city/state/federal bureaucracy, however benign their intentions.

All of this is independent of the other perceived benefits of the business - bike-friendly, pro-local, low-waste. These are all potentially great ideas that should be explored. However, this business shouldn't be treated any differently by the authorities because this plan includes popular ideas that could prove politically expedient to government officials. This argument applies, of course, to all businesses, not just the one being discussed here.
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby jjoyce » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:29 am

O.J. wrote:Did you even read Arturo's post, Jason? Do the phrases "sounds awesome" and "this would be great" appear to come from an opponent? Speaking of knee-jerk...


I guess I didn't read it, only the part that was quoted in a subsequent post.

Sorry.

The rest of my post addresses others who have/will oppose this, however.
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:58 am

Artie, you should give Houston, Texas a try. No zoning, a libertarian's dream.
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:19 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:Artie, you should give Houston, Texas a try. No zoning, a libertarian's dream.

I didn't know that, thanks for mentioning it. I googled "Houston no zoning" the second link was this article: http://www.planetizen.com/node/109, which describes Houston's other land use, development density, and parking/roadway regulations, which are blamed for Houston's gargantuan sprawl. The first commenter on that article favors living in Houston over Dallas because,
In Houston, you could find just about anything you wanted just about anywhere you tried to find it. Normal consumptive goods, not contraband. That's a benefit of Houston's no zoning. You can live near your place of work with suitable housing and shopping nearby, regardless of which diverse area of town you choose.


This was the first link: http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/hotproperty/archives/2007/10/how_houston_gets_along_without_zoning.html which tells a pretty similar story, with lots of good comments that support both pro- and con-zoning arguments!
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:40 pm

Now I've done it; I hijacked my own thread. Back to the topic. The proposed restaurant will still need vehicular access (at least to the back door) for deliveries, otherwise their beer barrels will have to be rolled down the bike path and that leads to too much foam when tapped.
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Re: Bike path restaurant

Postby pattymcnutt » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:45 pm

Galoot wrote:The building can easily be made handicapped accessible. There is nothing in the law that requires that the roads *to* the building be handicapped accessible, is there?

I love this idea. And as several people pointed out in the comments over on madison.com, you regularly see people in wheelchairs and motorized carts out on that section of bike path.

What about that guy who has the food "cart" out on Lake Waubesa? That is one heckuva lot less "handicapped accessible" than this bike path cafe would be.


Hmm good point. I'm not criticizing the idea at all, I was just thinking about potential opposition to a place with limited access. Although I suppose there would have to be SOME car access for food/equipment deliveries and emergency vehicles, so maybe they would have a spot or 2 for handicapped parking only.
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