The owners of the Union Trust (717 Chestnut) steakhouse have lashed out at a local sommelier (that's wine expert to you and me) who's trying to block them from getting a liquor license.
Marnie Old, who lives on the same block as the steakhouse, filed a protest letter with the state Liquor Control Board last summer. Other letters of protest were written by restaurateur Stephen Starr, who later rescinded his objections, and Steven Petrecca, a chef at Starr's Jones, less than 100 yards from Union Trust. Petrecca, who also lives on the block, toured the property, met with Trust owners Terry White and Ed Doherty and rescinded his letter.
Old "makes her living selling the most dangerous legal drug on the planet," White said yesterday. "She just helped Stephen open the loudest restaurant in Philadelphia in someone else's neighborhood," he says, referring to Parc, Starr's newest spot on Rittenhouse Square. "It's a big middle finger f--- you to the city. 'I'll put a restaurant anywhere I want, just not on my block,' " White said. Reached yesterday, Old, whose company is called Old Wines, declined to discuss her protest. Her objections will lead to a PLCB hearing at a yet-to-be-determined date, which will undoubtedly delay White and Doherty's planned September opening.
According to correspondence, Old wants the restaurant to sign a document stating that it will never have outdoor seating or function as a nightclub. Other demands include implementing noise-mitigation measures, expediting valet parking to minimize sidewalk congestion and storing trash inside the premises until immediately before collection.
White says that he never planned outside dining but that he won't be told how to run his business, and looks forward to their day in court.