Avalon in West Chester going for liquor license

Avalon in West Chester. The bar will replace the table in front of the open kitchen.

After 11 years in West Chester, John Brandt-Lee has applied for a liquor license for Avalon.

It comes down to money, as you might imagine.

"This is a pretty affluent area, but it's very difficult to keep it busy during the week," Brandt-Lee says. Installing a bar will make Avalon more of a weeknight drop-in and will allow him more flexibility with the menu (e.g. better prices).

Interesting to note that while restaurant/bar liquor licenses in the borough generally cost north of $300,000, he has received an approval for an economic-development license. These cost $50,000 but come with huge strings attached. Designed for restaurants that derive no more than 30 percent of sales from alcohol, these ED licenses are not treated as assets.

Brandt-Lee said he would allow BYOB a couple nights a week. He said his Downingtown location would remain BYOB for now.

He's building a U-shaped bar at his open kitchen - remember that he owns a woodworking company that specialiuzes in cutting boards - and will import someone to create wine, beer and cocktail list.

The licensing process can run 60 to 90 days.