Avalon in West Chester going for liquor license

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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.

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