A Northwest Rochester restaurant has three more weeks before the city could force it to limit its hours.
The Rochester City Council split 4-3 in deciding to delay action on a proposed two-year probation for Los Jarritos Cafe, which operates in the Miracle Mile Shopping Center.
“I think it’s an abundance of caution to make sure we don’t end up taking action we might have not wanted to in retrospect,” council member Patrick Keane said.
He was joined by Council President Brooke Carlson and council members Molly Dennis and Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick.
The business at 34 17th Ave. NW has been the subject of several police calls, two reportedly involving shots fired in the parking lot, as well as allegations of serving alcohol to underage customers.
Christiaan Cartwright, the city’s license examiner, said the proposed probation is an attempt to work with Los Jarritos' owners to deal with concerns outlined in police reports filed between Nov. 1 and July 28.
What happened: The Rochester City Council started a review of a proposal to place Los Jarritos Cafe on probation following several incidents at and outside the restaurant in the Miracle Mile Shopping Center.
Why does this matter: The Rochester City Clerk’s Office and Police Department have reported a variety of incidents in recent months, including fights and alleged underage drinking.
What's next: The council will continue the public hearing on Sept. 20.
“We recognize this is a business and a livelihood,” he said, noting the probation would include an improvement plan and limit operations to 10 p.m. each night.
If approved by the council, failure to comply with the requirements could result in the loss of the business’ liquor license.
Owner Kennedy Sanchez asked the council to delay a decision until his attorney could be present for the public hearing.
Cartwright said a delay to the Sept. 20 meeting is acceptable, but some council members raised concerns about waiting.
“I think waiting three weeks would be, in my opinion, not a responsible thing to do,” said council member Mark Bransford who lives near Miracle Mile and represents the ward that includes the restaurant.
He said he has concerns about the potential for additional fights or violent incidents at the restaurant.
Sanchez offered to reduce hours and cancel special events during the three-week period.
“I’ll put myself on probation,” he said of the next three weeks.
Among police calls to the restaurant was a July 25 incident that involved a pair of gunshots during a fight at approximately 1:50 a.m.
Rochester police estimated about 50 people were scattering from the scene when officers arrived, but no one was found injured by the gunfire and no property damage was found. Police said some people were injured in the fight and no arrests were made.
Dennis cited concern that the proposed action was not consistent with responses to other violent incidents and police calls at downtown businesses.
“We’ve made some mistakes in the past and not held other companies responsible,” she said, saying she wants to be able to hear Sanchez’s full defense.
Kirkpatrick also questioned why the action was being suggested, citing a desire to give the business a chance to adjust practices.
“I believe they can do what needs to be done,” she said.
If not, Cartwright said the recommendation could change when the council returns to the discussion on Sept. 20. He said further violations could result in additional evidence against the business, and the council will have the option to act on it.
“The council always has the power and ability to go above or below my recommendation,” he said.