Monday, March 28, 2011

Entertainment district allows Emanu to stay in Pleasant Ridge

East African restaurant Emanu has become the first business to take advantage of Pleasant Ridge's Community Entertainment District designation, deciding to purchase its building at the corner of Montgomery Road and Losantiville Avenue.

The restaurant has received one of five liquor licenses allowed under the designation, creating an additional revenue stream through the sale of beer, wine and spirits.

In a prepared release, Emanu owner Sam Yhdego said that buying the building was the logical next step.

"We're investing because our customers and neighbors have shown us so much support," he said. "We want to be here a long time."

Last April, Councilmember Laure Quinlivan met with neighborhood leaders at Emanu to discuss their vision for neighborhood revitalization.

Quinlivan helped guide the Pleasant Ridge Development Corporation (PRDC) through the state's Community Entertainment District application process, and helped change City law to help non-profit groups like PRDC apply for the designation at a significantly reduced fee.

The designation offers entrepreneurs the incentive to open a restaurant and bar without paying an expensive liquor license brokerage fee, typically between $25,000 and $35,000. Applicants still must meet state liquor license requirements, and the licenses cannot be transferred outside of the neighborhood.

"Pleasant Ridge has a great plan in place and committed organizations and residents to make it work," Quinlivan said. "It's terrific Emanu is committed and investing in the neighborhood, and I'm sure more restaurants will soon follow."

The district is expected to build District A, a collaborative arts and entertainment district the neighborhood shares with Kennedy Heights, into a regional attraction that's within a short drive of most Cincinnatians.

"Emanu's success epitomizes the community investment that District A and the Entertainment District works to multiply throughout the Pleasant Ridge/Kennedy Heights corridor along Montgomery Road," said Maria Kreppel, board chair for District A.

The business district continues to work to attract more unique and ethnic restaurants, and hopes that Emanu's announcement is a sign that Pleasant Ridge is worth investment.

Yhdego and neighborhood resident Marta Simmons will address Quinlivan's Quality of Life Committee about the positive impacts of the Community Entertainment District tomorrow at noon.

Photo of April 2010 Quinlivan visit provided