Citing concerns about alcohol-related problems Downtown, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin vetoed the sale of beer and wine at a State Street sushi restaurant that had previously lost its liquor license.
Soglin vetoed the license for Koi Sushi, 502 State St., after the city opted in June not to renew its previous license because restaurant owners had done illegal remodeling work to expand the restaurant’s seating area into an adjacent storefront.
But last week, the City Council approved on a voice vote a new license for the business after city officials confirmed the restaurant had been restored to its original condition.
“If we are concerned about public safety, if we are concerned about mounting law enforcement costs, issuing a license that brings no public value, but great public liability, does not make sense,” Soglin said in his veto message, issued Friday.
The license the council granted last week has nearly identical conditions to the one the restaurant was issued last September — which Soglin did not veto.
It bars the business from selling alcohol past 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and past 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, while requiring food to be served at all times and to make up at least 50 percent of sales.
“The cost of patrols in the hours around bar time is exorbitant,” Soglin said. “Adding more liquor outlets to the area, even if they close early, makes no sense.”
Earlier this year, Soglin vetoed a liquor license for a Taco Bell Cantina on State Street — a move the City Council upheld. But the veto spurred the franchise company that owns the restaurant to file a lawsuit against the city; the suit is pending.
Votes from 14 of 20 City Council members are needed to overturn a veto.
Koi Sushi is located in the space that formerly held American Apparel.