Last call ex­tended in Han­ni­bal Square

Clos­ing time for some restau­rants moved to 2 a.m.

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Lisa Maria Garza

Af­ter more than 20 years of hav­ing to call it an early night, some restau­rants in Win­ter Park’s Han­ni­bal Square district will be able to keep the al­co­hol flow­ing un­til 2 a.m.

Com­mis­sion­ers have unan­i­mously ap­proved an or­di­nance for the hours ex­ten­sion for restau­rants on West New Eng­land Av­enue, which in­clude Chez Vin­cent, Han­ni­bal’s, Ar­mando’s, Mynt and Pepe’s Cantina. It will go into ef­fect af­ter ap­proval at a sec­ond read­ing.

The is­sue was tabled in Oc­to­ber amid con­cerns from some com­mis­sion­ers over mak­ing sweep­ing changes through­out the district to the or­di­nance that was put in place to

pro­tect nearby res­i­dents.

The early clos­ing hours — 11 p.m. on week­days and mid­night on week­ends — were en­acted in the mid 1990s in re­sponse to some busi­nesses in the district that weren’t “neigh­bor­hood friendly,” the city pre­vi­ously said.

But restau­rant own­ers Vin­cent and Teri Gagliano, who opened Chez Vin­cent in 1997, told com­mis­sion­ers that the or­di­nance was an un­fair prac­tice and was lim­it­ing their abil­ity to do busi­ness. Nearby Park Av­enue

restau­rants are able to serve al­co­hol un­til 2 a.m. ex­cept Sun­day, when clos­ing time is mid­night.

“We’re not ask­ing for any fa­vors, priv­i­leges — we just want to be treated like ev­ery­one else,” Vin­cent Gagliano said.

In ad­di­tion to the al­co­hol or­di­nance, com­mis­sion­ers amended the noise con­trol or­di­nance for the en­tire district, which was capped at 11 p.m. and is now an hour ear­lier, to match the rest of the city.

Chez Vin­cent and Dex­ter’s were the first restau­rants to set up shop in the district dur­ing the late ’90s amid re­vi­tal­iza­tion ef­forts by the city’s com­mu­nity re­de­vel­op­ment agency.

Dex­ter’s — known for its live mu­sic per­for­mances — re­cently moved to the Ravaudage de­vel­op­ment, pro­vid­ing the prime op­por­tu­nity to amend the noise or­di­nance, city plan­ner Jeff Briggs said.

“Even though it sounds like we’re los­ing pro­tec­tions for the res­i­den­tial area, you’re re­ally gain­ing pro­tec­tions of the 10 o’clock cut­off for live mu­sic that might be both­er­some,” he said. “It’s a bal­anc­ing [act] that staff be­lieve is go­ing is go­ing to be bet­ter off for the res­i­dents.”

But sev­eral Han­ni­bal Square res­i­dents who spoke at the meet­ing last week as­serted that the ex­tended drinking hours would cause fur­ther dis­tur­bances in the neigh­bor­hood and pointed out that it’s still un­known what will take Dex­ter’s place.

“I don’t think it’s go­ing to be OK,” LaWanda Thomp­son said. “I think the premise is the res­i­dents want a quiet neigh­bor­hood no matter who comes down there and we should stick with that.”

OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL FILE PHOTO

Han­ni­bal’s, on West New Eng­land Av­enue, will be al­lowed to re­main open till 2 a.m., un­der a new or­di­nance.

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