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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Ordinance change paves way for wine, strong beer

  • Bjorgo wants to serve wine, craft beer at Cofé
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  •     The Crookston City Council Monday evening unanimously approved an ordinance change that paves the way for Dawn Bjorgo, owner of the Cofé coffee and sandwich bistro off University Avenue, to apply for a wine and beer license that will let her serve "strong" beer and not beer limited to a 3.2 percent alcohol content.   
        The modified ordinance received its first reading at the council's final meeting of 2013, and Monday received its second reading. The council approved it without discussing the matter further.   
        At a previous Ways & Means Committee meeting, the council agreed that it was worth changing the ordinance that limited a wine and beer license to 3.2 beer if it potential helped local businesses that wanted to expand their offerings. As part of the ordinance change, the council increased the fee for the modified license from $250 a year to $500.   
        If she obtains the modified license, Bjorgo previously told the Times that she has no interest in competing with other local drinking establishments. She will not have a license to serve hard liquor, will have no beer on tap, and won't be open as late as other bars. But she said that several appetizers on her food menu don't sell as well as they could because they go better with a glass of wine or bottle of craft/micro-brew beer than they do a cup of coffee. 
        Bjorgo said serving fine wine and good beer was part of her vision when she initially thought of opening a place like Cofé. When the council earlier in the fall cleared the way for her business to serve as a venue for company Christmas parties as long as they supplied the alcohol and served it, she said she started thinking more about asking the city to approve a modified license that would let her serve wine and strong beer.   
        She's hoping that, if she gets the license, some Crookston residents will maybe decide against a trip to places like the Toasted Frog or Sanders in Grand Forks and instead spend a fun evening in Crookston.
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