Downtown Athens Bakery Wants A Liquor License

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A downtown Athens bakery could soon be offering alcohol with their treats, although Athens City Council has requested a hearing for the liquor permit transfer that could make it possible.

Fluff Bakery and Catering, located at 8 N. Court St., has applied for a liquor permit that previously belonged to the West End Tavern. The permit has been in safekeeping since the tavern closed several years ago.

If approved, the liquor permit would belong to JJ and J on Court LLC doing business as Fluff Bakery and Catering. The LLC is owned by Jeremy Valeda and Jessica Kopelwitz. Kopelwitz co-owns Fluff with her husband Jason.

The permit would allow the business to serve beer, wine, mixed beverages and liquor until 2:30 a.m. However, Jason Kopelwitz said the business doesn’t plan to exercise that privilege.

Kopelwitz said there are no plans to make major alterations to the bakery’s business plan, other than to add alcohol to the menu. He said a bar will not be constructed on the premises and no major renovations are planned.

“We’re not going to be a bar,” he said. “We’ve worked really hard to make Fluff a fun, community-minded business. Fluff will still be Fluff.”

Depending on the time of year, Fluff is typically open until about 8 p.m. By having the ability to serve alcohol, Kopelwitz said Fluff may keep its kitchen open longer hours in order to serve dinner. He said hours may be extended to 10 p.m., but not into the late night hours associated with bars and pubs.

He said if the restaurant hours are extended, Fluff may decide to offer table service to customers instead of having them order at the counter. Kopelwitz said such a move would increase employment, which he sees as a positive.

Kopelwitz said that bakeries offering alcohol is a common business model in other regions of the country such as Portland, Ore.

During Monday’s Athens City Council meeting, Councilwoman Michele Papai requested that a hearing be held by the Ohio Division of Liquor Control regarding the liquor permit transfer.

“I have been in contact with some organizations and businesses locally and there has been some concern,” Papai said.

Kopelwitz said he hopes to attend next week’s Athens City Council meeting to answer any questions Council members may have.