Frozen Custard Shop's Chairs on Ice

Local custard shop fights for outdoor chairs

Do not underestimate the passion of a custard community.

After being forced by the city to remove a set of sidewalk patio chairs, a popular frozen custard shop may soon rebound and add benches.

Fans of Scooter’s Frozen Custard – and of the sociable patio of chairs set up outside the shop recently – had been staging “Sit Outs,” organizing petitions and even creating BYOC – bring your own chair – events for the bealeagured shop.

But city officials invited the owners of Scooter's to apply for permits to place benches alongside their building at a meeting Tuesday morning, according to the Trib. Dennis Moore, owner of Scooter's, left the meeting with city reps confident that the applications would be approved.

"Everything is so rushed these days. This is a chance to sit down and relax," customer Suzanne Reznicek told the Trib. She said that Scooter’s island of chairs made a corner of a big city feel like a small town.

All it would take for owners Dennis and Mardi Johnson Moore to legally provide chairs is a sidewalk café permit, an application they did not turn it at the advice of the previous 32nd Ward alderman.

They decided against the permit when they realized its 90-day application process cut into prime custard selling season.
Besides, the Moores don’t even really want a café.

"In my perfect world," Dennis Moore said, "I would be glad to pay whatever the fees are for an outdoor cafe if I could just keep my chairs and not build an outdoor cafe."

The Moores landed themselves a Sept. 8 administrative hearing after complaints were filed to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and after receiving citations during June 30 and July 30 inspections.

"This is really a safety issue," a spokeswoman for the business affairs department said. "People need to use the sidewalk -- people in wheelchairs, people in strollers. Businesses cannot block the sidewalks."

But Tuesday morning the Moores will try to settle the issue with the city department and alderman’s office during a frozen custard summit. Dennis Moore hopes to turn in his permit application and get approval for his idea of landscaping ledges, which will create an unconventional café that is still lends itself to meeting new people.

We’re sure the Moores know all about sticky situations. We’re just hoping they can get themselves out of this one.

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