Mad City Frites
PHOTO BY MARIE CHAPMAN

My dream has been to operate a restaurant, and I have been extremely fortunate to realize my goal. I am also dedicated to the well-being and continued growth of my hometown and the city I dearly love — Madison, Wisconsin.

As a small-business owner and Madison native, I understand that I have a unique set of responsibilities. As many of you know, at a recent City Council meeting the vote on my restaurant’s liquor license was on clear display for all to see.

The City Council meeting was grueling and the comments about my restaurant, at times, could have been perceived as disrespectful. As Ald. Barbara McKinney said, I may have been caught in the crossfire with respect to the plans for State Street’s future concerning both liquor sales and retail development. Ultimately, with a vote of 19-1, I was granted my liquor license. I am beyond thrilled about this.

Opening a restaurant in my own hometown has been a great experience. The people of Madison and the City Council members have been receptive and supportive, and I want them all to know that I am appreciative of that fact. It is truly a privilege have the opportunity to operate my business at 320 State Street.

That said, I am concerned that some community members may have received the wrong impression from the press coverage. While I do understand that the Mad City Frites’ concept is different, that is exactly what I set out to bring to State Street when I first presented the idea. It was never my intention to help turn State Street into a sprawling Bourbon Street-like area teeming with bars, taverns and beer gardens. I wanted to share my passion and my ideas with the city. I have a plan and a vision, and I am proceeding according to a carefully choreographed script for success. I understand the issues and the concerns of the community, and I certainly hope that I am not perceived, for example, like the proverbial child lemonade-stand owner who runs afoul of city regulations for operating without the proper permits.

Historically, Madison has encouraged its residents and business owners to be unique. That is something that I think all of us within the community take pride in and want to see continue in the future, especially on State Street.

Regardless of how things shook out, Mayor Paul Soglin was simply doing what all of us do on a day-to-day basis — protecting our city through our love for what Madison has become. That is his job. The integrity of State Street is important to him, and it is equally important to my customers and me as well.

It would have been easier if the liquor license debate could have taken place in private, but I understand that this is a public process and I am happy with the end result. If I thought I could potentially harm the city and the people who love Madison, then I would not have fought so hard for this license. This is a huge step forward for Mad City Frites. It means a lot to our company’s team, and it has been an integral business plan element since we opened last year.

The people of Madison are the ones who have helped my business grow. I am thankful I was able to be a part of this discussion, and I am hoping to move forward and enjoy the beautiful Madison fall season, some great Badger football and of course a pile of frites — maybe even with a beer or two.

Taylor Beebe is the owner of Mad City Frites.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

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