Little Gems

This Thursday is the 4th of July and there is a lot to enjoy and look forward to.

  • There will be celebrations going on all around the lake starting today July 3rd at Grand Geneva. The events start at 9 a.m., with a scavenger hunt, followed by laser tag at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Outdoor family games and entertainment starts at 5 p.m., followed by fireworks at dusk. It’s a full day of family-friendly activities that will end with a grand show lighting up the sky.
  • East Troy will have its celebration July 4-7, at the East Troy Amusement Park, kicking off Thursday with a carnival, live music, and food stands. Saturday will feature fireworks at dark and Sunday will conclude the event with a parade.
  • Geneva National will also be celebrating on the 4th with hot-off-the-grill food presentation, carnival games, live music and fireworks over Lake Como at dusk.
  • The City of Delavan will host its celebration on the 4th, also starting at 7 a.m., with a pancake breakfast at the firehouse followed by a parade at 3 p.m. There will be family activities from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
  • Lake Geneva will be celebrating the 4th with a parade and costume contest starting at 10 a.m., beginning at Eastview Elementary. Kids are encouraged to decorate their bikes, wagons or scooters with red, white and blue and to don patriotic clothing.

The local communities have a lot to offer for this holiday and, hopefully, you’ll be able to go out and enjoy what is offered.
Happy 4th of July everyone!
Has it ever been open? This seems to be the question on the table, with many opinions and assumptions, but no provable concrete answer. So why is this a big deal? The City of Lake Geneva has twenty regular class B liquor licenses available, but all are issued. The city does have another five reserve liquor licenses, but again only one is not claimed. This leaves one license available, making it a hot commodity that hinders new establishments from opening in Lake Geneva and prevents current businesses from expanding into something more.

So, when a business is not in compliance eyebrows are raised and questions are asked. At the city council meeting on Monday, June 24th, Northsider’s was on the agenda to renew their liquor license, and that was when the debate about whether they were really open started. Three city council members, Proska, Dunn, and alderperson Skates questioned if they have been open at all the last couple of years, and were uncertain about renewing the license. Without proof of the business being closed for ninety consecutive days, and no police reports or arrests of illegal activities, there was little that could be done, city attorney Dan Draper stated that it is in the best interest of the city to follow procedure to renew the license, and file a formal complaint with an investigation to follow in order to avoid a lawsuit.

Neither the owner; Dan Carvette, nor the manager, Michelle Norgard, were in attendance at the meeting. However, Dan Carvette did respond to the allegations regarding the place not being open on social media and stated that Northsider’s is open every Friday and Saturday night and that he is usually there. A GSR reporter checked this out over this last weekend and noticed no activity there early on Friday night and then on Saturday checked into it a bit closer. They found lights off, the patio empty, and the front door was locked. Northsider’s, formally Carvetti’s, has been for sale since January 2019, listed with Keefe Real Estate for an asking price of 1.2 million.  It’s that time of year – liquor license renewals for city watering holes, hotels and small businesses like Walgreen’s, for example.  There is no quota on beer and wine licenses, pretty much any qualified property can successfully apply.

However, full liquor license availability in the city has been a decade’s long local debate and not without scandal.  Given that none have been available for years, in the past, you had to purchase an existing business with a full license.  The GSR estimates a license can add up to $100,000-$250,000 to a property’s value.  So, when Sabai Sabai bought the old Tempura House, they inexplicably gave their license back to the city. And then the games began.  Rumor has it that the owners of Barrique Wine Bar were in city hall the day the license was turned over.  Smart owners that they are, they quickly applied for the coveted, and only, full liquor license left in the city area.  Being relatively new, the Lake Geneva City Clerk, Lana Kropf, proceeded with a mindset that probably was something like this: “Hey, there’s a license available, these folks applied, so let’s just take them through the process.”  Doing her job, she did just that and took Barrique through the application process.  At completion, Ms. Kropf learned just how much “politics” play into those kinds of “decisions” in Lake Geneva about liquor licenses.

Barrique’s owners paid all the application fees and were promptly and flatly denied by the city council.  Doing the right thing, Lana refunded all of Barrique’s paid fees.  So, now what?  Well, the city council decided to take a step back and re-evaluate the process.  Last fall Lana drafted a sample policy and a kind of “evaluation process” to determine who might be worthy of a liquor license.  In the meantime, Flat Iron Tap submitted an application to the city for that license.  So, what’s the holdup?  Mayor Tom Hartz?  The clerks draft policy is on the Mayor’s desk, and she’s waiting for direction from the mayor and council on how to proceed.  Some sample criteria could include parking availability, occupancy, is it an empty space, etc.

In the meantime, the Flat Iron Tap waits for the city to get their “stuff” together… good luck!

Quiet Saturday Night at Northsider’s

Sign up for Updates