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Whiteway Delicatessen posted zoning signs in its windows. It seeks an exception and waiver to sell liquor, beer and wine.
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jan. 5, 201712:00 PM EST

Whiteway Deli wants to add dinner and drinks


New owner Scott McAlister wants to add dinner service, along with the sale and service of alcohol, to Whiteway Delicatessen in Riverside, according to a lawyer working with him.

McAlister, already an owner in three King Street bars and lounges, has applied to the city for a zoning exception to sell liquor, beer and wine and a waiver to reduce the required minimum distance between the 1239 King St. location and a church and school from 500 to 400 feet.

Rogers Towers lawyer Wyman Duggan, the agent for the zoning applications, said the 5,200-square-foot restaurant space has 140 seats. Whiteway is open for breakfast and lunch.

It’s not clear how the menu would change for dinner or whether the name would be altered.

McAlister could not be reached through calls or by message on his Facebook page or those of his other establishments.

Duggan said the requests are scheduled Jan. 19 at the Planning Commission.

McAlister bought the property in September through 1239 King Street LLC. The 8,200-square-foot building comprises three businesses — Whiteway Deli, Sweet Theory Baking Co. and Uniforms Unique.

Two zoning signs are posted at Whiteway Deli.

A previous set of zoning exception and waiver requests described the project as up to three establishments, but Duggan said Tuesday after a meeting with city planners, that just the Whiteway Deli space would be involved.

A site drawing filed with the zoning documents calls it “Whiteway” and shows a kitchen, counter and seating in the deli space.

It also shows a bar and seating in each of two adjacent spaces, which Duggan said are not part of the current plan.

The structure was built in 1927 and sits on 0.28 acre, property records show.

McAlister bought the property for $1.025 million Sept. 6 from Samir and Hanan Salem, who operated Whiteway Deli.

The restaurant traces its roots to 1927 at a nearby King Street location. His father bought the business in 1962 and Samir Salem moved it to 1239 King St. in 2008. He bought the building in 1999.

At the time of the September acquisition, McAlister was quoted as saying he wasn’t changing anything.

The menu continues and the interior remains largely the same, although with a newly installed large wood counter and stools just inside the front entrance.

The applications dated Dec. 13 said no off-street parking is required to be provided because the building is a contributing structure.

A contributing structure in the Riverside/Avondale Overlay area is one that was at least 50 years old as of 1998 and contributes to the historic or architectural character of the district.

The exception application says the building has an off-street unpaved parking area in the rear of the property.

It also notes the King Street corridor has commercial uses and zoning in place, including restaurants and bars with alcohol sales.

“The proposed development will have fewer impacts than other similar developments in the corridor because some accessory off-street parking will be provided,” the application says.

Duggan said the deli space already could sell beer and wine, but McAlister wants a full liquor license.

McAlister owns The Rogue whiskey bar and The Loft nightclub at 925 and 927 King St. and The Garage pub just off King Street at 2692 Post St. Those open in the afternoon or evening and operate past midnight.

He also has registered with the state to operate Bearded Buffalo Tap Room LLC at 1012 King St.

District City Council member Jim Love said he thinks the parking situation will be difficult.

“It already is a restaurant and they already have the right to sell beer and wine and they just needed these waivers to allow it,” he said.

“I am just a little concerned over the availability of parking for his business, but it seems like he is within his right to do what he is doing,” he said.

Love wondered how McAlister will change the menu to add dinner, but acknowledged it would be thought out.

“He can do it. He’s in the restaurant business,” he said.

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