Easton's Planning Commission has allowed a city business owner to turn the former property into a restaurant.
By a 6-1 vote, the commission granted Sharbel Koorie the exception to refurbish 650 Northampton St., turning the building into “Daddy’s Place,” a restaurant specializing in, but not limited to, Middle Eastern cuisine.
He also plans to operate a corner store from the location and sell import and craft beers.
“We’d sell all kinds of beers but that’s what we’d specialize in,” said Koorie, adding that all sales of liquor would be carry-out and no liquor consumption would be allowed on the premises.
The sale of liquor on the property prompted commission member Dennis Lieb to vote against the application. He said that he wasn’t against the proposed use but needed more details on the way Koorie would distribute the beer. If the use were just a traditional beer outlet, he didn’t feel that type of use would be beneficial to the neighborhood.
“There are already four or five places along that corridor that already serve that purpose. We have to determine if this is a necessity,” said Lieb, who noted that a liquor store might not be the best way to .
Lieb said that he was concerned about the amount of space Koorie devoted on his plan to coolers. Lieb wondered how many of those coolers would house alcohol.
Danny Cohen, Koorie’s attorney, advised his client against providing any additional details on the business. He said that Lieb’s line of questioning exceeded the commission’s power.
Commission Member Robert Sun said Lieb’s line of questioning was entirely justified.
“If it’s just by the books, why do we have to sit here? You could just have a check list.” Sun said.
Lieb said details would help him make his decision. “I just don’t want to wind up in a position where I voted ‘yes’ and six months from now, I wish I voted ‘no,’” he said.
“The implication [of the board’s questioning] is that it’s not going to be a well-run business and there’s no reason to say that,” countered Cohen. "This family is known in Easton. They’re well-regarded in Easton. He’s not going to do something that’s going to sully the name of his family.”
Koorie said the business should open around the end of the year.
The emphasis would primarily be on the restaurant featuring a brick-oven-baking specialty cuisine. The restaurant would have more than 50 seats with slightly more than half those seats inside the establishment. The business would employ between six and seven people and run from 6 a.m. (special emphasis would be placed on breakfast) to 10 p.m.
First, though, he must receive approval from Easton’s Zoning Hearing Board on Sept. 17, a necessary second step of the special exception process.