GRAND RAPIDS — Big O’s Café, a popular restaurant at 80 Ottawa Ave. NW, was first to apply for a new development-area liquor license and was the first to be recommended for one last week by the Downtown Development Authority.
Big O’s owners, Bernie and Gina Kersten and Ozzie Martinez, filed their application for the license last month as Kersten Inc. Their request now goes to the City Commission for approval. If commissioners ratify it, it will go to Lansing for review and approval by the state’s Liquor Control Commission.
The development licenses are similar to the standard Class C License issued by the state except they can’t be transferred and, at $20,000, cost much less than an escrowed license.
The city’s policy has existing restaurants in a qualified development area, such as Big O’s, as the top priority for consideration. Second are new restaurants that locate in a qualified mixed-use development.
The license is for entertainment and recreational businesses in development districts, such as a DDA or Downtown Improvement District, and tax increment financing authorities such as the one in the Monroe North Business District. Applications are made at the City Clerk’s office.