The Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association (JPNA) voted 41-6 in favor of allowing Maverick Marketplace Cafe’s majority owner Dan Lyons to increase capacity from 24 patrons inside to 65 patrons and from 28 patrons outside to 55 patrons. Lyons said the request to increase capacity is to reflect the current layout of his establishment on the first floor of 154 Maverick Street.
This was Lyons’ second appearance before the JPNA and again he explained that after he took over a majority ownership of the cafe it was brought to his attention by City Building Inspector that the cafe’s capacity was based on old plans on file with the city. The old plans, dating back to when the 154 Maverick Street building first opened, showed the first floor layout depicting a small cafe and a series of small shops. However, the building owned by Melissa and John Tyler underwent a slight transformation after the original cafe, Salamander’s, failed.
The Tylers acquired a neighborhood restricted liquor license from the city and removed one shop and relocated another on the building’s first floor in order to expand Maverick Marketplace Cafe into a full service bar and restaurant. A year later, the Tylers received support from the JPNA to expand the cafe’s hours from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. when they were majority owners of the cafe.
The Tylers recently sold 80 percent of their interest in the cafe to Lyons, but Lyons said he was unaware there was a capacity cap of 24 patrons based on the old layout of the building.
The cafe has become a popular neighborhood spot and draws large crowds on the weekends with live music and other events. With a capacity of only 24 for the inside, and 28 for the outside Lyons has been forced to turn people away once the cafe reaches capacity.
“My business has suffered immensely,” said Lyons. “We have been reduced to about a third of the business we were doing and this has been a very tough issue and affected not only my professional life but personal life.”
Melissa Tyler, who through her attorney at the last month’s meeting, said she did not support increasing the cafe’s capacity. At Monday night’s meeting Tyler explained that she is currently in litigation with her business partner, Lyons, and going through a divorce with John Tyler. While she seemed to have a change of heart in regards to opposing the cafe’s capacity she did ask the JPNA to defer a vote until she works things out with Lyons over what capacity is appropriate for the business.
“I know occupancy needs to be increased,” she said. “But it was never discussed with me.”
At the meeting Melissa Tyler asserted that she was a 51 percent owner of Maverick Marketplace LLC, the building in which the cafe operates. While Lyons owns 80 percent of the cafe business, Tyler explained that the LLC that she and her husband John set up when opening Maverick Marketplace holds the liquor license and not the cafe’s LLC that Lyons has majority ownership.
With the meeting turning into soap opera of sorts JPNA board members Andrew Gelling stepped in and made the point that all JPNA was asked to do was find out whether or not the community supports increasing capacity at the location.
While Melissa Tyler wanted to work out her issues over increasing capacity with Lyons prior to a vote, the JPNA board was of the opinion that a dispute between business partners, husbands and wives are for a judge to decide and not the neighborhood group.
One JPNA member stood up and said that all the back and forth between Tyler and Lyons of who owns what shouldn’t matter and the only question at hand was whether increasing the capacity to 65 patrons inside and 55 patrons outside was appropriate.
“If we vote to increase capacity then its up to the partners and owners to decide what that capacity should be,” he said.