WALNUT CREEK -- Lift Lounge and Grill has a later last call.
The Planning Commission decided Thursday to grant the request of the restaurant's owners and push back the cutoff time for alcohol service from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
The commission, and later the City Council, voted for an earlier last call a few months ago after police said Lift was a danger to the public, citing 80 calls for police service there in the past two years -- a statistic disputed by Lift's owners.
But city leaders said Thursday the restaurant has demonstrated a willingness to cooperate, and has done better over the last few months.
"There's been a lot of positive progress; thank you for listening to the message of the city," Commissioner Matt Francois said to Lift's owners.
While there have been fewer incidents, a package of cocaine was found outside near Lift on Feb. 24, but there was no evidence to link it to the restaurant, police Capt. Tim Schultz said. An example of a positive police call: Officers arrested a man who was refused entrance to Lift in April because he was drunk.
"Statistically speaking, as well as anecdotally, their management style has improved significantly," Schultz said.
In February, the City Council gave Lift owners 90 days to clean up their act before the business was eligible to reapply for a later last call. Restaurant owners met other mandates by the city, including documenting the occupancy limit of the
In addition, the restaurant has lights outside in the back and security cameras inside. Owner Jasmine Butler said they hope to install cameras outdoors, too, to help police.
"If anything happens in our facility I want to be able to give them something to work off of," she said.
While all commissioners voted in favor of the later last call, some said the restaurant is supposed to be a "bona fide" eating establishment, and the need to stay open past midnight sounds more like the need of a bar.
"It doesn't sit well with me, but I defer to the police department," said Commissioner Jon Malkovich.
Commissioners required that over the next two quarters Lift owners provide the police with receipts that show the business is maintaining a 60-to-40 ratio of food sales to drinks. While the commission will receive a report on Lift's ratios, it won't trigger any more action from that board.
Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.