The Long Beach City Council approved a measure to grant Manhattan Beach restaurant chain as well as the opportunity to increase its business hours, once it begins to operate on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore next spring.
Despite the fact that several other businesses on 2nd Street are required to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m., City Council voted that Simmzy’s will be allowed to sell alcohol until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
“We’re here tonight with hopes of mimicking the hours of our Manhattan Beach location so that we can be on a level-playing field in Belmont Shore,” said Simmzy’s proprietor Mike Simms before the vote swung in his favor.
Simmzy’s will take the place of ShoreHouse Café, and Monday night, Simms met with Third District City Councilman Gary DeLong and a number of concerned residents at DeLong’s field office in Belmont Shore.
Tuesday, a number of the same residents that addressed Simms Monday evening presented their concerns to the City Council.
Carolyn Rhodes, who lives directly behind Legends Bar on 2nd Street, said that allowing Simmzy’s to sell alcohol late into the night will add to an already existing “public nuisance,” referring to the amount of alcohol consumption currently taking place on 2nd Street.
“There is no need for another bar and no need for another restaurant,” Rhodes told the Council members and mayor. “Expanding their liquor license adds to a problem we already can’t handle.”
Lindsey Mitchell, who also lives near Legends, said that beer bottles frequent her front lawn and on one occasion, a severely intoxicated individual deficated on her property.
Belmont Shore resident Cynthia Brannon was in disbelief that the City Council would consider adding another alcohol license on 2nd Street, where the ABC and the Council have allowed considerably more than the state agency's own guidelines for the neighborhood. The ABC Director has previously said he would not deny a license on "over-concentration alone," despite that being one of the conditions for denying a license.
“Enough is enough,” Brannon said. “I can’t believe we’re here talking about more late night drinking establishments. We have continued chaos, continuous noise, and drunks are a nightly occurrence for us.”
However, the outpouring of support for Simmzy’s was just as great as the opposition for the restaurant, as several community members voiced their excitement at having another restaurant option, especially with Bono's departure.
“Simmzy’s is an upscale, classy operation,” said Steven Downing, who formerly frequented the Manhattan Beach Simmzy’s location. “I’m looking forward to seeing them in the neighborhood, and property value will continue to improve and improve.”
Neal Jenkins, a resident of Belmont Shore since 1993, said that when he learned of Simmzy’s addition to 2nd Street, he did his research by visiting the Manhattan Beach location.
“Simmzy’s is simply not that type of establishment,” Jenkins said. “There are not drunks stumbling out of there.”
The divide seemed to be a result of some residents wanting to avoid another bar and some residents wanting to welcome another restaurant.
Jeff Miller, a 20-year Belmont Shore resident, may have best summed up the expectations of those in the community.
“I welcome a new restaurant, but give major consideration to your constituents,” Miller said to City Council. “Let’s maintain neighborhood requirements of peace and quiet.”
“And let’s make sure this is a restaurant, not a bar.”
Simms commented that he hopes to have Simmzy’s up and running by April of next year.