Everyday Cook closes
Time ran out for Mary Campbell
"We're closed," Mary Campbell says flatly. "There's nothing else to say."
The long, complicated odyssey of Everyday Cook came to an end in late August when Campbell announced in her blog that the store upstairs in Kerrytown was closing. Campbell, who also owns Everyday Wines on Kerrytown's first floor, opened what was originally a cookware store in late 2005. She added a commercial kitchen and started offering cooking classes in the winter of 2007-and then stepped halfway into the restaurant world by adding lunch service. While her food was well received, Campbell figured she needed a liquor license to really make a go of it-but she apparently couldn't afford to buy one on the open market, where they cost about $75,000.
Last year it seemed that she might find a way out of that dilemma, when the city invited restaurants to apply for a new license with a basic cost of just $600. She outlobbied much older places to make Everyday Cook the presumptive favorite for the license-only to see it go instead to the city's own Leslie Park Golf Course. In July council handed Everyday Cook a consolation prize, approving it as the city's first recipient of a "developmental" license. At $20,000, it wasn't the deal that the golf course got, but it was still significantly cheaper than a regular license. Afterward Campbell told the Observer that "once the license makes its way through the machinery in Lansing" she would reopen the store and "add supper clubs, wine classes, and a wine tasting room featuring picks from Everyday Wines."
Campbell now says she didn't realize just how long Lansing's machinery would take. "What people [don't understand] is the city council is just one little approval process," she says. "Then you have to go through the state government, and that takes four to twelve months." In the meantime she faced an expensive build-out to bring the space up to code if she really wanted to use it as a restaurant. She says that she didn't have the money for the renovations and just couldn't see limping through the holiday season without a liquor license. Says a clearly dispirited Campbell, "That's just not something I can do."
[Originally published in October, 2008.]