Late today the City of Dallas notified the owner/operators of a new proposed restaurant on the Luby’s site they will not need a variance to serve alcohol.

The Advocate reported yesterday that Jon Alexis and his company, owners of TJ’s Seafood and Malibu Poke, had applied to the City for a variance to serve alcohol within 300 feet of a school. The Luby’s site shares a property line with St. Thomas Aquinas Lower School. They are separate parcels, but both are owned by the school.

Santos Martinez of La Sierra Planning Group, representing Alexis’ group in their request, notified The Advocate late this afternoon that the City has consulted the code again and determined that because St. Thomas Aquinas is a private school and Alexis meets other thresholds, an alcohol variance is not necessary. Here is the exact language from the code:


   (a)   No person may sell alcoholic beverages if the place of business is within:

      (1)   300 feet of a church, public or private school, or public hospital, except that this paragraph does not apply to the holder of:

  • a license or permit who also holds a food and beverage certificate covering a premises that is located within 300 feet of a private school;

“City staff has reviewed the last sentence of the code in question and determined that this application qualifies for the exemption,” Martinez said. “This is due in part that we are seeking a food and beverage certificate and we are within 300 feet of a private school. Staff has had several meetings with different departments to ensure that this interpretation is correct. We were notified this afternoon that we do not need a variance to the spacing requirements because of this exemption.”

A public hearing had been scheduled for the Dec. 8 meeting for the City Council to hear and vote on the variance request. According to Santos and District 14 Council member Paul Ridley, the public hearing will still be held as planned. Ridley reports that he will move to deny the variance request now that it is deemed unnecessary. The Council meeting begins at 1 p.m., and you can watch it here.

Alexis plans to share more details with the community about his “family friendly” concept with a “huge patio” for the “hip, connected East Dallas families.”