Cafe Racer opens


Café Racer, at 2929 E. 25th St., just opened this month after a long and serious review by the neighborhood, city staff and Council Member Cam Gordon.
Gordon wrote:  “I want to clear up any confusion about my views or understanding in relation to this new restaurant being proposed in Seward.
“In general I try to approach these situations looking for ways I can help. When I learn about any new business, project or initiative, I start out looking for how I might assist a person or group in realizing their goals. If a project appears not to be in conflict with community goals or my core values, I work to help identify any issues or concerns and see if I can help find a path to a win-win-win situation. I consider it a win-win-win when, first, the individual or group initiating the project feels they can accomplish their aims; when, second, the community or neighborhood feels like this is a benefit to them and something they will accept and welcome; and, third, when the professional city staff are confident or comfortable the project complies with city rules, regulations and policies.
“Business enterprises opening, expanding and operating adjacent to residential areas is a common example of one kind of project that often requires the careful attention of a City Council member and Council office, and a restaurant seeking a beer/wine license is a specific example that is among the most challenging. Finding the win-win-win for the city staff, community and business operator often takes patience, open-mindedness and compromise. In these instances I try especially hard to reach out to, listen to and work with the nearest neighbors as well as the business owner and the community through the neighborhood organization. I have also found that generally, neighborhood organizations and businesses also want to make sure that the concerns of the nearest neighbors are heard, addressed and that these residents also welcome and support the new business. I have already heard from a lot of Seward residents that they support additional restaurants and other businesses in the neighborhood, including this particular restaurant. During the period before a public hearing and final recommendations and approvals are given, it is my practice (and often the most useful thing for me to do) to put my personal opinions aside, defer judgment and serve as a kind of mirror where I can reflect back to the various stakeholders the opinions, intentions and concerns of other stakeholders.
“It is very possible, although not my intention, that this approach may appear as if I am supporting or opposing certain projects to different people. In reality I think I am working hard to listen, to understand everyone’s perspectives and do what I can to find a consensus position that works best for most people and the city to make this a better community for everyone.”
It seems everyone involved in the process felt it was fair and open.  There were some who felt there could be problems with alcohol being served, and others were concerned that the beer and wine license allows them to be open until 1 a.m.  Luis and Christine Patino, the new owners of Café Racer, assured the community that they would like to have the option of staying open for special events like weddings or receptions, but they would normally close at 11 p.m. on weekends:  “This is Christine writing from Cafe Racer Kitchen at 2929 E. 25th St. For those who aren’t familiar with us, we are a local neighborhood cafe that features healthy, modern Latin American inspired cuisine.
‘Thank you to all who have stopped by, given feedback and turned out for the public hearing! We just wanted to give a few updates to the neighborhood as the weather changes.   We now have seating available on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant (north side of the building). We are excited to have this option available! Some information about the sidewalk seating:  Outdoor seating will be available throughout our hours on Sundays (10 a.m.-3 p.m).  Our regular hours Tues-Thurs are 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Fri 5 p.m.-11 p.m., and Sat 10 a.m.-11 p.m.  The outdoor seating area will be closed by 9 p.m.  Bike racks are available on the west side of the building for anyone interested in biking.”
Neighbors were impressed with the commitment of Luis and Christine to the Seward Community, and their first impressions of the restaurant have been very positive.
Blaine Garrett said:  “I stopped by the other night and this place is wonderful. It reminds me quite a bit of the old Clicquot and I am excited for the sidewalk seating to return. Excellent job with the place, Luis and Christine.”
And Ann Marie Lund said, “I stopped by last week as well— with my 6-year-old daughter … she was so excited about the food and everything was wonderful!  I am happy that the neighborhood has worked out an outdoor seating arrangement. I think we’ll be able to respect immediate neighbors and be conscious of noise levels, etc. Welcome to the neighborhood.  What a lovely spot to bring my friends and family when they come visit!”