MADISON, Wis. - That BBQ Joint, a barbecue restaurant on Madison's east side, handed out free Thanksgiving meals from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday to thank the community for its support after a neighborhood debate involving the restaurant, owner Clement Henriques said.
The Williamson Street restaurant had previously been required to hold meetings with the Marquette Neighborhood Association over concerns about noise and smells coming from the restaurant as a condition of its liquor license.
A meeting held on October 23 turned contentious at times as neighbors both supporting the restaurant and calling for changes clashed over what, if anything, should be done to solve the issue.
The Alcohol Licensing and Review Committee recently met to recommend lifting those requirements, Henriques said.
"It was a relief going to the meeting and seeing how it was addressed," Henriques said. "Any little obstacle you put in front of a business is tough and this is just one less obstacle. It's a really great feeling to have that in the past now."
Henriques said after the noise and smell debate made headlines, the restaurant seen increased support from customers.
"Every couple of days someone would come up and say 'hey I've heard about this, I'm sorry,'" Henriques said.
News 3 reached out to the Marquette Neighborhood Association board for comment Thursday but has not received a response.
Henriques said the Madison Common Council will vote in December whether to implement the ALRC's recommendation to lift the meeting requirement.
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