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By Clinton Yates,
On the surface, Brookland is one of the city’s most integrated and harmonious communities. Middle to upper income blacks and whites live alongside lower income residents and a largely white population of college students. The leafy Northeast enclave was described in The Post recently as a place that “prides itself in its diversity and amity.”
So when Tony Tomelden thought of opening a neighborhood establishment on 12th and Jackson Streets in the tree-lined neighborhood, he stayed close to home. The way he saw it, his restaurant, which he would call Brookland’s Finest Bar & Kitchen, could be a community watering hole where young families bring their kids for a bite and a beer while transforming the existing vacant building from a persistent eyesore to a gleaming new restaurant.
“I got three kids right here. I want a place where my friends and I can go, with my kids and have some dinner. We’re not looking to open a rock club or lounge,” said Tomelden. “Or anything loud. I’m getting closer to 50 than anything else.”
But for neighbor Jeanna Cullinan, Tomelden’s plan was over the top: to her it sounded like the place would host a non-stop party. Indeed, the owners were seeking a license allowing them to serve alcohol from 8 a.m. until last call.
“I love my street, I love being able to sit out here in my night clothes. I love having a pretty calm street. In a way, I don’t want that to change,” Cullinan, a graduate student said. “I’ve worked in bars and restaurants all my life and I just don’t want to live across from a party bar.”