Ramen shop launches Kickstarter for liquor license

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

Frustrated with the long wait for a license to sell beer and wine, the owners of Grandview ramen shop Jobu Ramen are turning to Kickstarter to try to fund an alternative, more costly approach.

Owners Michael Kopfman and John Franke are asking the public to raise $15,000 so they can purchase a private beer and wine license from an existing business no longer in need of it. If they stick with the traditional approach-purchasing a license through the state-the wait time could be up to a year and a half, Franke says. It's a difference of roughly $1,100 for a permit from the state, or shelling out roughly $15,000 now (the cost here is an approximation-it could be more or less) from another business. The latter is a large chuck of money upfront that the startup just doesn't have yet, he adds.

Jobu Ramen opened in May without any alcohol offerings at all-and have since been crowded for lunch and early in the evening. But after that, especially later on Friday and Saturday nights Franke says, customers begin to fade out. "We've been having so many people ask for alcohol here," says co-owner John Franke. "Our evening and weekend business is very slow because we can't serve a beer."

Franke says they don't have a for-sale private license lined up yet; and will wait to seek one out if and when the Kickstarter campaign is successful. The upside? Jobu Ramen will be getting the OK to sell liquor sometime soon. So they'll be able to offer cocktails to customers, but no sake.