We are writing in support of Question 2 on West Tisbury’s April 12 town ballot. Question 2 authorizes the selectmen to grant beer and wine licenses to restaurants which seat 50 or morepatrons. It also authorizes the selectmen to grant one-day beer and wine licenses to organizers of fundraisers held at venues in West Tisbury.

We are owners and operators of State Road Restaurant in West Tisbury. Like many in the restaurant business, this is not just a job tous. This is our way oflife. It’s a privilege to have our restaurant in a community where greeting guests each evening means welcoming a wonderful mix of old friends and new faces. We’re passionate about our work, about creating ambience for our guests, and, of course, about food and wine. We believe that being able to offer beer and wine, carefully chosen to complement our menus, will enhance the dining experience for our guests.

We love being in West Tisbury and being close to the farming and fishing communities that provide for our locally-grown and harvested menus. Our location allows us to grow our own herbs, strawberries and assorted vegetables. Because we sit at the gateway to up-Island, we find a trip to a farm or a heads-up from a local fisherman on the morning’s catch is integrated into our day-to-day lives and business.

There’s no question that acquiring a beer and wine license would ultimately benefit our bottom line. It would also immediately benefit our staff, many of whom have been with us foryears. We are so fortunate to have a great group of Island employees at StateRoad. We believe our business depends on the quality and loyalty of ouremployees. They are a big part of any success we’ve achieved.

For more than a decade we owned and operated the Sweet Life Café and Slice of Life in Oak Bluffs. We managed a beer and wine license and a full liquor license without incident or a singleviolation. This was no lucky accident. We took the responsibility that came with those licenses veryseriously. The atmosphere we created and fostered was built around food , not drinking.

We approach State Road with the same philosophy and sense of responsibility. Allowing us to monitor the flow of beer and wine would give us greater control over consumption.

For one thing, it takes hard liquor off the table immediately. Cutting off service to an over-drinking guest would be cut-and-dried. That is not so easily done in a BYOB situation.

The Island is down to just two towns that are dry. This is confusing to guests who consider ordering wine or beer with a meal customary practice at arestaurant. BYOB is a concept many of our visitors don’t understand. No matter how conscientious we are about explaining BYOB over the telephone, our guests (visitors and residents alike) are often surprised and then disappointed to learn we are dry.

We understand that for some people Question 2 is a delicate topic and we respect their concerns about change. Our restaurant experience and the recent conversion from dry to wet in two other Island towns leads us to believe that converting from a BYOB policy to a carefully regulated, proprietor-managed beer and wine policy will not, in any way, change the character of West Tisbury.

We cherish our West Tisbury location. And we work hard to be thoughtful business operators in our community. Whatever the outcome is on April 12, our passion for food, our commitment to the community, our dedication to Island businesses, farmers and fishermen will not change at State Road.

Still, we ask voters to consider the value of continued stability for local businesses and vote yes on Question 2. We thank you.