is a Port Washington icon. The store is family run, and has called Port home since 1946. But many residents, including owner Patti Vunk, fear that a ban on takeout goods will hurt the shop's , and possibly lead to the demise of this long-established business.
Nearly a year ago Vunk applied for everything needing approval before beginning construction on the café. One section of the agreement that was overlooked was the paragraph concerning the customers' ability to take food or beverage with them off the premise. According to the variance, patrons could not bring any food or beverage purchased from the store with them when they left.
For Vunk, the matter is causing concern. According to the store’s attorney, Joseph Asselta, reactions from customers told they could not take what they bought out of the store “ranged from mild annoyance to utter disbelief.”
Vunk and her staff worry that the ban makes it more difficult, as a smaller mom-and-pop store, to compete with larger companies.
The shop put out a petition, in store and online, encouraging residents to support a request to receive permission for patrons to take food and beverage off the premises.
At the meeting Wednesday evening, Vunk’s attorney, along with many Port residents, defended the store’s right to offer takeout.
Howard Blankman, a long-time resident, told the council, “It’s a win-win situation.” He sees the Dolphin as an asset to Port Washington. “It’s a place that’s done with taste and refinement and civility,” he said.
Also speaking on behalf of the Dolphin was local couple Betty and Hugh Stephens. “We’ve seen how difficult it is on lower Main Street,” Hugh Stephens said. “Whatever we can do to help them in this terrible business climate, we should.”
Betty Stephens agreed, noting that Dolphin should have the same rights as other businesses. “It should be fair and equal with the
different businesses,” she said.
Barbara Lawrence, a Port resident for 49 years, said, “I don’t remember there not being a Dolphin Bookshop in town. We are so lucky to have it.”
Resident Mark Gamell spoke from the consumer perspective. “Let us buy what we like and drink what we like,” he told the council.
Other speakers included Mindy Germain of Residents for More Beautiful Port Washington; Anthony Testa, who manages the building in which Dolphin is located; and Mitch Shwartz, co-president of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce. All agreed the ban should be lifted.
After the session, Patti Vunk said she felt very positive about the upcoming
decision. “It was a very beautiful thing,” she said. “It’s so good to be loved
The board said it would announce its decision Thursday morning. Patch will report the results when they become availagle.