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Tales from the DABC – February 2017

Want to get a glimpse into what’s upcoming, new and potentially delicious? The monthly DABC meeting is usually good for a few morsels to chew on. Items of interest from this months meeting include:

Club Licenses

No new club licenses are to to be entertained for the time being sadly; ostensibly until more concrete details of how house bill 442 looks set to pan out.

The controversial omnibus bill looks set to dramatically change how clubs are defined, not least alter a a whole raft of other alcohol related legislation. With that in mind, the commission noted it was prudent to put new applications on hold, until potential changes were made clearer. The likes of Chakra Lounge, 16 Post Office Place, Promontory Club, Shula’s 347 Grill, Libary & East Sea Restaurant, Archibald’s Restaurant, West Side Tavern and West Side Tavern all have to cool their heels a little longer yet.

Amid the furor over the current bill, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one run and run; though the bill is expected to be implemented in one shape or form in May 2017, unless it dies a death of debate.

Waterpocket Distillers

You might recall this new distillery from January’s meeting where they received their manufacturing license for a range of fruit brandies and liqueurs. Back again in February, Waterpocket was also approved for a Type 5 package agency in short order.

That means once product starts to roll out, you’ll be able to buy it directly on site from the distillery. Even on Sundays too, should they decide to take that step and meet the requirements…


The former Wingers downtown location at 329 South State Street has been replaced by a new burger and shake joint (with, um, teriyaki bar!?) and was approved to take over Wingers full service liquor license.

Rio Grande

A change of licensee was approved for this venerable Mexican restaurant too, presumably a result of the recent sale of the business. The restaurant was purchased by Byron Loveall, the owner of both Porcupine Pub and Grill locations plus The Dodo in Sugar House.

The decades old eatery is presently closed for a kitchen revamp and scheduled to re-open late March, with all those classic details set to remain – including the infamous train set – choo choo.

Other Full Service Restaurant Approvals

Approved to pour beer, wine and spirits at this months meeting:

Cafe Trio (Park City) – Conditionally approved, the third location for the popular casual neighborhood eatery started by Mikel Trapp.

Porkys Tacos Carnitas (West Valley City) – Just writing those three words makes me want to down keyboard and rush out to this well reviewed taco spot.

Antica Sicilia (Salt Lake City) – My google-fu here has failed me here. Also approved, but I can’t find any further information on this restaurant in this slightest. Anyone else? Update: A couple of readers have mentioned that they think this is the new name for a restaurant moving into the former Rustic Cafe/Mill Creek Grill and Bar spot on 33rd South and 20th East.

Update 2: Mentioned over on our Facebook page by another reader, ‘It’s the owners of Sicilia Mia. They are doing a spin of the restaurant they own on 45th and highland. This one will have more seafood and more tableside service.’

Update 3, April 2017: And nowhere’s the Antica Sicilia menu.

Tanaka Balance

Also back from January’s meeting, business owner Larry Tanaka. In the previous meeting Tanaka had asked for a limited service restaurant license for his Logan restaurant but was rebuffed by commissioners. Due to Tanaka Balance falling within 600 pedestrian feet of the LDS tabernacle, and without local consent from said property, commissioners asked Tanaka to return with how his restaurant fulfilled a three step test (repeatedly referred to as the three prongs) to ascertain whether a business could be granted a variance and allocated a license.

Those three crucial points being:

– substantial unmet public demand in the geographic area in question
– no other reasonable, viable alternative businesses, that satisfy that unmet public demand
– and no reasonable, viable alternative business location to move to

Tanaka put forward his case on the basis of his restaurant being the only health cafe in Logan, not least one that offers an upscale location for business and professional clientele. Chairman John T. Nielsen requested more “evidence not hearsay”, in the form of written testimonials or affidavits from locals in support, but Tanaka had none to hand.

HB442 reared its head again – with it being noted the proposed bill seeks to reduce the proximity requirement from 600 to 450 feet, which would allow the granting of a license to Tanaka Balance without the a variance being issued. With that in mind the commission took the decision to punt the application to the next meeting with Tanaka advised to also start working on objective evidence to support the demand for his license, in case HB442 doesn’t pan out in his favor.

Limited-Service Restaurant Applicants

The following were all approved and granted licenses to sell beer and wine:

Sushi Garden Bistro (American Fork) – A by the numbers seeming place, with the now ubiquitous 50% off rolls. Udon, bento boxes, ramen and rice bowls too.

River Rock Roasting Co. (La Verkin) – The coffee shop can now pour Full Suspension Pale Ale alongside sustainably grown coffee and a menu of breakfast and lunch items.

Sabores De Mexico (Ogden) – Chef Luis Rodriguez, “uses his artful talent to blend traditional Mexican ingredients and techniques into flavorful modern dishes for the enjoyment of those seated around the tables of Sabores De Mexico“. Order a cold one with your Filete De Res now.

5 Seeds (Park City) – Another coffee shop that can add beer and wine while serving up dishes such as Crumbed Chook and Googie Eggs. No, I kid you not, I think it’s an Aussie thing.

Bangkok Terrace (Salt Lake City) – The Thai restaurant that has hung on, longer than I thought possible given the oft doomed Gallivan Avenue location. Hopefully the booze will help the business grow and bloom even more.

And also approved conditionally:

The Eklektik (Salt Lake City) – A combo restaurant, art space and events center over on 8th South with a menu that gleefully jumps between old world and new world flavors.

It was also noted that applicants Sushi House (American Fork) and Magleby’s (Springville) both had alcohol present at their facilities during DABC inspections, despite neither having the required licensing, and as such were struck from proceedings; law enforcement were instructed in both cases to review exactly what was transpiring at these businesses and report back.

Tavern Licenses

All getting a positive nod this month for beer only licenses and should be pouring the cold stuff soon if not already:

Saddlebag Saloon (Eden) – A new beer bar for this Northern city replete with pub grub menu.

Touche Tavern (Salt Lake City) – A new State Street tavern set to open in just a couple days time in the former Dawg Pound location.

Cotton Bottom Inn (Salt Lake City) – Unclear to me why it needed a brand spanking new license, being a staple of the area for as long as memory serves, nonetheless, granted a license to pour suds alongside their garlic burgers.

Public Questions and Comment

After licensing was attended to, the chairman opened the floor to the public (minute 43:30) where Ashley Cross of New World Distillery in Eden took the commission to task over frustration with the DABC’s timeliness at getting local product onto shelves in the state; Cross went as far to suggest that she’d advise other businesses to simply stop advertising their products, as often times, advertised items are simply not appearing within local liquor stores in a timely fashion for customers to purchase.

Cross took particular aim at the departments procedures that on one hand “invoices her with regularity” but on the other fails to provide a reasonable and responsive communications platform for product to be reviewed and placed in stores.

Cross expressed repeated disappointment at the DABC, the states sole distributor and retailer of her product, for both the timeliness of their operations and the manner in which it communicates with her and other businesses.

Chairman Neilsen asked an audibly exasperated Cross to put her concerns in writing, who explained, “I’ve sent a lot of emails, unanswered” and keenly asks if she could also cc Neilsen in – who gamely agrees.

Here’s to hoping for more of the good stuff on shelves and all the more quicker. Speaking of which…

There’s An App For That

The formal meeting adjourns around the 50 minute mark ready for a presentation from Austin based company, Neubus; who showcase what could a possible mobile device app could offer for the DABC and consumers. Chairman Neilsen is keen to stress “this is not a proposal, simply an explanation of what can be done, and we are very interested in hearing from you”.

Tune in at the 52:25 mark to hear about this possible brave new future – based of what Neubus deployed in Texas for the TABC.

For more info see the notes from the meeting and also the full 90 min recording of the meeting too. The next DABC commission meeting is March 28th 2017.

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2 thoughts on “Tales from the DABC – February 2017”

  1. Guessing Antica Sicilia might be the new Sicilia Mia place on 33rd S and 20th in the Ivy Place center? Been hearing rumors.

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