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Tales from the DABC – March and April

Back with a double whammy, our recap of recent DABC meetings, covering winners, losers and well, liquor! This time March and April’s meetings and notable events.

March 2017 DABC meeting

Full service restaurant licenses – Harmon’s City Creek secured a full service restaurant license for the restaurant space that functions as the grocery store’s cooking class area. Representatives from Harmon’s explained that at past classes attendees often expressed interest in purchasing a glass of wine or beer during a course, but are presently unable to do so.

The restaurant currently holds only a special education use permit, which has limited function, only for unique events such as wine educational classes for example. One stickler for full service licenses is that businesses must be open to the general public. Harmon’s explained to the commission that while classes do largely require advanced reservation, free spaces are often available on the day of the event, and the classes do accept walk ins until the last moment. The commission was largely satisfied overall and chairman John T. Nielsen commented “we’ll look at this as an experiment with interest”.

Also approved for full licenses: Charleston Café in Draper, Hideout Steakhouse in Myton, Boltcutter in Salt Lake City, Coral Canyon Grill in Washington and Archibald’s Restaurant in West Jordan. All should soon be pouring beer, wine and liquor.

Club licenses – Four licenses were up for grabs in March, three businesses succeeded in nabbing one of these. The commission noted this left one for April, with another license becoming available as well due to population increases.

Chakra Lounge, was finally re-approved for a license despite reservations by several of the commission due to past violations. This one has been on the cards for a while, and I’m quite excited to see them now able to serve the strong stuff again – the concept of high end lounge with Indian cuisine seems especially interesting to me.

West Side Tavern – part of the Utah Brewers Coop (Squatters & Wasatch) – was also approved as founder Doug Hoefling explained to the commission his plan to serve up the breweries own high point beer not to mention other local brewers and distillers.

Finally, David Tran presented a strong case for his Libary & East Sea Restaurant business (previously operating as just a restaurant) to receive a club license. Now approved, the business situated at the Jackson/Euclid Trax station will offer local residents, or those folks waiting for a seat at Red Iguana, a place to hang out and have a drink.

16 Post Office Place – the new name for the now departed Kristauf’s Martini bar, and the upcoming overflow hang out for Takashi – was also in consideration; ultimately the application was punted down the line, as the bar is not currently ready to open.

Limited service restaurant licenses – Back, yet again, and to much humor from the board was Tanaka Balance and Larry Tanaka. This time Tanaka brought counsel Tanner Strickland Lenart to represent the businesses request for a license variance; which the board pointed out wouldn’t even be needed if the business waited until HB442 became valid in May.

Despite that Lenart provided a range of improved evidence to support the businesses request for a limited service license: 130 signatures from customers in just one week plus a range of social media likes and requests . Lenart continued to point out that while SLC county currently offers 1 license per 1300 residents, the number is closer to 3500 in cache county, making it 3X as hard to find a drink. Finally, there are only 10 limited services license in Logan as a whole with only two immediately near Tanaka Balance: a bar and a Italian restaurant. The board had mixed opinions on the justifications presented, but ultimately approved the license – with chairman Nielsen again pointing out the license would be flatly approved after HB442 comes into force anyway.

Pizza Nono was also approved, after a mind numbing discussion on how property boundaries and distances from community locations are calculated. Seriously, next time you can’t sleep, tune into this one. Ultimately, the commission concluded that a small parking lot, not contiguously connected to a community space (in this case 9th and 9th’s Roland Hall school) isn’t where property boundaries should be calculated – indeed it should be from the main community space’s entrance. This might seem a small point, but sets a precedent that I am certain other businesses will point back to in time.

Minor notes – A few other minor notes to recap of interest. The Penalty Box in Murray is no more –
the property claimed by the city of Murray under eminent domain – but the owner has found a buyer for their license, which is expected to be transferred to a new location and name. Iron Gate Winery moves 138 North 200 West, Cedar City to 59 West Center Street, Cedar City; while Tucanos Brazilian Grill moves from 4801 North University Avenue #790, Provo to 545 East University Parkway #109, Orem.

Full service restaurant licenses – The Cache Venue (formerly Gia’s) in Logan was approved after some brief debate about the businesses proximity to a local park. Upcoming legislation changes (HB4442) would prevent the restaurant obtaining a license flat out come May, falling as it does, within 200 feet from the park area. April however is the last month where the DABC had the legal flexibility to issue a variance – effectively a manual approval based on mitigating circumstances.

The commission noted the park was tiny, with no more than one or two benches – and was in fact built after the business space itself, which in turn was formerly home to a restaurant of 40 years that was happily licensed. The commission concluded that the business didn’t affect “public health, peace, safety and welfare of the community” and that the local authority had given consent. Counsel for the restaurant noted the only public dissent (three complaints in total) had come from local businesses – some of whom might be biased being restaurants themselves.

The variance was granted and will be the last of its kind. With HB442 coming into effect – if similar future situations rear their head, the commission will have it’s hands tied by law, and be unable to intervene.

Meanhwile, Yoko Ramen in Salt Lake City received outright approval while Twisted Fern in Park City, Carmine’s in Salt Lake City and Cafe Sabor in St. George were also all approved conditionally (pending final inspections by the DABC etc).

Club Licenses – Not much excitement here. 16 Post Office Place was still noted to be at least three months away from opening, so licensing was shelved for the time being. Penalty Box mentioned in March, becomes the White Horse Bar & Restaurant and was approved conditional for the transfer of club license. Cognition Winery & Bistro in Park City also received a club license agreeing to surrender their existing full restaurant license in return.

Promontory Club received a Summer seasonal license for their soon to open, private members space – The Beach Club. The membership driven community, currently with 500 homes (set for 1600+ when development ends in 10-15 years) operates a number of club houses for property owners. These currently exist under a raft of various licenses with the facility looking to consolidate all of them under a single equity club license by sometime next year, again as HB442 seeks to normalize licensing. A summer seasonal license covers the new Beach Club in its first season, May 1st through October 31st.

r and r bbq three meat plate best slc dining 2013

R&R BBQ: Three meat plate – coming to Lehi with beer and wine

Limited-Service LicensesBrody’s Mexican Restaurant in Cedar City and Chopfuku in Taylorsville were outright approved to pour beer and wine. R&R BBQ‘s new location in Lehi, Aspen Cove Resort in Panguitch and
Pig & A Jelly Jar in Holladay also received conditional approval pending final building work, inspections etc.

Back for consideration in April, both Magleby’s and Sushi House who you might recall from the February meeting which prompted SBI investigations into their apparent improper handling of alcohol. Neither investigation resulted in prosecution allowing the DABC to again consider their license applications.

Richard Parkinson of Magleby’s in Springville attended the meeting in person, admitting to lapses in management and knowledge; with the DABC responding by conditionally approving a license for Parkinson – pending DABC led training for management and staff. No one from American Fork’s Sushi House was in attendance at the meeting and the commission was of the opinion no action would be taken until such time as they appeared.

Minor notes: Retail sales were noted to be 4.8% for the year to date; and perhaps not so minor, following a routine audit of several package agencies, agency 137 – the Payson package agency – was apparently short by $33,000. As such the agent for the agency surrendered the license and their inventory was removed by the DABC. The commission is now advertising and accepting applications for a new package agency operator in Payson and Morgan. No word on that $33K yet though.

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