Tales from the DABC – July and August 2017

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Mariscos Las Islitas - seafood molcajete. Credit, Mariscos Las Islitas.
Mariscos Las Islitas – seafood molcajete. Credit, Mariscos Las Islitas.

A recap of the winners and losers over at the monthly DABC meetings, here are the main notes from both the July and August meetings.

July 2017 DABC meeting

Full Service Restaurant Applicants – Due to a violation history (sale to a minor) at their St. George location, Eric Slaymaker – president and founder of Winger’s restaurants appeared before the committee on behalf of licensing for a new Brigham City location. Slaymaker explained the business had been operation for around 24 years in Utah and been a good member of the community; he confirmed that the business did indeed have issues in recent times and that while IDs were indeed being rigorously checked, server’s math skills failed at critical junctures, when the restaurant was busy.

As a solution to the problems, Slaymaker explained the business had begun a business wide internal re-education program, installation of ID scanners and use of the BARS program. Slaymaker was proud to note that this nation wide mystery shopper program had conducted 32 secret visit since March 2017, and issued 32 passes and zero failures. Commissioners however took Slaymaker to task on various issues. In regards the vetting of IDs chairman John T. Nielsen note that there

doesn’t seem to be any excuse for improper IDs because the drivers licenses are vertical; and once you see that, it’s a red flag

Moreover, the panel took issue with Slaymaker not knowing the specifics of additional prior violations at other locations. So much so, the commission was audibly concerned in issuing a license for the Brigham City location this time around and chose instead to defer the matter until next months meeting to see how things panned out across the chain in the interim.

Mr B’s Supper Club (Cedar City), Rodizio Grill (Riverwoods, Provo), Rib & Chop House (Salt Lake City) were all approved conditionally, with Mariscos Las Islitas #2 (West Valley City) receiving outright approval.

Rib And Chop House - coming to SLC. Credit, Rib And Chop House.
Rib And Chop House – coming to SLC with full bar menu now. Credit, Rib And Chop House.

Bar Establishment Applicants – Formerly known as club licenses, four applicants this month. The transfer of license to allow for Avant Groove – a new Jazz club slash martini bar on Pierpoint (?!) was conditionally approved while Derailed Bar & Grill (Milford) was approved outright.

Two new applicants – The Cove Eats and Drinks (Richfield) and Koral Kafe & Entertainment (Washington) were also approved outright. This still leaves two unclaimed licenses, yep, two! Get em while they’re hot folks.

Limited-Service Restaurant ApplicantsMod Super Fast Pizza (Riverdale and Park City), Pie Pizzeria (South Salt Lake) were all approved to pour been and wine conditionally while El Pollo Amancer (Kearns) was approved outright.

Steiny’s Family Sports Grill (Logan) was struck from the agenda due to a previous violation history (at an existing licensed location), with the commission needing to hear from the applicant in person before any issuance.

El Pollo Amanecer - chicken, fries, pita. Credit, El Pollo Amanecer
El Pollo Amanecer – chicken, fries, pita. Credit, El Pollo Amanecer

Symphony System – Commissioner Sal Petilos gave some introductory info on this potentially exciting new inventory tool, currently undergoing a pilot. Symphony (used in other states and across the globe) is aimed at allowing the DABC to both act nimbly to new product and also address concerns about stagnant inventory; as opposed to
the current centralized ordering setup. Alla Voldman from Goldratt Consulting was in attendance to give the commission a more detailed outline, highlighting the goals as:

in simple words providing the right product, at the right time, aligned with the needs of the customers. It will improve assortment, freshness and availability

Three stores are currently trialing the Symphony system (Foothill, Holladay and the new West Valley Store) and listening to Voldman explain the system, it sounds like consumers might experience much improved product availability should the system be adopted state wide.

The new system tracks demand on a store by store basis, delineated by product category and price point (including seasonality bias, champagne drinkers!). As every store is it’s own unique world in effect – the system identifies category and product gaps at individual stores, matching that in turn to available inventory in DABC warehouses. For example, say pinot noir priced $15-$25 is selling at an increased rate in a particular store, availability and selection would be increased to match demand the unique demand. Voldman also touched on the fact the aggregation of data can highlight new bestsellers for larger rollouts.

There are currently 9,000-10,000 product skus in the DABC inventory with 4000 typically on shelves. Voldman reported that in the first two weeks of testing alone, 180 new products had being received at the three pilot stores as a result of the data. Commisioners were impressed and noted that concerns over stock issues reached stretched from the public to store manager level and even through to senators and legislators. A summary of the whole pilot program and its results are expected in September.

Other notesDona Cleme Mexican Grill (Heber City) and Paiute Trails Inn (Marysvale) both received beer only restaurant licenses. Saltfire Brewing Company (Salt Lake City) also received approval for a magical Type 5 package agency license. Magical? The Type 5 allows the business to sell their product on Sundays…

Listen in full to the meeting at:
https://www.utah.gov/pmn/files/317255.mp3

Kiitos Brewing - coming fall 2017
Kiitos Brewing – coming fall 2017

August 2017 DABC meeting

Manufacture brewery applicant – Andrew Dasenbrock briefly appeared before the commission on behalf of Kiitos Brewing a new SLC based brewery. Kiitos will produce both low and high gravity beer and is located at 608w 700s, the North fringe of the granary district with Dasenbrock stating:

we’re excited to be there doing our best to help the neighborhood turn around

Full Service Restaurant Applicants – Eric Slaymaker returned before the committee or for the second time in two months. Appearing this time with Winger’s chief operating officer the duo reiterated their improved training and processes – and the fact no violation had occurred in nearly a year. Slaymaker also added that scanners are also now mandatory for franchisees as well, to be used for anyone appearing 35 year or under. The commission approved the licensing for the Brigham city Winger’s location conditionally.

Facing similar concerns and grilling from the commission were representatives of Olive Garden Restaurant seeking licensing for a new Spanish Fork location, with apparently a 4 million capital investment on the line for the planned November opening; commission members expressed various points of concern over a storied violation history.

Representatives explained that Darden (the holding company) has 27 years operating in the state with 12 locations of the Italian chain eatery (plus three Longhorn steak house locations) with half never seeing a single violation at all. Of the locations only two of those have been a repeating problem – South Jordan and Layton.

Representatives explained numerous steps have been taken at all stores starting with ID scanners in 2014, following on with additional training, age verification prompts at various stages of order in the POS and most recently at high risk locations, a manager is also required to manually verify and approve the IDs of all alcohol orders. Additionally, high risk locations also use the BARS mystery shopper program mentioned by Wingers.

The commission was unmoved by the measures – effectively a three layer system – nor the capital on the line for the new venture, given the continuing violations, and much like Winger’s was asked to come back again in September – to see if measures implemented are holding up and preventing violations.

Similarly, Jim Burgess also came before the commission on behalf of a new Hyatt Place operation planned for St. George. Burgess noted the two violations of note were bad luck and the only violations ever, both involving new employees not following agreed processes, also both on the same day. Additional training and subsequent undercover reviews resulted in no further issues.

While the commission initially looked set to defer the license a month, much like Winger’s and Olive Garden, Burgess was at pains to underscore the planned September 20th opening date – and the severe financial burden that would result from failing to secure a license. After debate the commission agreed to a compromise – a conditional license approved now – provided additional training and review by DABC staff in early September has positive results and feedback.

Given the number of violations, Chairman Nielsen was keen to note:

We’ve spent 45 minutes or more on these applicants and its just an indication of how serious I think we view these things and I’d prefer not to have to deal with them anymore. Whatever can be done, for you operators to make sure that these things don’t occur, especially sales to minors, we’d very much appreciate it. I know you feel the same way but whatever you can do wed prefer not to have to deal with them anymore

Hoovers (Marysvale), Taqueria 27 (Fashion Place Mall), Air Gypsy Eatery (Salt Lake City) were approved conditionally, the former surrendering a limited restaurant license to pour liquor as well.

Taqueria 27 - red chile pork tacos with Oaxaca cheese. Credit Taqueria 27
Taqueria 27 – red chile pork tacos with Oaxaca cheese. Credit Taqueria 27

Limited-Service Restaurant Applicants – John Stein, owner of Steiny’s Family Sports Grill (Logan) came before the commission to obtain a license for a third iteration of his sports bar/restaurant in Logan. The violation history that prevented an outright issuance last month, and Stein’s appearance this month, was related to a previous violation of consumption on duty. This transpired to be Mr Stein himself, which caused some brief levity, before the license was conditionally approved.

Rustic Chicken (Salt Lake City) and Celeste Ristorante Italiano (Murray) were approved conditionally to sell beer and wine, while Siam P.T. (Salt Lake City), El Jaripeo Grill Restaurant (Salt Lake City), The Saddlery (Torrey) and Under Canvas at Zion (Virgin) were all outright approved.

Other notes – LVM Spirit (SLC) was approved to represent a line of Bulgarian wines locally while another Type 5 package agency license was granted, this time to Kiitos Brewing. Vivint Smart Home Arena was also approved for an extended closure through October 31st, while re-modelling work on the stadium completes – though work is anticipated to complete sometime in September.

Finally, a trio of location changes, all approved as follows:

Salsa Leedos
From: 3956 West 13400 South, Riverton.
To: 13298 S. Market Center Drive, Riverton.

The Fallout
From: 625 South 600 West, Salt Lake City.
To: 195 West 2100 South, Salt Lake City.

Angelica’s Mexican Restaurant
From: 490 W. St. George Blvd., #2, St. George.
To: 101 E. St. George Blvd., St. George.

Listen in full to the meeting at:
https://www.utah.gov/pmn/files/325193.mp3

Terminology FAQ

Conditional approval
The DABC is happy to grant the license pending some other contingency. This is usually something as simple as a city issuing a business license or similar. For all intents and purposes though, the DABC is good to ready to issue the license.

Full Service Restaurants
Can serve beer, wine and liquor provided customer also orders food. May be served 11.30 a.m. to midnight weekdays, 10.30 a.m. to midnight on weekends.

Limited Service Restaurants
Can serve beer, heavy beer (over 4% by volume) and wine. Customer must order food. Wine and heavy beer may be served 11.30 a.m. to midnight, regular beer until 1.00 a.m. Limited restaurant licenses may not sell flavored malt beverages or liquor.

Bar Establishments
Replaced the old club licenses. May sell liquor, wine, flavored malt beverages, heavy beer and beer may be served from 10.00 a.m. until 1 a.m. No need for customer to order food.

Stuart avatar

Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you!  I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune.  I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.

I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade.   I’m largely fueled by Uinta Cutthroat, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand.  I ate all the pies.

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