Tales from the DABC – September and October 2017

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Chedda Burger - the dealer
Chedda Burger – the dealer. Foothill location now with beer.

September 2017 DABC meeting

Tremonton Package Agency – Robert McLachlan appeared before the commission to explain a history of missing funds. Most recently the package agency experienced shortages in January ($3000), June ($11,000) and August ($2000). DABC staff noted McLachlan did make the DABC whole in each instance, from personal funds too.

McLachlan explained he had managed the store for three decades and had recently decided to attempt semi retirement – moving to South Carolina – and managing employees remotely. This had apparently resulted in the most recent losses with the personnel in question let go and McLachlan looking to retrieve funds with third party assistance, possibly filing charges.

While McLachlan indicated he had temporarily moved back to Utah to run the store directly (and was in the progress of selling his SC home), the commission was unmoved; staff noting short falls had happened repeatedly for years, and McLachlan admitting after thirty years he could not recall every incident or detail. Asking colleagues for input, DABC chairman John T. Nielsen noted:

My feeling is that we have an obligation to citizens of Tremonton to make sure package agencies, even though they’re privately owned, represent the state. To make sure that we service that population appropriate, sounds like that is not currently the case and hasn’t been for some time.

Due to repeated audit failures, the agencies consignment allowance had been downgraded from $50,000 to $29,000 where it’s been since June. A further reduction of $1800 was also noted to be in the works due to ongoing issues, with the store actually closed at the time of the meeting.

Due to all the factors, the commission revoked the license for the package agency, leaving Tremonton and its population around 8400 with no local liquor store. Brigham City is now currently the closest location, about 18 miles South. Applications for new management of the Tremonton store closed November 10th with multiple applications received. Recommendations for new management should be heard in the November meeting.

Scientific and educational permit – Representatives for a local franchise of Board & Brush Creative Studio (Draper) appeared before the commission to request an educational license, specially for wine. Board & Brush began some two and a half years ago in Wisconsin. In the brief interim the chain has grown to 116 locations nationwide. Draper will see the first location for Utah. The cause of the dramatic growth? Sipping wine while learning woodworking skills.

Local franchisee Leslie Smith (alongside husband Rick) explained the general concept to intrigued commissioners. Smith noted the activities involved lend themselves naturally to a social event; while paint or stain dries, the intervening pause is an optimal time to pour a glass and talk wine.

Smith went onto explain that providing wine was a core requirement of any franchise of the brand; be that BYOB, included with the class cost, given away, provided by bar tender etc. For the SLC location Smith explain wine would be provided only at most twice per week, most like Friday and Saturday classes (6-9 p.m.). No more than five ounces would be poured during a typical three hour class. Smith and Utah’s first Board And Brush Creative Studio and it’s first Utah location was approved in short order.

Bistro H - these views now come with a full liquor license
Bistro H – these views now come with a full liquor license. Credit, Bistro H.

Full Service Restaurant Applicants – Olive Garden returned after trying to respond to previous violation issues in the hopes of securing a license for their Spanish Fork location, set to open in November.

Nina McDermott of the DABC noted that while:

we have worked with them to come up with a commercially reasonable service plan that their staff can adhere too and will actually take into consideration both the high turnover of the servers and also with the busy nature of the restaurant industry, and making sure servers are paying attention to each individual and cognizant of all the parts of the ID process

a lot of onus of the service plan initially focused on managers, not on servers, and that approval was not recommended therein. Despite this, commissioners were keen to issue a license; McDermott agreeing that most recently the service plan had been improved taking servers into consideration. Commissioners were also keen to underscore that this wasn’t a case of a big name brand getting its own way, and was mainly keen to try to help the business meet its opening date, given its financial commitments. With the concerns raised, the commission noted they would again review the situation in October, issuing a conditional license for the time being.

Bistro H (Springdale) was conditionally approved also.

Bar Establishment Applicants – With four available licenses and just two applicants, Switch Venue (Salt Lake City) was approved conditionally and Durango Bar, approved outright.

Limited-Service Restaurant Applicants – Ichiban Sushi Plate (Bountiful), R & R BBQ (Farmington), Couscous Grill (Farmington), Mod Pizza (Salt Lake City) and Chedda Burger (Salt Lake City) were all approved conditionally to serve beer and wine. Even Stevens Sandwiches (Cottonwood Heights) was approved outright.

Other notes – Main Street Grill (Magna) was approved for a beer only restaurant license.

tosh ramen bowl
Ramen at Tosh’s Ramen. New Holladay location coming soon with booze.

October 2017 DABC meeting

Full Service Restaurant Applicants

Rico’s Mexican Grill (Kearns), Zucca (Ogden), Reef’s Cuisine (Park City), Rawtopia (Salt Lake City), Ninfa’s Mexican Grill (St George) and La Puente (West Jordan) were all are outright approved for a full liquor license; Billy B’s Hash House (Midvale), Block Restaurant (Provo) and El Madrigal (West Valley City) were all approved conditionally.

Bar Establishment Applicants – With two licenses available, three businesses came before the commission for license approval. Paradise Club (Ogden) and Wiseguy’s Comedy (West Jordan) were both conditionally approved.

The third applicant, Quarters Arcade Bar was noted to be equally qualified but with a projected opening of December 2017-January 2018,it was felt the application could be held over until November. Quarters Arcade bar is set for downtown Salt Lake City in the old Manhattan club space. The focus follows a national trend not seen locally – a full bar that focuses on retro (cabinet) gaming, consoles and even board gaming.

A new license is expected to become available in November, ahead of the planned opening date for Quarters and the commission was notably impressed by the company’s presentation. As such it was noted that Quarters would effectively be head of the queue for a license in November, barring any dramatic changes in situation.

Limited-Service Restaurant ApplicantsGura’s Spice House (Herriman), BGR Burgers Grilled Right (Salt Lake City), Tosh’s Ramen (Holladay), Ying’s Thai-Sushi (Sandy) and Stellas American & Italian Bistro (Syracuse) were all approved conditionally for beer and wine.

Meanwhile, Sunset Room (Park City), Tikka Indian Grill (Salt Lake City), CY Noodle & Chinese Restaurant (Salt Lake City), Siam Orchid (Salt Lake City), Il Sole (Sandy) and R8 Inc. (Spanish Fork) were all outright approved too.

With a fifth new location coming online soon (Sugar House), MOD Pizza was granted a master license. This singular limited service license allows the chain to operate as many locations in the state as it wishes under one license. Existing licenses are typically surrendered back to the available pool for new businesses. MOD already has locations and licenses in Murray, Riverdale, Woods Cross and Park City.

Avenues Proper - massaman curry mussels - now also with Type 5 package agency license, take a brew to go
Avenues Proper – massaman curry mussels – now also with Type 5 package agency license, take a brew to go

Beer Only Restaurant ApplicantsZ Brothers Pizza (North Salt Lake), Stellar Wings Restaurant (Salt Lake City), Los Mochis Restaurant (West Valley City) and Sumo (West Valley City) were all approved to pour beer at their restaurants.

Other notesAvenues Proper (Salt Lake City) received a Type 5 package agency license with no issues, meaning they can now sell their on site brewed bees direct to consumers. Even the strong stuff. Go take a growler.

New DABC commissioner Tom Jacobsen took issue with Silver Mountain Market’s (Park City) application for a Type 1 agency. Jacobsen himself a Park City resident noted the resort is only 1/4 mile away from a full size state run store, replete with bus service for accessibility. His main point, one of proliferation – surely every man and their dog would want their own permit if this was granted?

Staff noted a Type 1 package agency makes no profit for the business owner. Type 1 agencies buy and sell products at state prices, taking not cut and operating merely as a convenience for facilities guests, e.g. hotels. In the past, these licenses have been granted simply and without pause. Indeed, the implication from DABC staff was that the licenses are typically not seen as desirable for many businesses, given the lack of profits allowable. As such many become disused and lapse entirely.

Jacobsen conceded ‘the new guy’ raising this issue for the first time was unfair on the current applicant. As a compromise Silver Mountain Market was approved, with staff agreeing to investigate and review the current implementation and usage of Type 1 licenses – for discussion at a later date.

Good news for residents of Payson as their local package agency was approved for a consignment increase, Typically this is based on the previous 6 weeks sales at the store. Payson currently has $75000 limit but had been placing orders with the state worth 30K-35K a week. As such the store was failing to keep fast moving items in stock. In time for the holiday season, an approval for a 125K consignment limit was agreed.

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.

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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