Two businesses slated to lose Sunday alcohol

The Augusta Commission is set to cut off two of the four businesses granted probationary licenses to pour alcohol on Sundays.

Both The Original Tavern on Wheeler Road and Allie Katz Bar & Grill on Walton Way Extension are on today's consent agenda to have their privileges revoked. Each paid $1,210 for licenses allowing them to sell alcohol on Sundays while they spent six months trying to sell more food.

Under Georgia law, at least half of a business' sales must be from food for it to be considered a restaurant and allowed to serve alcohol seven days a week. The commission showed leeway in its enforcement of the rule this year after setting a precedent with Limelite Cafe on Agerton Lane -- granting a six-month probationary license in January even though an audit found only 23 percent food sales. The issue had split the Public Services Committee, but before it went to the full commission the pub's attorney got six commissioners to sign a letter granting a license in time for Super Bowl Sunday.

In the months following, Finish Line Cafe on Wrightsboro Road, The Original Tavern and Allie Katz came to the board looking for the same opportunity.

But the latter two's six-month food sales averages fell short. Allie Katz had 19.7 percent, and Original Tavern had 30.83 percent, according to License and Inspection Director Rob Sherman. Public Services voted unanimously last week to recommend that both licenses be pulled.

As for Limelite and Finish Line, audits earlier this year found six-month food sale averages of 37 percent and 42.1 percent, respectively, and in September the commission voted 6-2-2 to extend their probationary licenses another five months. Mr. Sherman had recommended that the city keep working with them because Limelite's June figure was 49 percent and Finish Line had 44 percent in July.

He said both businesses will be audited after their November receipts are in, and he expects them to make it.

"I think they will," Mr. Sherman said. "I think Limelite is actually trying to become a restaurant, and probably the same thing with Finish Line.

"The other two, I think they're just a bar," he said.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

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