Mixed Reaction to Irving Alcohol Rule Changes

New ordinance allows differing food-to-alcohol sales ratios in Las Colinas Urban Center, the rest of Irving

Irving business owners have mixed reactions to the city's new alcohol ratios, which allow businesses in the Las Colinas Urban Center to have a higher percentage of alcohol sales than restaurants in the rest of the city.

In January, the City Council changed the city's 30-year alcohol ordinance to allow alcohol to make up 70 percent of sales at restaurants in the Las Colinas Urban Center. All other restaurants must have a 50-50 ratio of food to alcohol sales.

Brian Bossone, owner of the Cellar Restaurant and Bar, said he breathed a sigh of relief after the food-to-alcohol ratio in his area was changed to 30-70.

"In December, we were up for review because we could not comply with the 60-40 existing rule," he said. "The new rule has actually allowed us to continue business."

He also said that new businesses are opening up nearby.

"We have a new business next door, an Indian restaurant, and there are also two other ones that are prospectives to actually move next door to us," he said. "That's immediately after the change of the laws."

More restaurants are good news for the roughly 22,000 daily commuters to and from the Las Colinas Urban Center, such as Nam Ngo.

"I don't have to drive anywhere else," he said. "I work within walking distance, so I'm willing to probably walk down here and enjoy a drink before going home."

But the rest of the city has a 50-50 food-to-alcohol ratio.

The owner of FM Smokehouse said she wanted to be treated the same way as restaurants in the urban center. FM Smokehouse, which opened last week, offers a wide selection of craft beers and high-end alcohol.

"We don't quite understand why we wouldn't be offered the same kind of restrictions that they have, and we would prefer a level playing field," Christi Rudolph said. "If a guest comes in and has one $8 beer but they only have a $10 burger, then you're already in danger of not hitting that ratio if they order another drink."

Rudolph said she planned to continue working with the city and the Chamber of Commerce to work on relaxing the alcohol rules in her area, as well.

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