Harlem restaurateurs might soon add beer and wine to their menus.
City officials are considering a measure that would allow city restaurants to serve alcohol.
Mayor Scott Dean said the city received a request from Stacie Caldwell-Hart, owner of Bailey's Deli & Grill, to investigate what it would take to allow restaurants to sell beer and wine for on-site consumption.
"We're evaluating what we would have to do to make that possible," Dean said.
Caldwell-Hart, who took over operations of the restaurant at 179 N. Louisville St. in downtown Harlem in September, said she gets 15-20 requests a week from customers asking for a glass of wine or beer with dinner.
"It is not that I'm looking to make any money off alcohol," Caldwell-Hart said. "I'm looking to be more welcoming to the people who do want to get a glass of wine with their dinner."
The only establishments currently allowed to sell alcohol in the city are convenience and package stores, Dean said. If the city's beer and wine ordinance is changed, restaurants that apply can be approved to sell beer and wine for on-site consumption during business hours except on Sundays.
As co-owner of Red Oak Manor, Dean said such an ordinance change would allow beer and wine to be served at special events held at the bed and breakfast, which is not yet open.
Dean said a Mexican restaurant is currently interested in locating in Harlem and changing the ordinance to allow beer and wine could attract more restaurants to the city.
"I'm real excited about all the new possibilities," said Caldwell-Hart, who is an active member of the city's merchants group. "Growth was my No. 1 initiative for downtown. I just feel like that is a step forward."
In November 2005, 70 percent of Grovetown voters approved allowing Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants in the city. City officials proposed the change after a particular restaurant expressed interest in moving to the city and needed the Sunday alcohol sales allowance to do so.
Like Harlem officials, Grovetown city officials also hoped the change would make the city more attractive to restaurants, said Grovetown Mayor George James.
"So far, it really hasn't enticed anybody new," James said. "We hoped it would."
Dean said the city attorney currently is researching required standards for changing the ordinance. The city council could discuss the issue as early as the March 13 meeting. The issue could be up for a final vote at the April or May city council meetings, Dean said.
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