Prairie Grove: Vote to decide liquor sales ordinance delayed


PRAIRIE GROVE, Ark. (KFTA) — People in Prairie Grove will have to wait until November to vote on a ballot question that could allow selling liquor by the drink. 

The city of Prairie Grove is made up of wet and dry areas. Gabriela’s Mexican Grill restaurant is in a dry area which means the business cannot sell alcohol. However, a new location is under construction, just a few miles away in a wet area. Management said if all goes well they could become the only restaurant in Prairie Grove to sell alcohol by the glass.

Nicholas Kirkland and Ronald Velayas live in the area and come to Gabriela’s several times a month. They love the food and would love the option to enjoy a cold drink with dinner.​

“More people would want to come here instead of going to Fayetteville to grab a margarita. You can just stay right here by your house and get one,” said Kirkland.

“I’m respectful of our people, our country, I served in the military and if I want a drink I should have it​,” said Velayas.

Arnulfo Navarro who works at Gabriela’s said that could soon be an option at their new restaurant, thanks to a proposed ordinance. “We are already working on the application for the private club permit for the new one because we are going to open in April or May. We would like to start serving drink right away​.”

The restaurant is being built a few miles away, off East Heritage Parkway. It’s in a wet area of the city. If approved, the ordinance will allow the business to sell liquor by the glass with the right paperwork. As a backup, Navarro said he applied for a private club permit. “If it passes then we don’t have to do private club permit which is more expensive with more taxes​.”

However, voters won’t see the ordinance on the ballot in March as expected. ​ Larry Oelrich with the city of Prairie Grove said the city council passed a resolution to initiate the process for an election to approve liquor by the drink in December, but it wasn’t added on the agenda in time for the Quorum Court to approve it and add it on the ballot. ​Now voters will have to wait until November to vote. ​

“Later on, if it passes elections then we can always switch to a regular permit​.” Navarro said he is hopeful the ordinance will pass in November but until then the restaurant will operate using a private club license.

Kirkland is just glad to have the option. “It would be nice to have a drink here locally in town.”

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