A Benton County restaurant has applied to become a strip club. Now, the family-oriented community it’s located in is up in arms about the possibility.
Tony C’s is a bar and restaurant on Scenic Highway 12. Some fear the proposed changes to the eatery would almost certainly strip the lake-side community of its wholesome image.
“Sure, I’ve been in a strip club! But who knows what those places bring in? You get all the crap that goes with it. Maybe drugs and prostitution,” said Dan Carpenter, who lives in Prairie Creek.
Tony C’s, a restaurant in unincorporated Benton County, has applied to Arkansas’ Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) administration to add cabaret dancing to their license. There’s an overwhelming response of “no” from people living in the quiet community of Prairie Creek.
“I wouldn’t believe that something like this would be in this area. A family-oriented area. I couldn’t see it happening,” said Jonathan David, who lives in Prairie Creek.
Luckily for them, there’s still a long way to go before Tony C’s restaurant can start putting up the poles.
“Since this is in the county, we’ll contact the sheriff, the prosecuting attorney, contact neighbors in the area of the establishment and let them know of this plan to transfer and basically just ask for feedback,” said Scott Hardin, the spokesperson for Alcoholic Beverage Control.
ABC will conduct a full investigation before they grant a permit.
“We want to be certain that the community in which they applied is comfortable with this request,” Hardin said.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office says they don’t think a gentleman’s club belongs.
Their statement reads: “The Benton County Sheriff’s Office is not in favor of having an adult cabaret located in the Prairie Creek area. Prairie Creek is a small family-oriented community and we strongly believe it should remain that way.”
After multiple attempts to reach both Tony Catroppa and his lawyer, I decided to walk into the restaurant to give them a chance to explain why this will be an important new business for Prairie Creek. They refused to talk.
Despite the official application and elaborate blueprints of the proposal, the strip club will have to dance around a few county ordinances as well.
“We’re going to be sure that if there are any zoning regulations, we want confirmation from the locals that this is zoned correctly, that everything meets the local regulations along with our regulations,” Hardin said.
One of Benton County’s ordinances says any gentleman’s club cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a place where children may frequent. With a tutoring center only two doors down, there may be trouble getting beyond that hurdle.