Politics Social Justice Athens Chipotle applies for liquor license By The New Political Posted on October 24, 2014 5 min read 0 0 562 Photo by Christian Power. Alcoholic beverages could soon be included on the menu at Chipotle in Athens as the Mexican-style food chain recently applied for a liquor permit from the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control. The Athens City Council briefly discussed the matter at a meeting Monday night. According to the Ohio Department of Commerce, the process of applying for a liquor permit includes an opportunity for the local legislative authority — in this case, Athens City Council — or a public institution to request a hearing for objectors in the community to voice their concerns. Members of the council, namely 3rd Ward Rep. Michele Papai and At-Large Rep. Chris Knisely, were generally accepting of putting in a request for such a hearing. The particular type of liquor permit Chipotle is seeking would allow the restaurant to serve beer, wine and mixed beverages until 2:30 a.m. Many of the fast food chain’s locations already serve alcohol. According to Businessweek.com, as of April 2013, approximately 900 of Chipotle’s 1,600 restaurants already have the required licensing to serve menu items such as mixed drinks and bottled beers. Community reactions remained mixed. Where college students were in favor or indifferent to the idea, local residents tended to question it. “I like it. If they can have the opportunity to sell (alcohol), why not?” said Jordan Crouse, a student at Ohio University. Crouse, however, went on to acknowledge that criticisms of the proposal were justified. “I feel like a lot of local people might not like it. They’ve got their kids here, and we’re a college town.” Given that Athens already has a large amount of businesses that sell alcohol, he agreed that people might wonder, “Why do they need another place that sells it?” Angie Sanders, a local mother, expressed concern over the idea for that very reason. “There are enough places on Court Street to be able to get alcohol,” Sanders said. “It would be nice for people who are perhaps not drinking to be able to come into a restaurant where it’s not there.” Still, others maintained that this menu addition would not have a significant impact either way. “I’m pretty indifferent mainly because I think if people want to get a margarita or a drink here, that’s totally cool,” said Olivia Talbott, also a student at Ohio University. “I don’t think it would affect (the city) any more. People are responsible.” An actual vote as to whether or not a hearing will be held must take place before Nov. 14. It should be noted that, when faced with a similar issue in March of this year, Athens City Council rejected the request for a hearing regarding Fluff Bakery’s application for a liquor permit. At the time, city officials said that simple concerns over an additional availability of alcohol were not enough to warrant a hearing. A number of citizens rejected that notion, arguing that they were owed the right to due process. If local law enforcement finds no flaws regarding zoning requirements, and the council rejects the request for a hearing, Chipotle could be issued the permit within 10 to 12 weeks.