Monday, May 1, 2023–9:18 p.m.
-David Crowder, WRGA News-
The Rome Alcohol Commission is recommending the termination of the liquor license at Peaches on Broad Street, but the licensee can re-apply in three months.
The motion also called on the city to look at possible changes in the food-to-drink ratio, especially for entertainment establishments.
Unless a variance is granted, establishments in the City of Rome that sell distilled spirits by the drink must also be a restaurant, selling at least as much food as liquor. The ratio does not apply to beer and wine.
The initial hearing for Peaches was held in April amid concerns that the business at 325 Broad Street was not meeting the food-to-drink ratio following an examination of receipts for the time period that began in January and ended in October of 2022. The ACC took no action at that time, opting to give the licensee an opportunity to come up with documentation showing that the business is in compliance with the 50-50 ratio.
While no additional documentation was presented during the meeting, Stephanie Shaw did present a plan to increase food sales.
“It’s very difficult for me to be in charge of live entertainment and food,” she told the ACC. “It’s basically two concepts. I’m busy with the bands so I’ve turned the kitchen over to someone else. I have asked Natalie Woods who owns Jazzy Southern Cajun Cuisine and Hot Wings, Etc. to come and help me revamp my kitchen. She already has a menu.”
While the ACC commended Shaw for having a plan going forward, some on the board were still concerned about the apparent violation of the food-to-drink ratio in the past.
“I don’t necessarily want to see you lose your liquor license,” said ACC member Steve Van Meter. We must make recommendations based on current regulations. If we sidestep all of this, what is the precedent that we have for the next organization that comes in and is having similar problems? Given the fact that you hold this license with the understanding of what you have to do to maintain this license, I have to take the position that there have to be consequences for this.”
In the next three months, the ACC wants to see documentation regarding increased food sales and that Shaw’s plan is working.
As part of the motion, the ACC is also recommending that the Rome City Commission consider amending the food-to-drink ratio, possibly lowering the percentage, after conducting a study of similar-sized cities to see what they are doing. That could also include creating some type of exception for businesses like Peaches.
Rome City Clerk Joe Smith admits that the alcohol ordinance has changed over time, noting that it used to be 70% food sales and included beer and wine.
The recommendation will be considered by the city commission during its May 9 meeting. If the license termination is approved, it will go into effect immediately.