HOBE SOUND, Fla. - A Hobe Sound eatery is the first in all of Florida to benefit from new state legislation.
Locals have been eating down-home cooking at Harry & The Natives restaurant for years.
Now, thanks to a legislative change that was seven years in the works, the small business can operate as a full-service restaurant, which means Harry & The Natives can now serve its customers liquor.
Harry MacArthur, restaurant owner, said any additional revenue built from finally being able to obtain a liquor license, will be helpful.
"Even 20% more, it will be a big deal," said MacArthur. "We're just excited about it. My family, in 60 years, we never thought we'd be here."
The restaurant is located in a Martin County Community Redevelopment Area (CRA), which made it eligible for the "Special Restaurant License."
"Before this change, it was not possible to operate a full-service restaurant within the smaller square footage buildings traditionally found in our CRAs," explained Kevin Freeman, Martin County's Community Development Director. "We want to support vibrant downtowns, and this change helps accomplish that."
The new legislation puts small business like this one on a level playing field with bigger chain restaurants, which traditionally are the only ones allowed to obtain the full-service liquor license.
Specifically, HB 657 amends section 1 of ch. 63-1619, L.O.F., as amended by ch. 91-389, L.O.F., relating to SRX requirements for Martin County. This exception allows a restaurant within a CRA district to obtain a license if it provides service for 150 or more patrons at tables, and occupies more than 2,500 square feet of floor space.