All downtown Stuart restaurants can apply for liquor licenses, thanks to City Commission

STUART, Fla. - For those in the mood for a sports bar atmosphere, at Duffy's in downtown Stuart, diners can relax with a cold one.

If you're in the mood for some sushi, you could go across the street, but your beverage options would be more limited.

"People love to have a Kirin beer or sake with their dinner, and people have been walking out when they find out that they can't get a beer or sake at the restaurant," said Steven Vitale, owner of the property for Hachiku Sushi restaurant.

The restaurant, as a newcomer in downtown Stuart, couldn't serve alcohol, because of a 2009 ordinance restricting alcohol service to 30 percent of the business district.

Vice-Mayor Troy McDonald says that's all about to change.

"Another business could be an eighth of a mile down the road and have alcohol, and they can't," said McDonald. "So we've had some requests from business owners, downtown business associations, and Stuart Main Street, to look at this."

Any restaurant that applies for a liquor license under the new ordinance must generate more than half their revenues from food sales, and they have to offer a full-service menu.

City commissioners say that's to preserve the family-oriented environment in downtown Stuart.

With Monday's unanimous vote by the Stuart City Commission, Vitale says downtown lovers can now have a full dining experience with the beverage of their choice.

"They like to come here because they like to walk the streets, they like to get a beer or a wine at a local restaurant, and this will now allow them to have more variety," said Vitale.



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