Topper Grill and Pub liquor license re-applied for

Topper Grille and Pub is the latest addition to WKU’s dining options on campus. Topper Grille and Pub is located on the first floor of the Garret Conference Center, caddy-corner to Panda Express. It will serve pub style food such as burgers and pizza, but will not serve alcohol. The floor is made out of the recycled floor from the bowling alley that was formerly located on the third floor in DSU. Lex Selig/HERALD

Emma Collins

After an unsuccessful attempt last spring, WKU officials and Aramark have announced plans to once again apply for a liquor license for the Topper Grill and Pub.

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control had concerns about approving the license because the pub planned to use the kitchen one floor below in the Garrett Food Court, according to a previous Herald article.

In order to procure a liquor license, a restaurant must be able to sell a certain ratio of food to alcohol. Because the pub would share a kitchen with the Garrett Food Court, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control was concerned the correct ratio of food to alcohol would not be met.


Gary Meszaros, assistant vice president of business and auxiliary, said changes have been made since Aramark last applied for a license.

“When it was originally denied, they explained what we had to do to get the license to be in compliance, and so we and Aramark went and did what we needed to do to make the changes so we can reapply for the license,” Meszaros said.

One of those changes included changing part of the contract to prevent commission payments on alcohol sales. Meszaros said Aramark also explained to Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control re-explained how Garrett functioned because the department did not fully understand the way Garrett operated the first time. Meszaros added he believes the problem with the kitchen has been fixed.

“There actually is a mini kitchen as part of the pub, and then down below is a full-sized kitchen, so we had to separate those in some form or fashion,” Meszaros said. “There have to be food sales associated with alcohol sales, so we had to come up with a way to do that.”

Aramark will be applying for a non-quota type two, or NQ2, retail drink license which is the same type of license it applied for last time. An NQ2 retail drink license can be issued to a restaurant with a minimum of 50 seats. Meszaros said the pub seats around 60 customers. Kentucky law states restaurants that seat more than 50 but less than 100 customers are allowed to sell wine and malt beverages but not spirits.

According to the website for the Kentucky Liquor License Headquarters, in 2015 a NQ2 retail drink license cost $830 for a year-long license.

Steve Hoyng, regional director resident district manager for Aramark, said he was unable to comment on the application due to legal reasons.

Jay Todd Richey, Student Government Association president, said he believes reapplying for the license is a great idea if Aramark has made changes that will allow for the application to be approved. Richey said he met with Hoyng to discuss Aramark reapplying; however, he said much of the information he was given was unclear.

“They said something had changed, but I don’t know what it is; maybe a different interpretation of what we originally had thought,” Richey said. “I know that’s extremely vague, and I’m not usually this vague, but I honestly don’t know.”

It takes about 90 days for the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to respond to a request. Meszaros said the application was submitted a few weeks ago, and he hopes to hear back before the 90 days are up.

Reporter Emma Collins can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @thebest_dilemma.