Vino’s seeks permission to sell alcohol on Sundays

Natalie Hayden

Vino’s restaurant isn’t open on Sundays, but it could be if a city ordinance was changed allowing it to sell alcohol on that day.

According to the ordinance, a restaurant must seat 100 people indoors in order to sell alcohol on Sundays. Vino’s, located at 1475 Kentucky St. right next to the Valley, only seats the mid-40s, said Blake Leucht, who owns the restaurant along with partner Teresa Hilliard.

“I would understand if it were a religious thing, but it’s just the little guys that can’t do it,” he said. “What do seats have to do with anything?”

The ordinance is based off a state law that was changed years ago. Leucht said many people didn’t know about the change, himself included, until his father and stepmother, restaurant owners in Owensboro, did research to change their city’s rule.

“Owensboro told them to go ahead and do it, even though the ink wasn’t dry on the legislation,” he said. “They knew it was stupid.”

Leucht said he contacted city commissioner Melinda Hill to try to change Bowling Green’s ordinance.

However, Hill said that the ordinance is made up of more items than that specific rule.

“I’m not saying it’s over, but we need to decide as a commission if we want to bring up the whole ordinance, because it’s a lot more than just letting a restaurant sell alcohol on Sundays,” she said.

Allowing smaller businesses to sell alcohol on Sundays has many advantages, Leucht said. He projected that Vino’s would make $50,000-$75,000 more annually if the ordinance was changed.

The change would also be beneficial to the city, Leucht said. Not only would it create more jobs, but a liquor license for Sundays is different than the liquor license for the rest of the week.

“Every restaurant would have to pay for a new license, which would benefit the city,” Leucht said. “All the extra revenue times the restaurants would make a pretty good-sized pot for the city, tax revenue-wise.”

Vino’s is closed on Sundays in order to prevent turning away people who might want to order beer with their food, Leucht said.

Hill spoke with the other commissioners about changing the ordinance when it was first brought to her attention, but she hasn’t spoken about it recently. She said as of right now, the three votes needed to bring it back up just aren’t there.

However, Leucht said he wants to bring the issue to the floor of the next city commission meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday to try to get a vote.