Today, the Cheesecake Factory was awarded by the Utah Liquor Commission one of the two restaurant liquor licenses currently available. It’s a small coincidence that the location for this license is in the new City Creek development surrounding the LDS Temple.
All across Utah, people must be screaming bloody murder at the unfairness of this choice. Were it not a national chain and paying rent to the LDS Church, The Cheesecake Factory would have been told to come back again. Or to not come back at all. There are businesses all over Utah more deserving and which have been in line longer than The Cheesecake Factory.
And, given Utah’s new law about hiding liquor, well, how could The Cheesecake Factory pass muster on that one? By announcing they will be displaying empty bottles of liquor or unopened bottles, that’s how -- not open bottles from which alcohol will actually flow. The bartenders will be out of sight, but not out of mind. But in the cheap manner by which Utah does its business, it can pretend that the new law really means something when it doesn’t mean a plug nickel. Ask your darling children what is more enticing: a Mai Tai served at the next table with a pineapple wedge and a cute umbrella or seeing the bartender actually make it? So, a fool who both eats and drinks at The Cheesecake Factory (high dining in Utah) will still see both a bottle of booze and the drink, but not how it was made. And little Molly can still lick the spoon.
Making sausage law in the dark works for the Utah Legislature. It doesn’t work in a café. Watch as more licenses are granted to establishments that also are most likely too near a church to be awarded what remains of Utah liquor licenses, since it’s important to save that huge investment in City Creek.
Someday, Utah might start thinking of the investments by mom & pop restaurant owners, too—they’re more important in the long run, they actually diversify and add to a dining scene and, in nearly every case, they do not sell piles of creamy fat for 10 bucks and call it cuisine.