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The J Spot

Cheesed Off Over Liquor Licenses

by John Saltas
- Posted // 2011-08-25 -

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.

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Posted // August 26,2011 at 14:09 What I cannot understand is why this surprises people. This is business as usual in Utah.
In Utah, quid pro quo is a policy withheld for those within the fold and is rarely indulged in with those residing outside of the fold.
I know of a restaurant owner that has been waiting for over a year to obtain one of these licenses. He has had to reapply every single month, or else lose his spot in line. Obviously, there is no line.
In Utah, The Church(T) decides who gets what, line be damned, and if it is profitable to The Church(T), you can bet that is where the gifts will be bestowed.
The Church(T) has spent millions on their new Vatican City. They will do everything within their power - they have all the power here - to ensure it is successful and brings in a good return.


Posted // August 29,2011 at 10:01 - You're very generous, John. Thanks for understanding. I should have met you for that drink years ago and often, with a tinge of guilt, think about doing just that. One of these days...


Posted // August 29,2011 at 09:06 - Anon -- not a problem and you're not full of shit. They did have to wait and wait and wait, nonetheless.


Posted // August 29,2011 at 08:26 - Well son-of-a-bitch. Just checked Everest's website. They now have beer and wine and my info is obviously garbage. Been a couple months since we've (me and my bro) spoken about the restaurant. Sorry about that, John. See, this is why I post anonymously - I'm usually full of shit.


Posted // August 29,2011 at 08:20 - Hi John, the restaurant I spoke of is the Everest Tibetan Restaurant on 2nd south, just above state. The owner is a neighbor to my bro-in-law and from time to time my bro-in-law has spoken of his (the owner) trials and frustrations in trying to obtain one of these damned licenses.


Posted // August 26,2011 at 16:13 - anonymous... can you send me the name of this merchant? offline and anonymous if you wish... john


Posted // August 26,2011 at 12:26 Those hypocritical motherfuckers. Nah, the Cult exerts no influence over Utah government, at all.


Posted // August 26,2011 at 12:01 I predicted long ago when licences were in short supply that City Creek development would get them before anyone else. It is disgusting.


Posted // August 26,2011 at 11:44 Fuck everything about this.


Posted // August 26,2011 at 10:36 According to an article in today's Tribune, there are actually 5 restaurants that just magically got liquor licenses at City Creek. They haven't released all the names yet. Maybe with all the money coming in from booze sales the Church will be able to afford custodians for their chapels again.