Lifted prohibition pulling in more money for Lake City restaurants

Lifted prohibition pulling in more money for Lake City restaurants

LAKE CITY, SC (WMBF) - Lake City is known for streets flooding during heavy rains.

To help fix those types of problems, the city will use new money coming in from people buying booze on Sundays.

“It has really picked up really good. We had a lot of customers who used to ask us if we sold alcohol on Sundays and we used to tell them no,” said Esmeralda Hernandez, a waitress at Jarrito's Family Mexican Restaurant.

Jarrito's Family Mexican Restaurant is saying yes and it and other businesses can only do so because of a voter-approved referendum.

“Of course you know the ballot passed and we were pleased with that, and it gives the opportunity to expand on some businesses,” Lake City Mayor Lovith Anderson said.

Anderson said allowing restaurants to sell alcohol, beer and wine, and convenience and grocery stores to sell beer and wine on Sundays will attract more businesses and positively impact large ticket events within city limits.

Already, Jarrito's said Sundays are packed with people now that the restaurant is able to sell booze.

"The first day we started selling alcohol we had the restaurant full, we were going crazy, but we like it because it brings us more sales. And as businesses increases, our waitresses make more money," Hernandez said.

More importantly, the mayor said the tax revenue that will come in from that added day of beer, wine and liquor sales will help take care of aging infrastructure problems. 

"New income can be used for storm water and of course you know Lake City is a low-lying area and we will be able to gauge how much we are able to bring in and how we can use it in that manner," Anderson said.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue said six grocery or convenience stores have gotten licenses to sell beer and wine on Sundays, but the department hasn't approved licenses for any restaurants.

Jarrato's Family Mexican Restaurant said it is licensed to sell liquor, beer and wine seven days a week.

One restaurant was undecided if it would purchase a license.

That owner said he is still weighing whether the $3,050 annual fee is worth the added day of beer, wine and alcohol sales.

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