Restaurant owner blames economy for liquor license problem
A restaurant owner says the poor economy has curbed the appetite of people for dining out and has led to a license dispute with Garfield County over how much of its business constitutes sales of alcohol rather than food.
Garfield County officials say Dos Hermanos, on Colorado Highway 82 south of Glenwood Springs, has violated state rules governing its hotel and restaurant license. The business, which opened in December 2007, is accused of failing to abide by a requirement that meals constitute at least 25 percent of total food and drink sales, to ensure that it’s a bona fide restaurant.
Garfield County commissioners, acting as the county liquor authority, have set a hearing on renewal of the license for 3 p.m. Feb. 17 at the commission chambers in Glenwood Springs.
According to an investigation by the county clerk’s office, Dos Hermanos doesn’t have a retail food service license, the owner has admitted being cited for serving alcohol to a minor and overserving drunken people, and the county sheriff’s department has received more than 40 calls about fights and other disturbances at the business.
Dos Hermanos owner David Edgar said he opened the business as a restaurant and not enough diners have patronized the place.
“I mean, the economy’s killing everybody,” he said. “People just aren’t going out to eat.”
He said he hadn’t planned to host events such as dances on weekends, but he has resorted to the practice.
“We’re doing what we’re doing to just stay alive and not just walk away from our obligations. I guess that point is missed by some people,” he said.
He said when Dos Hermanos first opened, it had more incidents that required a sheriff response. But since then, he and his staff have figured out who the problem patrons are and taken other steps to reduce “the public nuisance thing,” Edgar said.
The site was the longtime home of the upscale Sopris Restaurant. Edgar said he put a lot of money into remodeling it when he took over, partly in anticipation of big development plans for nearby land, but development has yet to occur.
A proposal now referred to as Cattle Creek Colorado, and entailing more than 1,000 homes, is awaiting county review.