Restaurant Owners On Sunday Alcohol Sales

16 Aug

In an article released today in the Oxford Eagle, results of a recent survey conducted by the Eagle concerning the debate over Sunday alcohol sales in Oxford were released. Excerpts from the article follow.

Sunday sales OK with owners

Most restaurants in support of expanding alcohol service.


If Sunday alcohol sales are allowed in Oxford, most local bar and restaurant operators say that if they opened on Sunday, they would provide their patrons with the opportunity to purchase a glass of wine or a beer.

That’s one of the findings of a Sunday-alcohol-sales survey The Oxford EAGLE conducted last week of restaurant and bar operators. About one third of restaurants in Oxford that hold a liquor license in the city responded to the survey asking their opinion on Sunday sales. Most businesses on the Square responded, but only a few on Jackson Avenue responded. Surveys were not sent to restaurants outside the city limits.

Although all agree the issue is important, not everyone is sure yet if they would open just because there are alcohol sales. But they are all certain that if the sales were allowed, they would not be open without selling alcohol. The majority prefer 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. as the best option for restaurants to be able to sell alcohol, with two saying they prefer to be able stay open until midnight.

Bars, restaurants equal

The majority don’t believe there should be a difference between restaurants and bars with one business owner noting that everyone operates under the exact same permit and it would be legally wrong to distinguish between them. “Allowing a separate distinction between so-called bars and restaurants (and convenience and grocery stores) where-by one distinction is allowed to open for business on Sunday and the other isn’t is market tampering and should be discouraged,” said Parrish Baker, owner of Parrish’s Bar and Restaurant. “If the alcohol itself is the topic of discussion, then all businesses that serve it should follow the same rules whatever they turn out to be. I would like to open my bar on Super Bowl Sunday — period.”

Economic boost

As to whether Sunday sales could boost revenues 15 to 20 percent, as some proponents of the Sunday alcohol sales issue have suggested, most operators agreed that range would likely be accurate. However, some survey respondents said they thoughts Sunday alcohol sales would boost their revenues even higher than that and some thought their sales would not increase that much. All agreed, however, that Sunday sales would help boost their overall business. “Oxford is dead on Sunday. There is nothing to attract people here,” said Jerry Jordan, owner of 208 and president of the Oxford Restaurant Association. “We could never serve all of the spectators and tourists who come here for events without a larger number of restaurants than other cities.”

But for one restaurant owner who does not intend to open on Sundays, the debate is more about having the option to enjoy his day off from work. “As restaurant worker for over 25 years, Sunday is my Saturday. It would be nice to be able to go out and watch a Saints game or have a nice dinner on Sunday,” said Randy Yates, owner of Ajax. “I just don’t think it is right to make something that is legal, illegal one day a week.”

All agreed that they think the majority of Oxford residents is in support of Sunday alcohol sales and most believed that grocery and convenience stores should be allowed to also sell alcohol on Sundays.

The Alcohol Sales Committee, newly formed by the city, is continuing to conduct research into the feasibility of Sunday sales and is currently seeking input from all citizens through a response on the city of Oxford website at or by attending the public forum to be held Sept. 2 at 5:30 p.m. at the City Hall courtroom.

One Response to “Restaurant Owners On Sunday Alcohol Sales”

  1. CJ August 17, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    “Oxford is dead on Sunday. There is nothing to attract people here,,” said Jerry Jordan.

    I just love how Mr. Jordan keeps referrring to out of town visitors. What about the people who live and work here EVERY day throughout the ENTIRE year, not just football season?! I enjoy being able to visit the square more easily on Sunday. I think if more restaurants on the square opened on Sunday with or without alcohol sales, they would be surprised at how busy they could be. More families eat out at Sunday lunch than throughout the week. Why don’t they try to open on Sundays now and see what kind of turn out they get?

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