The easing of alcohol restrictions in Richardson restaurants, including The Pub at UTD, moved one step closer to the ballot box with the May 28 submission of a petition to the City of Richardson.
The petition, submitted by the Richardson Chamber of Commerce – which included more than 10,800 signatures – requests an election to allow “on-premise consumption of alcohol for Richardson food and beverage permit holders (restaurants).” Club memberships needed to buy alcohol in Richardson restaurants would be eliminated if the measure passes.
City of Richardson officials will now go about a month-long process of validating the signatures on the petition.
“The requirement was 9,279 valid signatures and we feel confident we have turned in enough valid signatures,” said Ron Robinson, president and CEO of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce.
If the petition is deemed to have enough valid signatures, Richardson residents will vote Sept. 11 on the issue.
Management of The Pub at UTD has been monitoring the progress of the petition, but remains non-committal as to whether to sell alcohol.
“We haven’t made a decision one way or another,” said Matt Freeman, The Pub manager. “If the city goes wet, it will be a lot easier to maintain (a license to sell alcohol in The Pub). If they don’t, I don’t know if it’ll be possible.”
If The Pub wanted to sell alcohol under current laws, it would have to elect to become a private club through the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Freeman said, which would be a lot of work to maintain. But if the referendum passes, only a license would be required.
Other universities in Texas – such as UT Austin and University of Dallas – sell alcohol on campus, but UTD’s program would be modeled after Rice University.
“We would model it after Rice University as an educational opportunity to teach students about responsibility,” said Donna Rogers, interim dean of students.
Like the design of our Pub, the use of student managers would also be modeled after Rice, Rogers said.
The rest of the technical aspects have yet to be explored, Rogers added.
But the future of alcohol being served in The Pub depends on the students.
“I could go one way or another. It doesn’t make a difference to me,” Rogers said. “It’s about student initiative.”
Freeman agreed, saying “I haven’t had anyone come up to me and say this is what I want. It’s not something we want to fight for if it’s not something (the students) voice.”
Some Richardson restaurant owners say a change is necessary for area establishments to remain competitive with those in wet areas.
Morteza Darzi, owner of The Abbey Grill with locations in Richardson and Frisco, said the membership hurts his business in Richardson.
“We are in support of the petition, especially in today’s environment,” Darzi said. “It’s sensible because from a business standpoint. It keeps Richardson competitive, and right now Richardson is not competitive.”