Whitesburg KY

Mexican restaurant is first to get license to sell drinks

Customers at Whitesburg’s first Mexican restaurant can now enjoy margarita with their meal.

Las Peñas Mexican Restaurant this week became the first restaurant in 60 years to serve alcohol legally in the City of Whitesburg.

“People can come in and enjoy an alcoholic beverage with their meals,” said Charles Colwell, owner of Las Peñas.

Colwell was to serve the first alcoholic beverage yesterday (Tuesday) to Whitesburg Mayor James W. Craft.

“I promised him I would serve him the first drink,” said Colwell.

The city received Las Peñas’ “limited restaurant alcoholic by the drink” license from the state Department Alcoholic Beverage Control in Frankfort on June 18.

Colwell said that being able to serve alcohol doesn’t mean he is going to be running a bar.

“If you want a drink with your meal that is fine. Just because we serve alcohol doesn’t mean we aren’t going to have a family atmosphere,” said Colwell.

He said that his restaurant still from the sale of food.

Craft said everyone he has talked to is excited about Las Peñas getting its alcohol license.

“It will mean a big increase in revenue for the city itself and will attract people here to eat that don’t usually come to Letcher County,” said Craft.

Eleanor Caudill, alcohol beverage control administrator for the City of Whitesburg, said no other restaurant will be able to serve drinks before the end of July or in early August. The Courthouse Cafe, Pizza Hut, The Starlite Cafe and Summit City Coffee have announced their intention to apply for a limited drink license.

Official results of the April 17 election showed that 413 people voted in favor of allowing sales of alcohol by the drink in restaurants that can seat at least 100 people and earn 70 percent of their income sales from food. The no vote totaled 196.

Whitesburg is the 21st location in the state to approve restaurant only alcohol sales since the Kentucky General Assembly passed a law allowing for such local option elections in 2000.

Whitesburg joins the community of Seco as the only two locations in Letcher County where the sale of alcoholic beverages is legal in some form. Residents of Seco voted overwhelmingly in 2000 to allow the local Highland Winery to sell wine and beer.

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