OAK PARK (WWJ) – It’s Michigan’s largest dry city — but on March 4, the Oak Park City Council is expected to bring that 68-year-old tradition to an end.
The council will vote on a law that will allow the city to issue tavern licenses for the sale of beer and wine, which has not been allowed since 1945.
Residents of the city of 29,000 now can buy alcohol in stores but have to go to nearby Berkley, Ferndale or Royal Oak to have a drink out on the town.
City Manager Erik Tungate told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeil he thinks it will pass easily. He said it’s all about helping to bring in more business.
“We’re not allowed to even go out and pursue a chain restaurant, because we’re limited in our ability to bring one of those in because of the liquor issue,” Tungate said.
Sahara Restaurant owner Zeana Attisha told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeil, it’s about time.
“I mean, why wouldn’t the city want the citizens to have an option to go to TGI Friday’s or an Applebee’s or us, Sahara, to be able to enjoy a drink with their meal,” Attisha said.
Attisha said not being able to sell booze has made it difficult to hire staff, because the tips are so much smaller.
Attisha said it has cost the restaurant a lot of weekend night business, as well as banquets and other events. “I’m first in line. I’ve already applied [for the license]. My application has been at the state since last July,” she said.
Attisha is also working to gathering petition signatures to allow a vote on selling liquor in Oak Park as well.