The first Lupi’s restaurant in Chattanooga opened downtown in 1996. Since then three additional locations have been added in Chattanooga and one in Cleveland. In those 18 years none of the restaurants has been cited before the Chattanooga Beer Board for a violation. That clean record did not stop the board from issuing a three-day penalty to the restaurant at 9453 Bradmore Lane in Ooltewah for selling beer to a minor.
On July 29 an underage customer arrived at the restaurant along with an ABC agent around lunch. The two were the only customers at the time. The server asked to see IDs yet served beer despite “Under 21” prominently written on the customer’s driver’s license, as well as it being formatted to indicate underage.
The waitress told owner Doris Shobar that she had misread the date. She is 19 and has been employed by Lupi’s for the last 10 months.
Andre Harriman, noting the clearly-marked ID, said that people do things from habit and she may have done it before - this is just the first time it was caught. Board member Christopher Keene said the incident may have happened because it was a minor selling beer to a minor. “I think you made a hire mistake,” he said. His motion to suspend the beer license for three days beginning Sept. 4 was passed.
Another business will be denied the opportunity to sell beer until a representative of the restaurant shows up at a beer board meeting. No one from La Altena, 8644 E. Brainerd Road, came to the meeting Thursday in response to the charge of selling alcohol to a minor on July 29. Mr. Keene told the board that no one was present to hear what the board had to say, and moved to suspend the license until a spokesperson does appear. The board agreed and the suspension will begin immediately with the police delivering a letter of notification to the business today. The next meeting of the board and chance for La Altena to regain the right to sell beer will be Sept. 3.
Beer sales will be allowed for the remainder of the scheduled Riverfront Nights concerts that are held at Ross’s Landing. Chip Baker, executive director of Friends of the Festival, organizer of the concerts, said that last Saturday night around 8,000 people came to the free event. On Sept. 6, not only will there be music, but a large ship that landed in Normandy will be docked at the park for viewing. Beer sales at these concerts are handled by U.S. Navy personnel and proceeds are donated to various non-profit organizations.
On Aug. 23, the Chattanooga Bike Race will take place with the start and finish lines in front of the Pickle Barrel Restaurant, 1012 Market St. This event has been organized by Village Volkswagen and The Tennessee River Gorge Trust. Beer sales will be handled by the restaurant, which will block off one lane with barricades and provide a tent. Customers will be carded at the gate and will be ID’d again at the point of sale.
The next meeting of the Chattanooga Beer / Wrecker Board has been changed from Thursday, Sept. 4, to Sept. 3 due to a scheduling conflict that would prevent Officer John Collins and Sergeant Jeff Gaines from attending.