For the first time since Oak Park became a city in 1945, a local restaurant started serving mixed drinks on its premises following the issuance of the city’s first Class C liquor license on Thursday.
With a little over 58 percent ‘Yes’ votes to a proposal in May allowing the sale of mixed drinks in Oak Park, the city officially opened its doors for businesses to apply for Class C licenses with immediate effect.
On Thursday, Sahara Restaurant and Grill on Coolidge and 10 Mile Road was the first to receive such license during a ceremony and present the first bottle of liquor to the city as a gift.
“Finally, we can all toast to a prosperous new beginning for Oak Park, its citizens and patrons,” said Zeana Attisha, the co-owner of Sahara Restaurant, before opening the first container of the liquor bottles.
During her campaign to legalize serving mixed drinks in the city, Attisha said the liquor licensing by the city will allow national chain restaurants to move to the community.
Oak Park Mayor Marian McClellan was also present to witness the ceremony along with several city officials including City Manager Erik Tungate.
“Economic development is critical to the future of Oak Park and this is part of the grand scheme,” said the mayor. “In May, our residents voted overwhelmingly to give our restaurants an even playing field with those in neighboring cities and the city council put strict guidelines down to keep Oak Park a family city.”
According to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission rules, a liquor license can be issued to one business for every 1,500 residents. That means there are 20 available licenses within the City of Oak Park.
Earlier the City Manager Erik Tungate called the event a historic moment for the city.
“It memorializes the will of our electorate from the May 5 election, and delivers the promise of economic viability to a city that has missed out on attracting local commerce and national restaurant chains,” he said.