Chicago City Council members wonder: are fruit and vegetable side dishes for cocktails turning a tavern into a restaurant?

Will fruit and vegetable side dishes for decorating cocktails transform a Chicago tavern into a restaurant?

Some city inspectors seem to believe it is – to the point where they cite customers taking their dogs to the bar for violating a city ordinance that bans dogs in restaurants.

On Monday, the City Council’s Licensing Committee decided to stop such overzealous inspectors.

The ordinance – championed by downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42.)nd) at the behest of the tavern owners – add the words “part of a food retailer” to the section of the city law that prohibits dogs from entering restaurants.

Reilly stressed that the change will only affect “pub licenses, not restaurants” and is only aimed at removing “ambiguities in the city rules” that have been taken up by some city inspectors.

“What we had was that certain inspectors from the Ministry of Health came into taverns that did not have a food retail license and cited the fact that those taverns had side dishes for their drinks – like limes, lemons, and slices of orange – so they called them food and then suggested them that dogs shouldn’t be allowed, ”said Reilly.

“To be very clear, this doesn’t require dogs in taverns,” he added. “That is voluntary. Only the tavern owners who decide to allow dogs in their businesses really care. “

Reilly noted that allowing dogs to drink customers while drinking on “outdoor patios” has become a “very popular practice” in a number of tavernas across town, especially during the warmer months.

“This is in response to a cry for help from the tavern industry,” said Reilly. “This is just to make it clear that it’s okay to allow your customers to bring their dogs on a visit as long as a tavern licensee doesn’t sell groceries as a grocery store.”

The chairman of the zoning committee Tom Tunney (44.)NS), Owner of Ann Sather’s Restaurants, noted that Chicago already has “dog-friendly sidewalk cafes for al fresco dining”.

“But let’s talk about indoors and taverns with no retail food … Could you explain whether this allows dogs that aren’t service dogs in taverns that don’t serve food?” Tunney asked his colleague.

Reilly replied, “Yes it would.” But he said, “The decision to allow dogs is entirely up to the facility owner. So the companies that don’t want dogs will simply not allow them. “

Reilly made it clear that he wasn’t bringing his own dog to the bar. But other dog owners see it differently. “This is to clear up that point and make sure our tavern owners aren’t getting paid for something they’ve been doing for a while,” he said.

Ald. Michele Smith (43.)approx).

“They have alliances with pizzerias and the like and will deliver food. Where do these places fit into something like that? ”Said Schmied.

Reilly replied, “These facilities would be affected. But I don’t know that’s such a problem. The examples I was given as examples were health inspectors citing the presence of fruit trimmings for cocktails. Less for people who get a plate of meatloaf in a bar. “

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