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Happy hour might be coming to Oakwood

POSTED: September 14, 2008 5:02 a.m.
TOM REED /The Times

Buffalo's Southwest Cafe server Jessica Sims, left, visits with customers Samantha, second from left, and Ann and Brian Archer at the Oakwood restaurant. The restaurant's general manager said it would benefit if Oakwood follows Gainesville's example and passes an ordinance allowing a happy hour.

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Oakwood has discussed a possible "happy hour" ordinance, such as the one approved in August by the Gainesville City Council.

Councilman Gary Anderson raised the idea briefly at Monday night’s council meeting.

"My personal opinion is we need to allow the restaurants to do the same thing they do up in Gainesville," he said.

The idea prompted talk among council members, and it may come up again at the council’s Oct. 13 meeting, said City Manager Stan Brown.

"It’s food for thought," Anderson said.

Gainesville’s "Happy Hour Ordinance" allows restaurants in the city to sell drinks at a lower price from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

AJ’s Food Fun & Friends on Spring Street, just off the downtown Gainesville square, was one of the first to implement drink specials.

City officials said the Oakwood restaurants that would qualify to offer "happy hour" are El Sombrero at 3640 Mundy Mill Road and La Parrilla Mexican Restaurant and Buffalo’s Southwest Café, both at 3446 Winder Highway.

Aurelio Guzman, who helps run El Sombrero restaurants in the area, has mixed emotions about happy hour.

"It would help me boost the restaurant (sales) during the hours (business) slows down," he said Wednesday.

However, "if people … go in there and drink and get a little bit more intoxicated and cause a DUI or wrecks, I don’t want that on me," Guzman said. "That’s the negative side of it, I think."

He added that his business centers mainly on food sales anyway.

Customers "buy margaritas and all that, but I don’t have a lot people" consuming a lot of alcohol.

"Just to add a little bit more money to your pocket is not worth someone just going out there and causing an accident," Guzman said.

Sarah Rudisill, general manager of Buffalo’s, said she would like to see such an ordinance in Oakwood.

"When we heard that Gainesville was offering (happy hour), we were in hopes that we would fall under that," she said. "We want to see if we can increase our business as well in that time frame."

Rudisill said 5-7 p.m. is "typically a slower time of the day," with business picking up about 6:30 p.m.

"I think people will be more willing to come in if (drinks) are discounted," she said.

La Parrilla deferred comment to corporate officials, who couldn’t be reached for comment.



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